"Core of the Core" Workshop Series, 2010-2011
This series of workshops on foundational Core courses responds to requests heard across campus - "We want to know more about courses students are taking to satisfy core requirements!" In six separate informational and interactive workshops, departments spend time talking about their "core of the core" course offerings, those requirements that nearly all undergraduate students complete in their first few years at Fairfield. Each workshop engages participants in discussing connections between Core Curriculum requirements and their own work with students - both inside and outside the classroom - and how these connections relate to the six Core Pathways (Core Pathways Summary; PDF). Series funded by the Davis Educational Foundation.
The purpose of the "Core of the Core" series is to provide information to instructors and advisors, and opportunities to engage across disciplines, while sharing strategies for helping students integrate their learning. Integrative learning asks students to make connections across disciplines, across academic and co-curricular activities, and across course material and their own life experiences.
Scroll down to learn more of about each "Core of the Core" session: English, Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, Modern Languages & Literatures, and Mathematics.
Fall 2010 "Core of the Core" sessions
The following departments presented their "Core of the Core" courses:
English "Core of the Core" (October 2010) - Presenters: Jim Simon, Cinthia Gannett, and Elizabeth Petrino
The English Department presented their revised EN 11- EN 12 course sequence, and their newly created EN 100-level Literature Courses. Following the remarks made by the presenters, participants engaged in table discussions with EN faculty on the following EN pedagogies: peer writing and workshopping; beyond the "term" paper: alternative assignments and sequencing assignments; revision and response; and reflection. This workshop which took place on the National Day on Writing (October 20, 2010) emphasized writing across the disciplines, as well as vertical and horizontal integration of the EN curricula within and beyond the Core. For more information on EN course offerings, course goals, and signature practices, please consult the following resources:
- "Texts and Contexts" (PDF): EN 11 (Writing As Craft and Inquiry) and EN 12 (Writing About Literature)
- EN 100-level Literature Courses (PDF)
- EN courses
Religious Studies Core
Religious Studies "Core of the Core" (November 2010) - Presenter: Al Benney
In his presentation "Tapping the Core: Introduction to the Study of Religion," Al Benney provided an overview of the study of Religion, and the Religious Studies Core courses. In an opening activity, participants were asked to complete Stephen Prothero's Religious Literacy Quiz to check their knowledge and assumptions of world religions. This exercise provided the starting point for a discussion about the common misconceptions that students bring with them to the classroom, and the ways in which educators can work with students to overcome their assumptions. This activity also emphasized the importance of interpretation of texts and critical analysis which are skills introduced in RS 10.
For more information on RS course offerings and course goals, please consult the following resources:
- RS 10 Introduction to Religious Studies
- Religious Studies Core Student Learning Outcomes Statement (PDF)
- RS courses
Philosophy "Core of the Core" (December 2010) - Presenters: Steve Bayne, Sara Brill, and Dennis Keenan
The Philosophy Department presented their departmental mission statement, student learning goals, student learning objectives, and PH 10 and second Core Course options. Philosophy faculty shared their insights in teaching Core PH courses, and provided examples of methods and activities used to engage students in the "big questions" of the discipline, and in identifying arguments and providing counter-arguments.
For more information on PH course offerings and course goals, please consult the following resources:
- Philosophy Department Mission Statement & Student Goals and Objectives (PDF)
- Philosophy Department Core Curriculum (PDF)
- PH 10 Questions in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
- PH 100-level courses (PH 150, 155, 156, 157)
- PH courses
Spring 2011 "Core of the Core" sessions
The following departments presented their "Core of the Core" courses:
History "Core of the Core" (March 2011) - Presenters: Cecilia Bucki, Patricia Behre, and Danke Li
The History Department presented their Core courses: HI 30 Europe and the World in Transition, and HI 200 Intermediate courses. Patricia Behre and Danke Li discussed their sections of HI 30 and shared their syllabi and sample activities. Though taught differently, both professors acknowledged that students complete their courses with similar foundational historical knowledge and skills. department chair Cecilia Bucki shared insights from teaching intermediate Core courses. Participants discussed the following questions (1) how does historical knowledge connect to your field?; (2) how were you first introduced to the study of history?; and (3) what was the first historical event that you personally remember and how has it affected your professional interests and teaching?
- History Department Brochure (PDF)
- History Department Core Objectives (PDF)
- Dr. Behre's HI 30 Syllabus (PDF)
- Dr. Li's HI 30 Syllabus (PDF)
- History courses
Modern Languages & Literatures Core
MLL "Core of the Core" (March 2011) - Presenter: Mary Ann Carolan
Department chair and professor of Italian, Mary Ann Carolan presented the Modern Languages & Literatures Core, two semesters at the intermediate level of any language offered. The department uses of a communicative language teaching (CLT) approach to language learning, a move away from the traditional audio-lingual method (ALM) based on memorization and repetition. Emphasis is now placed on student communication in meaningful ways about meaningful topics through student-centered application activities (e.g., in the classroom - pair work, interviews, role play, debates; outside the classroom - online activities that are integrated with course textbooks such as Sentieri for Italian language learners). Language faculty coordinate across sections and commit to immerse students in language study, to help students build their language skills, and to expose students to cultural characteristics. Major challenges in teaching Core language courses include the range in student language preparation received in high school and getting students comfortable speaking the language. Session participants engaged in discussion about similar challenges faced in their disciplines and student-centered pedagogies.
- Language Core Requirements and MLL Core Mission Statement
- Culpeper Language Resource Center
- Language courses
Given what you learned about the foundational Core courses from the information above:
- How might you build on them in your own work?
- How might you better model making these connections with your own students? advisees?
- What kinds of assignments, activities, and questions would encourage students to make these sorts of connections for themselves?
To learn more about the Core and for resoruces to help with advising students, visit the University's Core website.