What are those state-required general education classes good for, anyway? Starting this fall, Fort Lewis College students will be able to find out – and earn a valuable credential at the same time.
The new Liberal Arts Core Concentrations program will offer students the opportunity to group four of their nine general-education “gtPathways” courses mandated by the state of Colorado– known as the “liberal arts core,” because it exposes students to a range of disciplines in the tradition of liberal arts education -- into one of three themes targeted at developing skills in demand in workplaces. Students’ transcripts will also note the concentration to document the work and experiences to potential employers.
To earn the transcript credential, students will also take two theme-related courses outside the gtPathways classes. Each concentration culminates in a “capstone” class that brings together the theme into a practical project. The goal is to make the mandatory coursework more meaningful, connected, and relevant, while at the same time learning about issues and experiencing the professional practices that research shows employers seek most.
According to a survey of 606 employers by the National Association of Colleges & Employers asking what they consider the most essential skills they seek in hiring, three of the top four responses – each cited by more than 90% of employers -- were critical thinking, oral and written communication, and teamwork and collaboration. With that in mind, the three “concentration” themes are:
The rise of social media and the increasing polarization of the American electorate point to a need for citizens and professionals who are able to identify arguments and evaluate evidence in a fair and impartial way. Students in this concentration will work on techniques and strategies to think clearly about the claims and information we're bombarded with.
Science runs through all of our lives and work, but it can be a challenging topic to translate to those who don’t have a background in the sciences. This concentration will train students, whether interested in science or communications, to talk to the public about science-related topics.
“Diversity & Inclusion”
Because employers increasingly recognize the importance of being able to live and work well with people with diverse identities and backgrounds, this concentration will increase awareness of the ways gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, culture, and class shape personal identity, social relationships, privilege, and power.