Connections

Effective Fall 2005

Connections

Diversity* 3 credits

Becoming educated involves developing awareness of, sensitivity to, and appreciation for viewpoints other than those to which we have been acculturated. Through such development comes increased respect for those different from oneself. Students take a three-credit Diversity (D) course (either within the major or not) designed to broaden and deepen awareness and appreciation of differences and commonalties of sub-cultural groups in American society defined by differences in race, ethnicity, ability, social class, religion, politics, gender, or sexual orientation. Diversity courses do this by exposing students to the life stories and the voices of members of different groups and by exploring issues of equity, opportunity, and justice.

Global Awareness* 3 credits

Educated people are aware that human beings are interdependent members of a world community, that there are both similarities and differences in the societies and cultures of the world, and that the manners in which people live their lives need not be exactly alike. Students take a three-credit Global Awareness (G) course (either within the major or not) designed to expose them to the important societal issues facing the world and to encourage them to develop the ability to appreciate and think about issues from different points of view. Global Awareness courses focus on the forces that have shaped peoples, cultures, nations, and regions of the world. They increase students’ understanding of each person’s position, participation, obligations, and responsibilities within the world community.

Integration* 3 credits

We live in a world where scholarship is increasingly interdisciplinary. The educated person recognizes the challenges and rewards of drawing connections between fields of knowledge and of applying alternative methods of inquiry to solve problems. Students take a three-credit Integration (I) course (either within the major or not), which brings content or methods of inquiry from two or more disciplines or perspectives to bear on a problem or question. The integration course is a General Education capstone course, taken in the junior or senior year. As such it should require substantial, although general, background and a high level of proficiency at most or all of the General Education skills.

Wellness* 3 credits

Wellness courses provide opportunities for students to identify connections between life choices, personal wellness and a field of study. These courses help students develop an appreciation for the connection between mind and body and make a commitment to life skills and life style choices.  Wellness courses satisfying the Connections component of the General Education program must include content and assignments from several dimensions of wellness and their interrelationship.

What is a Wellness Connection course?

Wellness courses provide opportunities for students to identify connections between life choices, personal wellness and a field of study.  These courses help students develop an appreciation for the connection between mind and body, and make a commitment to life skills and life style choices.  Wellness courses satisfying the Connections component of the General Education program must include content and assignments from several dimensions of wellness and their interrelationship.

What is Wellness?

Wellness is the dynamic process of becoming aware of, gaining knowledge about and making positive choices to fulfill an integrated, balanced, healthy lifestyle.  One potential model that may be used to promote this awareness and practice is the Plymouth State University OSSIPEE Model. (see note)  OSSIPEE stands for –

Occupational Health – a sense of accomplishment through the preparation of, enrichment, personal satisfaction and passion for a chosen vocation or profession.

Spiritual Health – personal values to create a sense of meaning and fulfillment in one’s life which may be expressed through the appreciation of life’s purpose, unity with the environment, or a belief in a higher power or religion.

Social Health – meaningful interpersonal relationships through a sense of belonging, support, connectedness, companionship and/or community.

Intellectual Health –an active, curious, open mind with the ability to think critically about issues, pose questions, identify problems and find solutions.

Physical Health – self-care habits to carry out daily tasks with vitality by engaging in regular physical activity, eating nutritiously, avoiding harmful behavior and substances, thereby preventing injury and illness.

Emotional Health – the feeling and expression of the full range of human emotions, giving and receiving love, and developing psychological hardiness.

Environmental Health – human interdependence with the earth and atmosphere.

How many dimensions of Wellness need to be included in the Wellness course?

Each course should explore several Wellness dimensions.  A course should use a subject’s content as a basis for understanding that particular discipline while incorporating two other Wellness points of view.  For example, a course on Personal Financial Wellness might investigate money matters from a personal point of view (intellectual dimension), from a collaborative investment standpoint (social dimension) and from a stockbroker’s perspective (occupational dimension).

What should a student know at the conclusion of any Wellness course?

The student should be able to:

  1. describe and reflect on the multidimensional nature of a wellness model (e.g., OSSIPEE).
  2. explore the impact that each of the relevant dimensions has on course content.
  3. utilize several, specific dimensions to fulfill course competencies.
  4. apply the relevant dimensions to personal decision making using course content assignments.

(Note: Those wishing to explore other Wellness models may seek information from the PSU WellnessCenterin the HUB.)

Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines** (3 credits within the major)

Mathematics finds application in all fields of scholarship. All disciplines make use of quantitative reasoning in some way and to some extent. Students take a three-credit Quantitative Reasoning (Q) course specified as required for their major. This course may be taught within the major discipline or not. It might teach quantitative techniques used as primary or secondary tools within the discipline or might be a course in which students of less quantitative disciplines come to deepen their appreciation of the relevance of quantitative reasoning to us all.

Technology in the Disciplines** (3 credits within the major)

In the modern world, technology has application to every academic discipline, and educated people must have an understanding of technology that will allow them to adapt to rapid technological change. Students take a three-credit Technology in the Disciplines (T) course specified as required for the major. This course may be taught within the major discipline or not. The course will help students examine the role of technology within their own discipline and within a larger societal and cultural context. The T course will provide students with hands-on experience using current technologies; with a broad understanding of the concepts underlying current technology; with an understanding of the potential ethical issues involved with the use of technology; and with an understanding of forces, based in the needs and values of our culture, that drive technological innovation.

Writing in the Disciplines** (3 credits within the major)

In order to communicate effectively, students need to learn the conventions of their own discipline or profession. They need to learn how to write like an educator, a social worker, a biologist, an historian, or a literary critic, for example. Students take a three-credit Writing (W) course within their major that contains significant writing experiences appropriate to the discipline. These experiences should be based on Writing Across the Curriculum activities, for example, free-writing, outlining, writing multiple drafts, responding to feedback, and creating a finished product. In addition to extending the process of developing writing skills, W courses also emphasize writing to learn in the discipline.

* These Connections may be double counted with a major, minor, or any other general education requirement.
** These Connections are 3-credit experiences taken as part of the major and hence add no credits to those required for the major.