The Drury Core: A General Education Curriculum for an Interdependent World
Drury recognizes that global challenges we face can only be successfully addressed through forms of collective action that reach across regional and national boundaries. Thus, we are committed to a liberal arts education that equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the pressing challenges and opportunities that await them in today’s interdependent world. Our general education curriculum, The Drury Core: Engaging Our World, prepares students by emphasizing the global connections of all areas of study and by prioritizing applied learning through direct engagement in communities both at home and around the world.
According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), “liberal education has the strongest impact when students look beyond the classroom to the world’s major questions, asking students to apply their developing analytical skills and ethical judgments to significant problems in the world around them.” To advance these aims, the Drury general education curriculum embraces four modes of engagement. Together, they collectively represent our continuing emphasis on global learning combined with the longstanding goals of a Drury education: a broad exposure to the liberal arts and the development of the key skills of writing, oral communication, critical thinking and sound ethical decision making.
1. Engagement with Global Challenges
In the Engaging Our World curriculum, students take 18 credit hours of coursework concerned with global challenges: 6 credits of foreign language and 12 credits of classes emphasizing global challenges and diversity distributed across at least three of the four academic divisions. Global learning is infused across the campus, with all departments offering courses that present disciplinary content situated in a global context. This cross-disciplinary infusion exemplifies AAC&U’s recommendation that global learning should move “to a broader framework that shapes all, or significant parts, of the general education curriculum.”
Faculty develop and teach courses that both draw on their expertise and demonstrate that all areas of academic study offer tools to address the challenges and opportunities of today’s interconnected world. The required global challenges courses are diverse and include such approaches as:
2. Engagement with Communities
The Engaging Our World curriculum requires students to complete two engaged learning experiences. Powerful evidence shows that high impact learning practices, such as service learning, internships, study away/abroad, leadership development and student/faculty research, stimulate gains in critical thinking skills, civic and global awareness, and commitment to intellectual success. The new curriculum integrates these practices into general education in a systematic and intentional way.
3. Engagement with Diverse Methods, Approaches and Areas of Knowledge
The Engaging Our World curriculum exposes students to a broad range of knowledge in two central ways. First, students enroll in a thematic First-Year Experience seminar that combines the development of key academic skills with an exploration of important and interesting topics, taught by faculty with expertise in these areas. Second, students take at least six credit hours in each of the four academic divisions, in courses carefully designed to develop understanding of that discipline’s a distinct way of understanding, interpreting, or studying the world.
4. Engagement with Core Skills Necessary for Professional Success, Lifelong Learning, and Ethical Participation in the Global Community
The Engaging Our World curriculum recognizes that meaningful engagement with the world requires key skills. Development of the first set of skills—writing, oral communication and critical thinking—begins in the thematic FYE seminar and continues in the 3-credit FYE2 Foundations course. To assure mastery of more advanced writing, each student also develops proficiency as writers in their major. A second set of skills—the capacity for sound moral judgment—is developed in the junior-level Ethics seminar course. Third, kinesthetic and wellness skills are developed and cultivated through the EXSP 220 Personal Wellness course.
Through these four modes—Engagement with Global Challenges, Engagement with Communities, Engagement with Diverse Ways of Knowing, and Engagement with Core Skills— the Engaging Our World curriculum provides Drury students with a robust liberal arts general education that will prepare them for professional careers, engaged citizenship, and a life of learning.