Veritas for StudentsVeritas courses

Summary of Veritas

Among all of the Undergraduate College Learning Outcomes, Veritas emphasizes the Heritage, Personal & Social Responsibility, and Intellectual & Foundational Skills outcome areas, while accomplishing Scope of Learning via the program's breadth. The Veritas curriculum consists of three levels of courses:

  1. Foundations courses, primarily at the 1000-level, introduce key values and skills of the curriculum. Aspects of the first-year experience, including Dignitas, first-year composition, and interpersonal communication, are included in the Foundations. Additional Foundations coursework in non-native languages (for traditional main campus students) and mathematics need not necessarily be taken in the first year. 
  2. Conceptions courses introduce Pathways of study at the 1000- and 2000-levels while focusing on at least one Personal & Social Responsibility value and at least four Intellectual & Foundational Skills. 
  3. Integrations courses continue to introduce new Pathways of study-they are not follow-up courses for content experts-but at the 3000-level, with faculty free to assume students have prior familiarity with the Personal & Social Responsibility values and Intellectual & Foundational Skills. Each of these courses, like Conceptions courses, advances students' thinking on at least one value and at least four of the skills. Integrations courses are upper-division with respect to students' competence in the values and skills, not with respect to the specialized content knowledge of the discipline. These courses need to be accessible, liberal education entries into the discipline, as there is no guarantee that students have prior coursework in that Pathway.

Students may transfer in much of the coursework of Veritas as appropriate; however, the minimum Veritas requirement for all CSS students is 8 credits. Traditional age incoming first year students who transfer in a large number of general education credits round out their general education experience at CSS by taking, at minimum, Dignitas, a Religious Studies course and an upper division Integrations course. 

The Veritas Curriculum for Students

Here we detail what is required of students to successfully complete the Veritas program. 

Foundations Courses
"Traditional" (main campus) students have 18-26 credits of Foundations requirements, depending on their non-native language status. 

Dignitas 8 cr. (click here for more information regarding Dignitas
Interpersonal Communication 2 cr.
First-Year Composition 4 cr.
Mathematics 4 cr.
Language (Completion of 1112 at CSS or 3 years of high school language study or demonstration via exam or bilingual background.)

Foundations courses are typically 1000-level courses; however, mathematics courses in particular will likely span levels. While the non-native language and mathematics Foundations courses need not necessarily be taken in the first year, the Foundations as a whole are the basic building blocks of the Veritas curriculum and of students' learning. Equivalent college-level work may be transferred in for all of these requirements except Dignitas, which plays a formative role in the Veritas curriculum and at the College as a whole. Students who are coded as entering as "first-time freshmen" (regardless of their transfer credits) take two semesters of Dignitas. It is recommended that students who enter as "transfer students," like extended and online students, take the 2-credit accelerated semester of Dignitas or that programs provide a 0-credit option that introduces students to the key elements of a CSS education. Students without college-level credit in mathematics will take a course appropriate for their current level of understanding, according to the placement policies of the Mathematics and other departments.

Main campus students not exempt from the non-native language requirement may start a new language or continue a high school language at their current level until they have at least completed a course numbered 1112.

Conceptions and Integrations Courses
All students have 32 credits of requirements (combined) at the Conceptions and Integrations levels. These requirements are distributed in several different ways:

  • There must be 4 credits in each of the 7 Pathways, plus 4 more credits in any Pathway(s), including the "Open" Pathway.
  • There must be at least 16 credits at the Conceptions level, including 4 credits of Religious Studies. 
  • There must be at least 8 credits at the Integrations level.

The distribution of coursework across Pathways assures breadth in students' education, but the unifying themes of the Personal & Social Responsibility values and Intellectual & Foundational Skills assure coherence in that education.

Conceptions courses are lower-division, 1000- or 2000-level courses. Every Conceptions course will introduce students to a Pathway, engage them in a Personal & Social Responsibility value, and build at least four of the Intellectual & Foundational Skills. 

Integrations courses are upper-division, 3000-level courses, but are still liberal education experiences accessible to non-majors. Every Integrations course will introduce students to a Pathway, build upon their engagement with the Personal & Social Responsibility values, continue to develop their Intellectual & Foundational Skills, and in particular, develop the Written Communication skill. Integrations courses are intended to be writing intensive. 

The "Open" Pathway allows for course offerings that are uniquely designed outside of the seven disciplinary Pathways. This "Open" Pathway will have indicators and must meet a certain number of outcomes, just like other Pathways. This allows for courses that are highly interdisciplinary or that otherwise do not fit easily into discipline-specific Pathways to still address liberal education goals.

Conceptions & Integrations Disciplinary Pathways 

Social Sciences 

The Social Sciences study psychological, economic, social, cultural, and/or political thinking and behavior in individuals and societies. Students discover the interconnectedness and relationships among motivation, learning, and development, including the causes and implications of differences and similarities among people.

A course in this Pathway must address at least three of the following indicators:

  1. Address using a broad focus, one or more of the following: psychosocial, economic, social, cultural and/or the political thinking of individuals and societies.
  2. Examine the relationships and interconnectedness between motivation, learning, development and change.
  3. Explore the causes and implications of differences and similarities among people.
  4. Explore alternative theoretical frameworks, which have been used to offer meaningful explanations of social phenomena.

History
History is an interdisciplinary study that reflects upon and analyzes human experience, paying particular attention to change over time. It focuses on the ways people are active agents intransforming the world and how the past illuminates the present. Students explore human societies in different times and places, encouraging cross-cultural comparisons. Courses in history contribute to creating better informed, more critically thinking citizens who understand themselves and the world around them in deeper, more diverse ways.

A course in this Pathway must address at least three of the following indicators:

  1. Examine the history of any society, people or country using a broad focus with respect to time and place.
  2. Include a knowledge of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, and culture under study.
  3. Include a methodological component [tools and approaches] utilized to indicate how and why we know something of a time, place, and people.
  4. Enable students to develop an appreciation for diverse human experiences.
  5. Practice historical thinking as central to engaged citizenship.

Literature
Literary study emphasizes close reading of and thoughtful expression about texts from a variety of perspectives and issues, ranging from forms and genres to modes and historical-cultural contexts. Focused on language, literary study involves both individual work and communal ways of understanding texts through oral and written interpretation. Literary study fosters the imaginative and intellectual effort needed to engage in varying cultural experiences to understand human values.

A course in this Pathway must address at least three of the following indicators:

  1. Read, discuss, and write about literary works as a significant feature of the course content, with attention to form, genre, and/or historical-cultural context.
  2. Promote close reading and interpretation of texts from multiple perspectives.
  3. Engage literary study - including writing about literature - as a means to knowledge of the world and of our diverse experiences and values in particular.

Fine Arts
Art is created in all human cultures as a response to life. All forms of art can enable us to express depths of experience and emotion, rationally explore that which gives us pleasure, shape socialvalues, reach out to others across time and culture, and create something more lasting than we are. Through the creation and study of art, students consider its definition, interpretation, and impact on humanity. Art merits both technical and reflective study as part of a liberal education.

A course in this Pathway must address the following three indicators:

  1. Address historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical dimensions of an artistic field.
  2. Require both critical reflection and understanding of the practice of methodologies or skills in the fine arts.
  3. Consciously engage with the imagination required to produce artistic objects or performances, as a means of expression, and thus stand outside conventional ideas of utility.

Theology and Religious Studies
The study of theology and religion involves the academic exploration of our relationship with God and the nature and role of religion. Courses examine beliefs, rituals, ethics, sacred writings, spiritualities, and the meaning and application of faith in students' lives. Most courses reflect theChristian tradition or the Benedictine Catholic heritage. Consistent with an ecumenical and interfaith perspective, courses are often in dialogue with Protestant Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths. Particular courses focus on the traditions and theologies of other world religions.

A course in this Pathway must address at least three of the following indicators:

  1. Examine central religious and theological questions and the ways Christianity and/or Catholicism and/or other religions have approached and resolved such questions.
  2. Assist students in identifying and understanding their religious convictions and faith communities.
  3. Encourage an ecumenical perspective and pluralistic sensitivity that respects the diversity of religious convictions.
  4. Stimulate and develop students' critical thinking skills and cultivate facility in academic argumentation.
  5. Introduce students to methodological issues in the investigation and evaluation of religious traditions and texts.
  6. Dialogue about moral questions and social justice issues as a means of developing in students the necessary skills for ethical decision making and living justly.
  7. Foster the integration of theological insights into students' wider educational, social, cultural, religious, and spiritual experience.

Philosophy
Philosophy, the love of wisdom, uses natural reason to guide the search for the good life. The study of philosophy challenges the student to think critically and make and evaluate arguments. The aim of philosophy courses is to contemplate those questions that will lead to responsible living.

A course in this Pathway must address the following indicators:

  1. Examine the importance and development of various questions addressed by philosophers.
  2. Explore the methods and issues of philosophical inquiry as a 'way of knowing.'
  3. Provide experiences that lead to critical examination of basic assumptions about life.

Natural Sciences
The natural sciences attempt to discover principles or laws, which explain life and the physical universe through iterations of observation, formulation of hypotheses, experimentation and/orfurther data collection, and development of theory. Scientific discoveries enable humans tounderstand and explain the universe, to appreciate the beauty of its complex interconnectedness, and to exercise stewardship over its resources. Students who take natural science courses are better able to understand the scope of scientific endeavor, its limits, how science has shaped the modern world, and both the scientific and technological issues society faces.

A course in this Pathway must address at least three of the following indicators:

  1. Scientific principles that explain living and/or physical phenomena.
  2. Complex interconnections in the natural world.
  3. "The scientific method": Multiple models of how scientific inquiry is carried out, and alternate starting points for scientific discovery that may vary by discipline.
  4. The scope and limits of scientific endeavor.
  5. How science and technology created and continue to shape the modern world.
  6. The modern scientific and technological issues faced by society.

Open
The addition of an "Open" Pathway allows for course offerings that are uniquely designed outside of the seven disciplinary Pathways. This "Open" Pathway will have indicators and must meet a certain number of outcomes, just like other Pathways. When students are choosing a course for their elective-the four credits that can be taken in any of the Pathways to bring a student's total Conceptions/Integrations credits to 32-they will now see this "Open" Pathway alongside the seven disciplinary Pathways. This allows for courses that are highly interdisciplinary or that otherwise do not fit easily into discipline-specific Pathways to still address liberal education goals; a nonexhaustive set of illustrative examples might include studies of sustainability, interactions between science and culture, topics in diversity that do not fit within other disciplines, etc.

A course proposed for the open pathway must still address Skills and one Value just as other Conceptions or Integrations courses. In lieu of pathway indicators, a proposal for an open pathway course should address one or more of these points for the General Education committee IN THE SYLLABUS:

  1. Is the course interdisciplinary in such a way that it does not fit into just one of the other pathways, but clearly fits in the spirit of liberal education? Please explain in your syllabus.
  2. Does the course delve even more deeply into one of the Personal & Social Responsibility values than a typical Veritas course? For instance, courses whose entire content is Ethical Reasoning, Civic Engagement, or Intercultural Knowledge & Competence may not neatly fit into other pathways. Please explain in your syllabus.
  3. The College Learning Outcomes outline the traditional canon of liberal education disciplines with the phrase "study and engagement in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, languages, and the arts." Is this course outside those disciplines? How does it exemplify the liberal education goals of Veritas? Please explain in your syllabus.