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Southern Oregon University

Pathway to Academic and Career Success

Of the 180 credits needed for a bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon, you will earn 60 to 62 within University Studies, SOU’s general education curriculum. Built on student learning outcomes and progressively challenging courses, University Studies helps you adapt knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new challenges. The curriculum allows you to align courses, balance learning in the majors with a broader perspective of liberal arts, and foster civic, social, and personal responsibility. The curriculum is also based on student learning, with specific learning goals embedded in courses that qualify for University Studies. The purposes of the learning goals are these:

  1. Foundation Learning Goals (A, B, C, D) stress developing and enhancing fundamental communication, critical thinking, information literacy, and quantitative reasoning skills.
  2. Exploration Learning Goals (E, F, G) stress acquiring a broadly informed knowledge of the various disciplines and becoming familiar with the kinds of inquiry that occur within the aesthetic, social, and scientific worlds.
  3. Integration Learning Goals (H, I, J) stress the deepening, application and transfer of knowledge across the disciplines. Students explore ethical perspectives in science and technology, citizenship and community, and diversity and global awareness.

The main divisions of strands and goals are listed below, and they show the breadth and depth of the University Studies curriculum.

Foundation Strands

16 credits, earned through University Seminar and Math classes

Strand A: Communication Goals

Communicate effectively using writing, speech, and image.

  1. Demonstrate ability to use Standard American English.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Use standard conventions of grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
    2. Structure sentences in varied and appropriate ways.
    3. Use vocabulary and phrasing appropriate to purpose and audience.
  2. Accurately comprehend written, verbal, visual, and/or symbolic communications.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Summarize relevant components and structures in messages.
    2. Interpret communications’ purposes and cultural assumptions.
    3. Identify arguments used to justify a position.
    4. Critique and assess meanings.
  3. Communicate in ways appropriate to purpose and audience.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Use effective styles, content, and or images.
    2. Adapt messages to facilitate mutual understandings.
    3. Target varied audiences for specific communication purposes.
    4. Develop claims and supporting information.
  4. Collaborate with others to achieve a common goal.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Demonstrate accountability to group processes and goals.
    2. Practice norms of effective communication and active listening.
    3. Use a variety of conflict management skills.

Strand B: Thinking Goals

Conceptualize ideas holistically, logically, and creatively.

  1. Demonstrate awareness of multiple perspectives.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Understand how thinking relates to historical and cultural contexts.
    2. Articulate the salient points of any idea.
    3. Identify the questions at issue.
  2. Identify perceptions, assumptions and biases in any point of view.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Distinguish between critical thought and subjective reaction.
    2. Assess claims and conclusions in relation to points of view.
    3. Evaluate inferences in thought.
  3. Apply logical thought to theoretical and practical issues.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Summarize an argument’s main claim(s) and conclusion(s).
    2. Analyze and evaluate an argument’s logic, evidence, and efficacy.
    3. Weigh evidence to determine accuracy, relevance and sufficiency.
    4. Assess implications and consequences of ideas.
    5. Produce effective arguments using claims, evidence, and valid inferences.
  4. Creatively shape ideas, evidence, and experiences.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Use ideas to structure and solve problems.
    2. Frame decisions using sound interpretations, findings, and solutions.
    3. Effectively create a course of action or communicate a point of view.

Strand C: Information Literacy

Access and use information resources effectively and ethically.

  1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Develop and refine research questions.
    2. Identify key concepts and terms required to locate information.
    3. Examine and assess potential resources specific to research purpose.
  2. Access information effectively and efficiently.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Differentiate among keywords, subject headings and descriptors.
    2. Differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
    3. Implement a variety of information search strategies.
    4. Use full array of library services to retrieve information.
  3. Evaluate information and resources.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Determine accuracy of information by questioning source of data.
    2. Analyze limitations of information gathering tools or strategies.
    3. Investigate differing viewpoints in the information.
  4. Integrate information ethically and legally.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Retrieve and manipulate information across contexts and in multiple formats.
    2. Understand intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of information.
    3. Cite sources using appropriate documentation style, without plagiarism or misrepresentation.

Strand D: Quantitative Reasoning

Effectively formulate and use mathematical models and procedures to address abstract and applied problems.

  1. Recognize and express relationships using quantitative symbols.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Translate real world phenomena into algebraic expressions that correctly reflect quantitative relationships among variables.
    2. Know the four forms of quantitative symbols
      • given numbers
      • unknown constants
      • parameters (unknown numbers fixed by an applied context)
      • variables (unknown numbers that vary within an applied context) and use them appropriately.
    3. Apply fundamental mathematical models to a variety of academic contexts.
  2. Interpret, evaluate, and manipulate quantitative representations appropriately.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Know the important features of various quantitative models (algebraic, graphical, numeric, tables, charts, verbal).
    2. Use various quantitative models to analyze phenomena.
    3. Choose critically among quantitative models to efficiently discover relevant conclusions.
  3. Communicate quantitative concepts and relationships in plain language.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Reason inductively in a quantitative context by imagining, testing, and communicating general relationships from patterns.
    2. Reason deductively in a quantitative context by identifying mathematical premises, inferred conclusions, and errors in reasoning.
    3. Translate and communicate quantitative results into real world contexts.

Exploration Strands (Lower Division)

36 credits, earned with 3 courses in each of the following categories

Strand E: Humanities

Recognize human accomplishments in the arts and humanities and understand their role in clarifying individual and social values.
SOU defines study in the arts and humanities as focusing on intellectual and cultural expression approached through historical, cultural, and aesthetic investigations and interpretations.

  1. Understand basic formal elements, principles, and composition structures in written, oral, visual, or performed texts, works, and/or artifacts.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Describe how technical, organizational, and aesthetic elements in human expression reflect ideas and emotions.
    2. Classify and compare intellectual and artistic endeavors according to recognized criteria and genres.
    3. Understand how differences in form affect meaning.
  2. Understand how cultural and historical factors impact the creation of written, oral, visual, or performed texts, works, and/or artifacts.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Compare works from different time periods and cultures.
    2. Demonstrate how cultural and historical forces influence a creative process.
    3. Analyze individuals' creative processes within a specific art and/or discipline.
  3. Understand how the reception of texts, works, and/or artifacts influences individuals, cultures, and societies.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Explain how individuals respond differently to intellectual and artistic endeavors.
    2. Recognize and explain how intellectual and artistic endeavors influence cultural and societal assumptions and values.
    3. Recognize and explain how intellectual and artistic endeavors change culture and society.

Strand F: Social Science

Understand fundamental concepts of social science and the inter-connections among social institutions, values, individuals, and groups.
Social Science are disciplines that examine how individuals, groups, institutions, and societies behave and interact with one another and their environments. They provide students with the tools to analyze social, political, or economic institutions (such as families, communities, or governments), and to examine society issues and problems at individual, cultural, national, or global levels

  1. Understand connections between individuals and social, economic, and/or political institutions.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Identify impact of social, economic, and/or political institutions on individuals.
    2. Analyze social, economic, and/or political institutions, using discipline-based contexts or approaches.
  2. Understand the interactions of and the relationships between natural and social environments and resources.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze reciprocal influences among political, economic, and/or social developments.
    2. Identify and evaluate the impact of one’s own actions in a societal context.
  3. Apply social science perspectives to past and contemporary issues.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze and evaluate past episodes using discipline-based methodologies.
    2. Analyze and evaluate contemporary issues and problems from social, economic, and/or political perspectives.

Strand G: Sciences – Physical, Biological, and Computer

Understand the fundamental concepts, methods, and applications of the sciences and their impacts on human experience.
SOU defines the sciences as those disciplines that focus on a systemized body of knowledge derived through objective methodologies involving repeatable experimentation, observation, verification, and study. A lab class will include a practical laboratory component that accompanies lecture and course material. We define a lab as a controlled setting where scientific experiments are performed.

  1. Understand major concepts, principles, and theories of the sciences.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Apply critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and/or problem-solving skills to evaluate scientific evidence, theories, and hypotheses.
    2. Use language and concepts of a science discipline.
    3. Understand the broad historical outline of the development of the scientific worldview and important theories.
  2. Understand science as a means of learning about and understanding the natural world.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to generate and test scientific hypotheses by
    1. Designing and carrying out experiments and systematic observational studies. In some cases this may include a laboratory or field setting.
    2. Using appropriate tools to analyze results.
    3. Communicating results orally and in writing according to established standards of scientific communication, including appropriate use of tables, figures, and graphs.
  3. Apply scientific knowledge and methods to societal issues.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Inform decision-making on social, political, and/or economic issues.
    2. Explain interrelationships between society and the sciences.
    3. Investigate impacts of technologies on segments of society and investigate plausible solutions to adverse impacts.

Integration Strands (Upper Division)

9 to 12 credits, earned by 1 course in each of the following categories; 2 of the 3 courses may be in the major

Strand H: Science, Technology & Society

Understand the interactions of science, technology, and human affair

  1. Understand how science as a way of knowing compares with non-scientific ways of knowing.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Distinguish between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations for phenomena.
    2. Compare and contrast methodologies used to compile evidence for constructing arguments and drawing conclusions.
  2. Make connections within the various fields of science and among science and technology and other disciplines including mathematics, social sciences, and humanities.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Explain how scientific knowledge and new technology relate.
    2. Identify the role of science in the development of literature, art, and/or music.
    3. Recognize role of mathematics in the scientific process.
  3. Recognize ethical dilemmas in scientific processes, methods, and technological advancement.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze consequences of technological and scientific change on the individual, society, and environment.
    2. Understand how scientific and technological solutions to societal problems conflict with belief systems and worldviews.
    3. Understand how science, technology, and non-scientific perspectives contribute to solutions of societal problems.

Strand I: Citizenship and Social Responsibility

Understand and apply moral standards to individual conduct and citizenship through ethical inquiry, social awareness, and civic engagement.

  1. Understand and apply the tools necessary for responsible participation in communities.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of community issues, community assets, and community needs.
    2. Identify how individuals affect communities.
    3. Identify how communities affect individuals.
    4. Apply knowledge, information, and skills to community issues.
  2. Understand how ethical issues are embedded in citizenship and social responsibility.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Identify and analyze ethical problems or dilemmas.
    2. Articulate and acknowledge beliefs and assumptions as part of value system.
    3. Describe own and others’ perceptions and ethical frameworks in decision-making.
    4. Consider diverse choices, beliefs, and ethical frameworks in responding to ethical dilemmas.

Strand J: Diversity and global awareness

Understand institutions, assumptions, and values from national and global perspectives.

  1. Understand how one’s society is complex, contested, and dynamic.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Show how categories, ideologies, assumptions and roles are culturally constructed and maintained.
    2. Identify power structures and explain their relationship to social class, race, gender and other systems of privilege and inequality.
    3. Explain contributions of marginalized groups and how differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, class, religious affiliation) shape people's lives.
  2. Understand worldviews and cultural practices different from one's own.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze cultural meanings, beliefs, institutions and cultural practices in other societies according to one’s point of view.
    2. Identify patterns of cultural diversity in a particular region or country and understand how they developed.
    3. Assess attitudes and cultural practices inhibiting tolerance and cultural understanding.
  3. Understand how historical, economic, social, and political conditions affect cultural values and beliefs.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze how relations between values and conditions differ in various societies or groups.
    2. Explain limits and potential of individuals in a particular setting.
    3. Describe how life experiences and situations influence perception of self and others.
  4. Understand dynamics of power in the world situation from global perspectives.
    Proficiencies: Students will be able to
    1. Analyze effects of power differences on specific peoples, societies, and cultural groups.
    2. Describe the development and impact of global institutions that transcend national economic, political, social and cultural jurisdiction.
    3. Explain how and why the term globalization is interpreted differently in different contexts.