WCore Requirements

 Program Goals

WCore at Westminster College is designed to foster the intellectual skills and values that are necessary as a foundation for learning and to encourage the thoughtful integration of different disciplines.  The WCore offers a wide range of challenging courses that expands the knowledge of our students and allows them to investigate and express their interests. It is our belief that the WCore will revitalize our liberal education program and will create a climate in which more critical questions are asked and answered by our students. A priority of the reform is to have more full time faculty and instructional staff teaching in the WCore. This goal recognizes the importance of students interacting with faculty specifically in the first two years and throughout their tenure at Westminster. The following college-wide goals form the core of liberal education courses and are reinforced across the curriculum in major areas of study:

  • Critical, analytical, and integrative thinking
  • Creative and reflective capacities
  • Writing and other communication skills
  • Global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness
  • Leadership, collaboration, and teamwork.

The following course requirements are established for all students seeking an undergraduate degree. Students must earn a grade of CR or C- or above in WCore coursework to fulfill graduation requirements.

I. Learning Community
All full-time first-year are required to complete one Learning Community.
II. WCore Courses
WCore Fine Arts and Humanities (WCFAH) 

Students are required to take two WCFAH courses. (6-8 credit hours)

These classes draw from the humanities and fine arts to develop analytical, creative and reflective capacities, as well as teach students the skills of articulating ideas and concepts clearly both in writing and speech.

Course descriptions for WCFAH courses are available here.

WCore Science and Math (WCSAM) 

Students are required to take two WCSAM courses. (6-8 credit hours)

WCore Science and Mathematics courses provide students the opportunity to learn about how quantitative reasoning and scientific inquiry shape our understanding and knowledge of the human experience and the world we inhabit. These classes draw from science and math to develop critical, analytical, and integrative thinking as well as writing and other communication skills.

Course descriptions for WCSAM courses are available here.

WCore Social and Behavioral Sciences (WCSBS) 

Students are required to take two WCSBS courses. (6-8 credit hours)

WCore Social and Behavioral Sciences courses provide students the opportunity to learn about and understand the human experience from social and behavioral science perspectives. These courses share the learning outcome of increasing understanding of human behavior and social interaction from multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Through a diverse range of course offerings students will be provided with the opportunity to explore dimensions of human life that may include: cultural, biological, social, behavioral, interactional, organizational, structural, and institutional approaches.

Course descriptions for WCSBS courses are available here.

III. Emphases
It is expected that courses meeting the Emphases requirements will also fulfill an WCore, a major, or a minor requirement and therefore will be drawn from courses already in the existing course rotation. Other courses may be developed and added to the WCore Emphases list.

WCore Diversity Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

Courses that meet the diversity requirement challenge students to examine differences of power, privilege, and subordination based on hierarchically organized socially ascribed categories of at least two of the following: race, ethnicity, social class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and religion. Graded assignments that assess students’ ability to explain, apply, and synthesize understanding of substantial global and U.S. American issues related to the selected categories are required.

WCore Quantitative Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

Quantitative reasoning is taught across the curriculum and is not the purview of any one program and subject area. Accordingly, there is room for flexibility in course design for QE designated courses. QE designated courses are framed around a real-world context or problem (e.g., poll data in election, higher education data and policy, etc.) and include an extensive exploration of quantitative techniques that illuminate the questions at hand or they begin with a cohesive set of quantitative methods then explore their application across a broad range of real-world problems.

Quantitative reasoning skills are fundamental to the college-wide learning goals beyond merely the goal of critical, analytical, and integrative thinking. Appropriate analysis and presentation of data is often required in written and other forms of communication in many professional settings.

Writing Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

WCore Writing Emphasis courses offer students many opportunities to write, reflect and revise; however, writing instruction is embedded in a topic from an academic discipline.  The assumption that discipline-specific writing is an effective tool for building knowledge and skills underlies these courses.

WCore Research Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)
WCore courses with an RE designation give students an opportunity to engage in an intensive, discipline-specific research experience, within the context of a broader course. There will be opportunities for inquiry or investigation that have the potential to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Research projects will be designed to produce positive student learning, have clearly communicated purpose and research outcomes, guide the students through discipline-specific research objectives and methodology, require substantive contact with pertinent disciplinary literature, and involve written and oral presentations of findings.

IV. Engaging the World
The Engaging the World experience prepares students to be better global citizens. It builds on the knowledge from the WSeminars and Explorations courses students take during their first and second years and applies what they have learned by focusing on ways to advance social transformation, equity, and parity within our local and global communities. This experience challenges their biases and prejudices and emphasizes the knowledge that we live in an integrated, complex and interdependent society.
V. Senior Seminar and Making Connections (Capstone)
This is a required capstone course for all seniors offered within each major. Students, who are in a program/major that does not have an eportfolio requirement, will use some portion of this course to create their final portfolios. While many of the specific objectives of this course will vary by discipline the one, shared outcome, is that all class participants will produce a piece of work that demonstrates each student’s culminating intellectual experience at Westminster College.  Possible culminating projects of this course include, among others, submissions for the senior arts exhibit, posters describing independent research projects, reflections on an impactful clinical experience, a collection of poems, or talks explaining business plans.  Course participants will be invited by departmental faculty to share their culminating project at the Celebrating Your Path event held annually at the end of each spring semester.
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