In 2015, the Earlham faculty approved the following Learning Goals for the College developed by the Curricular Policy Committee. Students should be able to:
- Communicate effectively and work collaboratively across diverse contexts via multiple media. Effective communication involves both social and expressive skills and the ability to communicate in multiple settings and cultures.
- Investigate and analyze information, materials, problems and texts using a variety of techniques. Thoughtful and careful analysis requires the ability to collect, understand, interpret and evaluate multiple pieces of evidence, with systematic understanding and overt application of qualitative, quantitative, analytical and abstract reasoning.
- Integrate knowledge, experience, and skills across domains and contexts. Integration involves connecting and developing ideas, as well as synthesizing and transferring learning to new and complex situations.
- Diversify personal and cultural experiences, ways of knowing, and social relationships. The practice of diversity involves embracing opportunities to explore outside their interests and typical frame of reference.
- Create and innovate across a variety of disciplines. Creativity and innovation require a willingness to take risks, be open to new possibilities, and produce new knowledge and artistic and social forms.
- Reflect critically on their learning experiences, ethical and vocational choices, lifestyle, and beliefs in light of multiple understandings of the world. Reflection involves the ability to examine past experiences and apply their lessons to future contexts.
- Apply knowledge and skills to real world problems and situations as well as to improve their own mental, spiritual and physical well-being. Applying learning effectively is a key skill of a lifelong learner.
Achieving these goals
Earlham College is a liberal arts college, and its general education requirements are devised to prepare its students for a life of critical knowledge and informed action. The new requirements introduce students to ways of knowing rather than to specific disciplinary or divisional requirements.
In most cases, general education classes are small and provide interaction and collaboration between students and faculty. Collaborative research, in fact, is part of the College’s mission. Earlham’s system of general education allows as much student election of courses as is practical, and also invites faculty to introduce students to subjects of special interest and importance early in students’ academic careers.
Earlham’s exceptionally able and thoughtful faculty, at all levels, teach in the general education program. We understand that this teaching is central to the College’s mission, and we also understand that, in a broad sense, everything beyond a student’s major is part of general education at Earlham.