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First Year Experience: LIberal Arts & Sciences

Helpful information and links for students in the FYE 100 course.
What do you need to be successful in today's society, and in the future? What does it take to become an engaged citizen in the world?

We know the world through words, numbers, sound, and images. Therefore, we need to be able to think critically about them, and to understand the new technologies that bring them to us. Without these tools -- critical thinking and a grasp of technology -- we cannot be competitive in today's workplace. 

With students' needs in mind, the faculty at Defiance College has developed a curriculum that will prepare DC undergraduates for the 21st century by engaging students in a diverse array of coursework in the Liberal Arts & Sciences that complements the major and establishes the importance of a balanced education for making a living and making a life in a constantly changing world.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) sees liberal education as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of value, ethics, and civic engagement."

Defiance College believes that such an education can be transformative and empowering as well as practical. A curriculum based on this philosophy rooted in the college's mission and the four pillars: to know, to understand, to lead, and to serve, is our goal.  


College Disciplines?

In college, different fields of study, or majors, are divided into broad categories called disciplines, which organize and structure the study of different research questions using different research methods. These disciplines are generally grouped as follows:

  • Humanities and Fine Arts - the study of human culture and how people process and document the human experience. Fields of study generally counted among the humanities include: English, Philosophy, Religion, History, Classical and Modern Languages, Music, and the Visual Arts. Humanists generally employ critical and/or creative methods to analyze texts, language, and other productions of human culture.
  • Social Sciences - the study of the social life of human groups and their relationships with each other. Fields of study generally counted among the social sciences include: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Communications, Political Science, Teacher Education, Economics, and Criminal Justice. Social Scientists generally employ qualitative (participant observation, focus groups, case studies, etc.) and/or quantitative (statistical analysis) methods to answer questions.
  • Natural and Physical Sciences - the study of natural phenomena, the way the natural world works. Fields of study generally counted in the natural and physical sciences include: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Athletic Training/Medicine, and Mathematics. Natural and Physical Scientists employ empirical methods to objectively describe observable phenomena.
  • Applied Sciences - fields in the applied sciences generally apply knowledge gained in the other disciplines and different disciplinary methods to specific tasks or problems. Fields of study generally counted in the applied sciences include: Business, Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Sports Management, Public Relations, Media Production, and Digital Forensic and Computer Sciences. 

Often Confused Terms:

Liberal Education: An approach to college learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. This approach emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g., science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest. It helps students develop a sense of social responsibility; strong intellectual and practical skills that span all major fields of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills; and the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Liberal Arts: Specific disciplines (i.e., the humanities, sciences, and social sciences).

Liberal Arts College: A particular type of institution—often small, often residential—that facilitates close interaction between faculty and students, and whose curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts disciplines.

Artes Liberales: The historical basis for the modern liberal arts, consisting of the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music).

General Education: That part of a liberal education curriculum that is shared by all students. It provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and forms the basis for developing essential intellectual, civic, and practical capacities. General education can take many forms, and increasingly includes introductory, advanced, and integrative forms of learning

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