General Education Explorations Category Descriptions

Note: Faculty from different Schools and Programs certify their courses to qualify as fulfilling requirements for each Explorations category. Each Semester eligible courses are listed on the AMC online course search tool and visible within the AMC student web registration portal.

Explorations in the Natural Sciences

Courses approved to meet this requirement focus on selected elements of the Natural Sciences, with particular emphasis on processes and mechanisms that underlie individual disciplines, including earth sciences, cosmology, biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, health sciences, and anthropology.

Explorations in Western Cultures and History

Approved courses explore focus on the study of values, ideas, self-perceptions and aspirations by examining human creative expression during a specific period of Western history. These classes explore the philosophical and artistic heritage of the West by investigating the intellectual foundations of the defining works of literature, music and the visual and performing arts from each historic period. The exploration of interrelationships between the products of human imagination and the ideas that inspire their creation enables one to explore the west’s answers to the fundamental questions regarding the nature of humankind and the purpose of human existence in one of the four major historic eras of Western Civilization.

Explorations in Writing for Career and Creativity

Anna Maria College recognizes that the ability to write effectively is a basic and increasingly important skill for college graduates, regardless of their major or career plans. The General Education Curriculum is designed so that all students will take at least three writing courses; for many students, this will include either a Professional Writing course or a Creative Writing course, both of which emphasize specialized writing. In these courses, students opt to further hone their writing skills.

Professional Writing

Professionals in many fields are required to prepare a variety of reports, communicate with peers, and present projects, programs and other written products to a variety of audiences. This is a more specialized approach to writing than encountered in freshmen writing composition courses. Therefore, in this course the student learn to develop, draft and execute various forms of writing useful for an array of professions.

Creative Writing

The course blends building blocks of language, locale, apprentice, and artistic effort with a goal of strengthening writing skills that can lead to lifelong learning, expression, and publication. Students will have opportunities each week to explore topics, practice elements of writing, and complete formal examples of creative writing.

Explorations in Creativity and Imagination

Courses identified as Experience of Creativity, Imagination, and Beauty will contribute to the development of aesthetic responsiveness. These courses will present students with opportunities to analyze the objects and experiences which are identified in various societies as representative of beauty. As such, the courses are intended to contribute to cultural competency through the awareness of culturally conditioned perception and how selected cultures transmit meaning. In sympathy with the experience of beauty are the imaginative and creative processes which yield human artifacts that appeal to (or are repulsive to) the aesthetic sense and are intended to carry meaning. Students will have the opportunity to critically explore these processes and engage them through encounters with their application in cultural artifacts.

Explorations in Societies of the World

The courses in the Societies of the World category seek to acquaint students with values, customs, and institutions of other countries, and to explore how different beliefs, behaviors, and ways of organizing society come into being. These courses may take a variety of disciplinary approaches to the examination of economic, political, and legal systems, social relations, and social beliefs. Courses may also address cultural practices or religious traditions, and their effect on social structures. Topics may be treated from a contemporary perspective or a historical one, as long as they help students develop an awareness of the diversity of ways in which human beings have organized their social existence. Some courses in this category might concentrate primarily on a single society, past or present, but they should demonstrate its connections, across time or geographical space, to one or more other societies. There are many topics of wide practical and intellectual interest that courses in Societies of the World might explore, including ethnic identity and statehood, gender, religion and government, constitutionalism.

Explorations in the United States in the World

The influence of the United States in the world is unprecedented in many areas, such as culture, military power, scientific development, and economics. At the same time, the USA is in continuous interaction with societies around the world, sometimes cooperatively and sometimes confrontationally. Courses in this category the USA from the inside and the outside by analyzing US social, political, legal, cultural and economic practices and institutions, and either compare those practices and institutions to those of other countries

(in part to examine “American exceptionalism”) or explore the connections between the US and other societies. These courses will help students to understand the US as a heterogeneous and multifaceted nation situated within an international framework. These courses help prepare students for civic agency by framing the study of social, political, legal, and economic institutions of the United States in a historical and/or comparative context.

Explorations in Global Dynamics

The world has become more complex in virtually all dimensions. Economies are increasingly interdependent: no large company exists with its workforce, assets, raw materials and customer base in a single country. Economic well-being for any one country is dependent on the well-being of its suppliers, customers, investors, and its workforce. Many other problems cannot be solved within the borders of a single country: including social problems, such as combating terrorism and curbing the drug trade; international disputes, such as territorial conflicts and the problems of submerged ethnic groups. In addition, significant changes in science, technology, and the environment are also increasingly vital for the future of the planet. Courses in this category examine international or transnational dynamics between countries, regional or international institutions, and key non-state actors in social, political, legal, cultural, and/or economic institutions, practices, and behaviors, from contemporary, historical, and/or analytic perspectives. There are many topics that an Exploring Global Dynamics course might explore, including international relations, global markets, environmental changes, scientific and technological developments, and social change in a globalized world. By this category’s nature, precedence should be given to courses in the Social Sciences that examine social, cultural, political, legal, linguistic, scientific, technological or economic issues.

Explorations in Catholic Worldview

These courses begin with the understanding that students come to Anna Maria College from a variety of religious backgrounds and levels of engagement and interest. What students hold in common is participation in, responsibility for, and potential to influence a complex and fragile world. Courses in this category offer students perspectives on this engagement with the world from the experience of Catholic Scholars, Scientists, Religious leaders, Theorists, and Pastoral Practitioners. In keeping with the mission of Anna Maria College, these perspectives are shaped by a system of belief in a God who is revealed in the beauty of the natural world and the loving desire for each person’s greatest good in the social world. Readings, projects, discussions, and experiences will probe the depths of course topics to yield new ways of thinking. Sometimes these perspectives will complement other courses across the curriculum and sometimes it will challenge them.

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning courses teach students how to think, write, and read mathematically in order to better understand the world and themselves. Approved courses include those from disciplines such as Mathematics, Philosophy, Fire Science, and Music.

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