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Undergraduate Course Descriptions: General Educationnext

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Dialogues1 : The Medaille Undergraduate General Education Core

Medaille’s  Dialogues Core is a general education curriculum that provides a foundation for their liberal arts education while exposing students to a diversity of perspectives. The cornerstone concept of the core is Plato’s notion of “dialogue”, that reasoning and truth are achieved through conversations that look at the subjects of inquiry from multiple perspectives and challenge thinking. With this in mind, the Dialogues Core is an outcomes-based curriculum that aims to cultivate a rigorous and engaging academic life at Medaille that offers students choice and flexibility. Developed to provide students with a comprehensive liberal arts background, the Dialogues Core provides students with an education that incorporates multi-disciplinary ways of thinking so that they will  graduate with a broad understanding of the world in which they live. In this way, the Dialogues Core prepares students to be active citizens in the twenty-first century.

In the Dialogues Core, students take a series of six courses (18 credits) over the course of their four years, all with clear learning objectives tied directly to the Essential College-Wide Learning Outcomes:

Critical Dialogues – All students take a common first-year seminar, INT 110 Introduction to Dialogues in Critical Thinking, where they will be introduced to Plato’s concept of “dialogue” and the fundamentals of critical thinking. Students will learn the most important academic skills required for success in college, and also for open-minded and reflective inquiry, substantial understanding, and informed judgment. This course includes critical thinking and information literacy as learning outcomes.

American Dialogues – Students choose from a variety of courses that focus on American values and institutions that explore issues of diversity in American and apply ethical reasoning to social problems. Courses satisfying this requirement include cultural literacy, ethical reasoning, critical thinking and written literacy as learning outcomes.

Sustainability Dialogues – Students choose from a variety of courses that focus on the issues of sustainability at the micro and/or macro level, and at the individual and/or the communal level. Students learn the scientific method, and also learn to apply ethical reasoning to scientific issues.  Courses satisfying this requirement include ethical reasoning, scientific reasoning, and quantitative reasoning as learning outcomes.

Creative and Reflective Dialogues – Students choose from a variety of courses that will expose them to a particular creative art form and demonstrate how that art form reflects larger social issues. Students will gain an appreciation of the art form, and also practice the art form themselves. In this way, students will reflect on what they learned in previous courses in a creative way. Courses satisfying this requirement include ethical reasoning, cultural literacy, and critical thinking as learning outcomes.

Global Dialogues – Students choose from a variety of upper-level writing intensive courses where students learn about the world outside of the United States. Courses satisfying this requirement include written literacy, ethical reasoning, cultural literacy, information literacy, and critical thinking as learning outcomes.

Citizenship Dialogues – Students enroll in INT 450 Capstone in Citizenship  where they will draw from their own major to develop a capstone research project that addresses a real world-problem of the student’s choice. Psychology majors are encouraged, as an alternative, to choose the capstone in their major, PSY 411 Psychology Capstone. English majors with a creative writing concentration also have the option of doing a directed study creative project. All students, in addition, have the option of working individually with a faculty member on a capstone research project as a directed study so long as the student has the approval of the faculty member they want to work with, and have a project proposal approved by the instructor prior to registering for the directed study. No matter what option students choose, their capstone project is expected to satisfy the written literacy, information literacy, critical thinking, and oral communication learning outcomes.


Complementing the Dialogues Core, as part of their general education requirement, students also take one speech course (3 credits), two English composition courses (6 credits), and two mathematics courses (6 credits), as outlined below:

ENG 110 College Writing

ENG 200 Advanced College Writing

MAT 114 Intermediate Algebra; or MAT 115 Pre-Calculus

MAT 201 Statistics and Society; or BIO 301 Epidemiology and Biostatistics; or MAT 216 Survey of Introductory Calculus

SPE 130 Fundamentals of Public Speaking

1 Medaille College was inspired to use “Dialogues” as a central concept for its general education core based on the Dialogues general education core developed by Lynn University, for which it has been nationally recognized: