The Wabash Curriculum and Learning Outcomes
I. First Year Seminars (2 credits)
The first-year seminars prepare students for the rigors of a college education through acclimation to the campus culture and instruction in critical reading, thinking, writing, and oral expression. These small, seminar-style courses provide a context in which students form relationships with faculty and a cohort of fellow students. These relationships both provide new students with a robust support structure and help faculty foster skills that are critical for success at college. Students gain experience in reading texts so as to both identify central ideas within a text and identify common themes across texts. These skills are honed through class discussion and through writing. Writing instruction throughout the first-year seminars emphasizes both the craft of writing and the intellectual pursuit of improving ideas through writing. Students improve the quality of their written work through instruction regarding technical aspects of paper construction and approaching writing as a multi-stage process.
A. Freshman Tutorial (1 credit)
Freshman Tutorials ensure the first-year student’s participation in small group discussions that challenge him intellectually and provide an experience characteristic of the liberal arts.
Students who successfully complete Freshman Tutorial will be able to:
- read actively to identify the main ideas and claims within a text;
- craft a thesis and clearly communicate and support that thesis through writing;
- communicate orally to express ideas clearly, advance discussion of issues, and build common understanding.
B. Enduring Questions (1 credit)
The Enduring Questions Freshman Colloquium engages the student with important questions and builds community while fostering effective reading, clear written expression, and collaborative discussions that promote better understanding of texts.
Students who successfully complete Enduring Questions will be able to:
- read actively to identify common themes across multiple texts;
- produce written works by means of an iterative process that includes planning, drafting, revising, and editing;
- analyze the diversity of both identity and living in community;
- discuss themes within and across texts in ways that reflect their understanding of multiple perspectives as evidenced in these texts.
II. Composition and World Languages (2 or 3 credits)
A. Composition (1 credit, or waived)
The ability to write in clear English prose is an essential element of a liberal arts education. It is a fundamental mode of thinking and communication. Students should demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in writing either through ENG-101 (Composition) taken on entry to Wabash or through demonstrated ability (i.e., on the SAT, ACT, or an in-house diagnostic exercise).
Students who successfully complete ENG-101 will be able to:
- create written work that features a clear central thesis, logical organization, and well-substantiated ideas;
- choose and apply appropriate language and sentence structure for the intended audience;
- use correct grammar and punctuation.
B. World Languages (1 or 2 credits)
The Wabash College World Languages requirement seeks to expand student knowledge of languages and cultures beyond their own; it seeks also to encourage exploration of contemporary and/or historic traditions grounded in different cultural paradigms. These goals are intended to provide a foundation for basic understanding and knowledge, which may be further developed in more advanced studies not only in Classics and Modern Languages but also in a number of allied departments and programs at the College. They may also be applied beyond Wabash, especially by means of active participation and reflection in study abroad programs and immersion courses.
Students who successfully complete the World Languages requirement will be able to:
- develop the linguistic tools to understand and/or communicate in another language;
- understand elements that distinguish cultures, modern or classical, from one another and be able to compare cultural perspectives.
III. Distribution Requirements
A. Language Studies (1 credit)
The Language Studies distribution requirement asks students to explore how written and oral expression shape our lives by immersing the student in language as a discipline and object of study. The language studies requirement ensures that the student gains experience in the explicit study of communication and language through direct and sustained instruction in the formal conventions of language use, speaking, and writing. Human communication constitutes the course content; the interrelationship between thinking, speaking, and writing is the focus.
Students who successfully complete the Language Studies distribution requirement will be able to accomplish at least three of the following outcomes:
- formulate, organize, and express written and/or spoken ideas artfully and/or persuasively;
- use language appropriate to audience, purpose, genre, and/or context;
- locate, evaluate, and employ supporting materials or language artifacts;
- understand how language connects to social, cultural, or personal identities;
- understand the structure of language as a dynamic and creative, yet rule-governed system.
B. Literature and Fine Arts (3 credits from at least 2 departments)
Courses in literature and fine arts focus on the creation and study of a variety of texts in literature, languages, visual arts, music, theater, and rhetoric. This requirement exposes the student to representations of the diverse lives of others, past and present, and to the ways humans interact practically and imaginatively with their environments. In these ways, literature and fine arts can be seen not just as pleasurable, but as essential components of human life.
Students who successfully complete the Literature and Fine Arts distribution requirement will be able to accomplish at least three of the following outcomes:
- practice creative process;
- analyze and interpret texts;
- recognize the importance of context;
- demonstrate disciplinary literacy.
C. Behavioral Science (3 credits from at least 2 departments)
The behavioral sciences endeavor to provide students with a better understanding of human thought and action. A student of the human sciences learns to subject human behavior to systematic analysis, empirical scrutiny, and reasoned interpretation, providing him with a better understanding of himself and his surroundings. The student learns about the theoretical frameworks that describe how people interact with each other and with social institutions, the methods of empirical testing by which these frameworks are derived, and the relationship between scientific knowledge and social policy.
Students who successfully complete the Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement will be able to accomplish at least three of the following outcomes:
- comprehend the theoretical frameworks that describe human behavior, and use them to analyze, explain, and/or predict human thought and action;
- draw reasonable inferences about human behavior based on systematically empirical information and/or testing;
- evaluate the implications of a scholarly understanding of human behavior for social institutions and/or public policy;
- communicate to a variety of audiences – in speech, discussion, and writing – an understanding of the theoretical frameworks that describe human behavior, the empirical methods by which these frameworks are constructed and evaluated, and/or the relationship between scientific knowledge and social policy.
D. Laboratory Science (2 credits)
Coursework in the natural sciences engages the student in the theoretical and quantitative understanding of scientific knowledge as well as a critical evaluation of the evidence upon which it stands. The student participates regularly in significant learning experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and field to develop skills in the areas of critical observation, sound experimentation, and data analysis. These endeavors provide insight into the behavior of the natural world and engage students in problem solving.
Students who successfully complete the Laboratory Science distribution requirement will be able to:
- generate hypotheses and/or theoretical models, make observations, collect data, and analyze and/or evaluate data within the context of the discipline;
- effectively communicate scientific results to others in written and/or oral presentations;
- solve discipline-specific problems pertaining to the study of the natural world.
E. Quantitative Literacy (2 credits)
The Quantitative Literacy requirement complements other distribution area requirements by ensuring participation in courses that require a broad exposure to problem-solving through the application of mathematical models, the development of basic quantitative intuition, and the ability to represent and interpret quantitative information. Courses in this category come from a variety of disciplines, but share the common goal of further developing basic quantitative reasoning ability, and the ability to understand, construct, and critique arguments founded on quantitative information. Courses used to meet the Quantitative Literacy requirement will not count toward other distribution course requirements.
Students who successfully complete the Quantitative Literacy distribution requirement will be able to:
- explain information represented in mathematical forms (e.g. equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words);
- convert relevant information into appropriate mathematical forms (e.g. equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words);
- draw appropriate conclusions from quantitative data and information represented in mathematical forms.
F. History/Philosophy/Religion (2 credits)
Courses in History, Philosophy, and Religion require students to engage material culture and texts and to try to make sense of them. This requirement invites students to consider issues of meaning and purpose associated with individuals, texts, communities, cultures, or historical events. Courses in History, Philosophy and Religion develop in students the capacity to reflect on their own views in conversation with others’ arguments, values, lived practices, or systems of beliefs within and across cultures.
Students who successfully complete the History, Philosophy and Religion distribution requirement will be able to:
- explain, interpret and analyze texts, communities, or events, broadly conceived;
- compare and contrast historical moments, literary forms, texts, arguments or practices;
- understand, evaluate, or appreciate the value of alternative perspectives of others.
G. Global Citizenship, Justice, and Diversity (2 credits, which may also apply to another distribution requirement)
The Global Citizenship, Justice, and Diversity distribution requirement prepares students to participate in public life and to address shared concerns of their communities, whether those be institutional,
organizational, civic, local, national, or international. Through critical study of contemporary or historical strategies, structures, and/or contexts that promote justice and inclusion, students will be
prepared to act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely as engaged citizens. While courses that fulfill this requirement may have a range of disciplinary approaches, they share a common focus on
developing the judgment and compassion required of citizens living in a difficult and uncertain world.
Courses that count toward the Global Citizenship, Justice, and Diversity requirement meet at least three of the following student learning outcomes. Students will be able to:
- Recognize the relationships between and consequences of power and inequality in a variety of scientific, social, political, artistic, educational, and/or economic institutions.
- Articulate how race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and/or social class shape people’s lived experiences.
- Employ the tools and methods of inquiry that an academic discipline uses to investigate systems of power and oppression, and understand how the methods of inquiry in a given academic discipline can be harnessed to promote justice.
- Recognize and appreciate patterns of cultural difference and commonality within their own and other cultures to exercise empathy.
- Listen and communicate effectively across differences in ways that promote justice and inclusion.
- Shift perspectives through critical study or participation in order to understand how cultural patterns of behavior make sense within different contexts.
A major consists of a program of study defined by one or more academic departments or a committee of the faculty. The major may require up to nine (9) course credits and may additionally require collateral courses in allied fields. Standing majors are approved by the Academic Policy Committee, the Faculty, and the Board of Trustees, and the requirements are published in the Academic Bulletin. A student may also propose a self-designed Humanities and Fine Arts major in consultation with a supervising faculty committee appointed by the Division II chair. A student will normally declare his major during his sophomore year, but he may make changes by advising the Registrar’s Office as late as mid-semester of the fall semester of his senior year. Changes after that time may be made only by petition to the Curriculum Appeals Committee.
A minor consists of a program of study defined by one or more academic departments or a committee of the faculty. The minor may require no less than five (5) and up to eight (8) course credits and may additionally require collateral courses in allied fields. Standing minors are approved by the Academic Policy Committee, the Faculty, and the Board of Trustees, and the requirements are published in the Academic Bulletin. A student may propose a self-designed minor in consultation with his advisor and a supervising faculty committee. Programs of study for self-designed minors must be approved by the Academic Policy Committee. A student will normally declare his minor during his sophomore year, but he may make changes by advising the Registrar’s Office as late as mid-semester of the fall semester of his senior year. Changes after that time may be made only by petition to the Curriculum Appeals Committee.
VI. Minimum of 34 course credits and a 2.00 GPA
For graduation, students must pass a minimum of 34 course credits and earn at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average in all courses taken for credit and grade at Wabash College. No more than 11 course credits having the same three letter subject designation on the transcript may be counted toward the 34 required for graduation (i.e., a student completing 12 credits with a single subject designation will be required to complete a total of 35 course credits for graduation; 13 credits in a single subject designation will require completion of 36 course credits, etc.). In World Languages, courses numbered 101 and 102 shall not be included in the 11-course limit. At least 18 of these credits must have been successfully completed at Wabash College. With respect to this requirement, transfer credit earned in approved off-campus study or equivalency credit earned by Wabash examination will be counted as Wabash course credits (see Senior Requirements section).
VII. Comprehensive Examination
A. Senior Written Examination
Every student must pass a written comprehensive examination in his major field(s).
B. Senior Oral Examination
Every student must pass the senior oral examination. The examination committee will consist of one instructor from his major department, one from his minor department, and one from neither. The examination will be no more than 50 minutes in length and must be passed by the mid-semester of the second semester of the senior year. Adjustments to committee composition and/or length of exam time will be made for students with more than one major.
If a student falls to arrive at the regularly scheduled time of his senior oral examination, the committee chair will inform the Office of the Dean of the College. The missed exam will be treated as a failure and the student will be scheduled for an exam retake pending review of a potential petition to the Curriculum Appeals Committee. If the committee's review of a student appeal finds that the absence was not within the student's control, then the student's examination will be rescheduled and the student will not be deemed to have failed the senior oral examination.
A student who fails his comprehensive examination may retake the failed work once in the spring term. Should he fail in that effort, he may retake the comprehensive exam once in each subsequent academic year at the time of the regularly scheduled comprehensive exam. If a student fails the College-wide oral examination but passes the departmental examination, then he is required to retake only the College-wide oral examination, and vice versa. Departments will make and evaluate all departmental examinations. A student retaking an exam cannot receive a final grade higher than pass.