Nov 15, 2018  
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Liberal Studies Curriculum

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Goals of a Saint Michael’s College Education

Saint Michael’s College embodies the tradition of a liberal arts education in light of the Catholic faith, which emphasizes a concern with ultimate questions within a diverse world, and an attention to the full human and spiritual development of the student. A Saint Michael’s education, consisting of at least one major, the Liberal Studies Curriculum, elective courses, and co-curricular activities, equips students with the ability to express their thoughts with clarity and accuracy, enables them to test the validity of different approaches to reality, and assists them in framing coherent and persuasive discourse.  It prepares them for global citizenship, stewardship of the earth, and a productive career. An individual’s education is not completed in four years, but lasts a lifetime; therefore our curriculum is designed to graduate students with a passion for the intellectual life, a commitment to moral responsibility, and a desire to improve the human condition through socially conscious citizenship. 

Enduring Understandings

Graduates will understand:

  1. The value of intellectual inquiry and the search for truth as a life-long habit 
  2. The varieties of knowledge, perspectives, traditions, and experiences of the human condition
  3. The worthiness of imaginative and creative exploration
  4. The power of ideas to shape the worlds in which they live
  5. The responsibility of each person to contribute to the common good
  6. The value of communities characterized by freedom, social justice, mutual respect, and inclusion
  7. The need to relate responsibly to the natural world and develop habits for sustainable living
  8. The imperative to act ethically and to be morally responsible and civically engaged
  9. The significance and impact of globalization on every facet of society.

Outcomes of the General Education Curriculum

A Saint Michael’s liberal arts education is transformative in many ways, providing the following essential outcomes.

Areas of Knowledge

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  1. The ways artists, writers, and thinkers from the past and present, in both one’s own culture and others, have found and created meaning, value, conflict, and beauty in the world
  2. Texts and beliefs that shape the Catholic and wider Christian traditions, and the importance of religion and spirituality in human experience
  3. Key concepts and theories underlying different modes of thought as well as the assumptions on which they are based
  4. The ways that societies have developed through complex socio-economic, religious, political, cultural, or other factors
  5. The physical and natural world and modes of inquiry utilized by the sciences
  6. Theories that explain human behavior, institutions, or social systems
  7. Methods, approaches, and tools for making ethical decisions in personal, professional and social contexts
  8. Global issues that impact the common good.

Intellectual and Practical Skills

Students will be able to:

  1. Think critically, analytically, and creatively, integrating demanding texts and other media within and across disciplines
  2. Communicate ideas clearly and effectively in oral and in written form
  3. Use quantitative reasoning to evaluate and solve problems
  4. Demonstrate skill in a second language
  5. Engage in artistic expression
  6. Conduct research by identifying, evaluating, documenting, and synthesizing information from diverse and reliable sources
  7. Work collaboratively as a member of a team to advance the understanding of a topic or to solve problems
  8. Critically reflect upon their personal and cultural assumptions and examine how these affect their values and behavior
  9. Participate intelligently and respectfully in written and spoken discourse with people of similar and differing beliefs.

Liberal Studies Curriculum

The specific minimum requirements of the Liberal Studies Curriculum (LSC) are:

First Year Seminar (one course)

Foundations in Faith, Values, and Thought:

Fundamental Philosophical Questions (one course)

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought (two courses)

Ethical Decision-Making (fulfilled by a course(s) in the major; every major is designed to fulfill this automatically)

Pathways to Understanding the World:

Global Issues that Impact the Common Good (one course)

Historical Studies (one course)

Literary Studies (one course)

Processes of Scientific Reasoning (one course)

Quantitative Reasoning (one course)

Second Language (zero to two courses depending on placement)

Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior (one course)

Participatory Learning and Competencies:

Artistic Experience (one half-course or full course)

Experiential Learning (internship, qualifying Service-Learning courses, Faculty-Student Research, Study Abroad or designated co-curricular experiences; may not be fulfilled in the first year of college studies)

Oral Communication (included throughout the curriculum; each major is designed so that the student fulfills this requirement automatically)

Written Communication (included in courses throughout the curriculum, especially in First Year Seminars and in at least one designated course in each major)

At Saint Michael’s, all students must demonstrate entry-level writing proficiency, which we define as the ability to write a short essay with a well-argued point, logical organization, and a minimum of surface errors that interfere with comprehension. This requirement is ordinarily met by demonstration during the First-Year Seminar. Students who do not meet the requirement there are strongly encouraged to take EN 101: College Writing, and to work with a coach in the College’s Writing Center.For further information contact Tim Mackin coordinator, at 802-654-2452

List of LSC courses by category:

First Year Seminar:


Fundamental Philosophical Questions:


Study of Christian Traditions and Thought:
   First course:


  Second course:


Global Issues that Impact the Common Good:


Historical Studies:


Literary Studies:


Processes of Scientific Reasoning:


Quantitative Reasoning:


Second Language:

All students are required to achieve the low-intermediate level of a second-language in order to graduate from the College. 

Fulfillment of this second language requirement may be demonstrated by:

a) placing above the second-semester language course level on the college’s language test;
b) passing a second semester language course level at Saint Michael’s College;
c) passing a second semester language course level at another institution (the course has to be pre-approved); 
d) passing an Advanced Placement test offered by the College Board with a score of three or higher (four or higher for Latin);
e) passing an SAT II language test at the level specified by the College for that language;
f) submitting a record showing that the student received at least partial secondary education outside the United States in a language other than English 

Students who choose option a), b), or c) and studied Spanish or French in high school or learned it at home and want to continue these languages at SMC will be asked to take an on-line language placement test at home early in the summer.  Then, during a summer registration day, students will take the written portion of this language placement test. 

All other students who want to take a test in a language other than Spanish or French and want to continue the same language and want to choose a), b), or c) will take a different placement test during a summer registration day.  Further information on the second language requirement is available from the program’s coordinator, Hideko Furukawa, at 802-654-2760.


Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior:


Artistic Experience:



Experiential Learning:

Like some other requirements in the Liberal Studies Curriculum, Experiential Learning is not necessarily a separate course, but is an opportunity for students to develop their thinking and skills through activities outside the classroom. This requirement may be fulfilled through credit-bearing or non-credit bearing experiences that enhance student learning through practical application of concepts learned in the liberal studies curriculum, the major or co-curricular activities.  For general information on how to pursue an experiential learning opportunity, students will find the contact information listed below in each area. Once students have identified their area of experiential learning, they will work with a specific staff or faculty mentor who will verify for the registrar that the EL requirement has been fulfilled.  Generally, the experiences listed below fulfill the EL requirement, though some require specified levels of engagement or achievement.

Internships and Practicums

Academic Internships and Practicum Courses
Academic internships and practicum courses relate to the student’s academic curriculum and/or career goals, are credit bearing, and fall under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. Contact: Joanne LaBrake-Muehlberger, Director of Internships.

Non Credit-Bearing Internships
Off-campus internships completed without direct supervision or mentorship of someone at the College will be treated essentially as a Co-Curricular Individualized Learning experience (see below). Contact: Joanne LaBrake-Muehlberger, Director of Internships

Student Teaching
Student Teaching is coordinated through the Education department and thus applicable to Education Majors and those pursuing Licensure. Contact: Professor Mary Beth Doyle, Education Department Chair

Writing Center Coaching
Students are nominated and then selected to take a course that qualifies them to become coaches at the college’s writing center.  Contact: Tim Mackin, Director of the Writing Center

The Defender
The Defender is the student designed and produced campus newspaper. Certain positions related to the Defender are designed to meet the Experiential Learning requirement. Contact: Associate Professor Traci Griffith, Department of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts Chair

Study Abroad/Study Away

Study abroad for a semester, a year, the summer or for shorter study away opportunities, including study trips led by Saint Michael’s faculty. Contact: Peggy Imai, Director of Study Abroad

Extended Service Trips
The College’s M.O.V.E program offers students the chance to work among some of the world’s most destitute peoples through International Extended Service Trips. Contact: Heidi St. Peter, Director of M.O.V.E.

Undergraduate Research

Independent research with faculty
Students and faculty work together; leading to publication and/or presentations at academic conferences. Projects may be for credit or not-for-credit, and involve individual research with a faculty member, either during the academic year or the summer.

Summer research funded by an External Agency
Summer research either at Saint Michael’s College, at a research university, or at a national laboratory, with funding provided by an external agency at the state, regional or national level. Examples of research opportunities include:

Vermont EPSCoR’s summer internship program
National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates
NASA VT EPSCoR Summer Research
US Department of Energy National Undergraduate Fellowship

Contact: Faculty members in your area of study

Summer research funded by Saint Michael’s College
Vice President for Academic Affairs Research Grants for directed summer research on campus. All academic fields, including Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences are eligible. Contact: Office of the VPAA

Summer research through the Center for Social Science Research
Research fellowships are available to students who wish to pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. These projects are funded and include a stipend of up to $3,700 for students working full time on a project for at least two months in the summer. Contact: Professor Herbert Kessel, Department of Economics.


Community Engaged Learning
A number of courses at Saint Michael’s have a Community-Engaged Learning component, including local, domestic and international learning opportunities.  In many of these courses, the Community-Engaged component is significant enough to fulfill the Experiential Learning requirement.  These courses are designated as such in the catalog. First-year seminars may not be used to fulfill the EL requirement.   Contact: Joan Wagner, Director of Community Engaged Learning

Community Service
Community service engages students in activities that primarily focus on freely providing time, talent, and energy to address human and community needs.  As students participate in activities designed to build community and respect the value and dignity of all, they come face-to-face with complex societal issues and their role in creating a more just world. Opportunities for formal learning may arise through orientation, training, and reflection activities provided by MOVE or a partnering organization. Designated levels of activity in community service qualify to fulfill the EL requirement. Contact:  Heidi St. Peter, Director of M.O.V.E.

Leadership Development

Students at Saint Michael’s will find a wide array of opportunities to develop a broad view of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves through co-curricular Leadership Development in a variety of programs on campus. Achieving specified leadership levels in the co-curricular areas listed below fulfills the EL requirement.  For information on these opportunities contact the following:

Edmundite Campus Ministry: Anna Lester
Fire and Rescue Program: Peter Soons
Intercollegiate Athletics: Zaf Bludevich
Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts: Heidi St. Peter
Onion River Review: Prof. Will Marquess
Orientation Leadership and Student Association: Grace Kelly
Residence Life: Lou Dimasi
Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC
Wilderness Program: Todd Wright

Individualized Learning

Individualized learning is a monitored work or service experience (internship or community service project, for example) that relates to the student’s academic curriculum and/or career goals but does not carry academic credit.  It may satisfy the Experiential Learning Requirement and is customized by and for students.  Examples of individualized experiences for students include off-campus work experiences, service related projects and on-campus experiences that are not under the auspices of programs listed above.

Students selecting this option for completing the Experiential Learning Requirement will coordinate with a faculty or staff mentor. Together with the mentor, learning objectives, assignments and job responsibilities generally will be identified in advance.  While assignments will be customized to fit the individual needs of the student, typical assignments may include: journals, analysis papers, reflection papers and/or supervisor’s evaluation.  When all work is completed, the mentor notifies the Registrar’s Office. Guidelines for Individualized Learning will be available to mentors and students.

For more information on pursuing individualized learning, the student should first consult with his or her academic advisor, and then contact Joan Wagner if there are further questions.





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