At Lakeland University, every faculty member, no matter his or her field, is a member of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, and almost all Lakeland traditional undergraduate teachers participate in the courses of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. This is because, as its name implies, “Interdisciplinary Studies” stands at the center of our curricula, unifying all the others. Simply put, it represents the University’s and its faculty members’ dedication to our school’s liberal arts tradition.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Program comprises those parts of the curriculum that are required of all Lakeland graduates—the classes and course sequences that one must complete regardless of one’s major. These common courses and requirements reflect Lakeland’s commitment to providing students (1) with the foundational skills they need to succeed in college and beyond, (2) with experiences across a breadth of fields and areas of learning, and (3) with the ability to think critically and to bring those forms of knowledge to bear on issues within their chosen programs, the larger community, and their own lives.
To accomplish its goals, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program includes three distinct kinds of coursework and sets of requirements, each of which is detailed below:
- College Skills. These courses prepare students for college work, establishing the essential communicative and quantitative skills that will serve them throughout and beyond their undergraduate careers.
- Distributional Studies. These requirements expand students’ intellectual horizons, exposing them to multiple areas of study, to styles of thinking and exploration that span the curriculum, and thus to diverse perspectives on the world and their place in it.
- The Critical Thinking Core Sequence. This series of courses brings focused skills and breadth of inquiry into a single classroom, with classes specially designed to foster critical thinking and help students both to appreciate and to utilize multiple points of view.
Having a broad foundation of academic skills and experiences, the capacity to comprehend and make connections among diverse perspectives, and a willingness to build on that foundation throughout their lives – these are the central component of Lakeland’s educational philosophy, and they are beneficial to all college students. As such, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program’s requirements produce graduates who are able to:
- Write clear, coherent, and correct prose.
- Use writing as a tool for thinking and analysis.
- Adapt general writing skills and knowledge to various contexts.
- Perform basic mathematical and statistical functions.
- Evaluate different types of information.
- Examine problems from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
- Make decisions in an evidence-based fashion.
- Demonstrate knowledge of multiple academic disciplines.