Oct 01, 2022  
2014-2015 Traditional Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2014-2015 Traditional Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Studies

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At Lakeland College, every faculty member, no matter his or her field, is a member of the Interdisciplinary Studies Division, and almost all Lakeland teachers participate in the courses of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. This is because, as its name implies, “Interdisciplinary Studies” stands as the most important part of our curriculum, unifying all the others. Simply put, it represents the College’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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Together, these requirements produce graduates who are able to communicate clearly, reason intelligently, and respond knowingly to issues and questions across academic disciplines. As a central component of Lakeland’s educational philosophy, the Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum is dedicated to the idea that all college students profit from having a broad foundation of academic skills and experiences, the capacity to comprehend and make connections among diverse perspectives, and the willingness to build on that foundation throughout their lives.

I. College Skills

Taken together, the College Skills requirements ensure that all Lakeland students have secure and enhanced abilities in writing, reading, and mathematics—skills that are needed not only to succeed in college coursework, but also to remain in highest demand by employers. These skill-based requirements come in three types (Fundamental, Rhetorical, and Quantitative), and placement in or exemption from these courses is primarily determined by ACT scores. All College Skills courses, however, help students develop undergraduate-level capabilities, all of which enhance their powers of thinking, reasoning, and understanding, both inside and outside their majors.

A. Fundamental Skills (“Workshops”)

The Fundamental Skills requirements were designed to ensure that all Lakeland students possess the foundational abilities required for academic and professional success. Placement in these “workshop” courses is determined primarily through ACT benchmarks:


No more than six semester hours of Fundamental Skills courses may be applied toward the completion of a Lakeland degree. All courses, however, contribute to a student’s full- or part-time status.

B. Rhetorical Skills

Lakeland’s written communication sequence develops and reinforces students’ capacity for writing clearly, coherently, and correctly, while enhancing students’ abilities to use writing as a tool for thinking and analysis. Lakeland’s Rhetorical Skills requirement includes the following:

C. Quantitative Skills

Lakeland students develop quantitative literacy through courses designed to establish basic mathematical and statistical reasoning, allowing students to think about their world and themselves through a numerical lens. To complete this requirement, students must earn an ACT mathematics score of 24 or above or pass one of the following courses:

II. Distributional Studies

As our mission Statement indicates, Lakeland College and its curriculum are rooted deeply in the liberal arts tradition. At Lakeland, we believe a college education should not just prepare students for a specific job or field of study, but should encourage all students to explore the breadth of human achievement and inquiry. Lakeland’s Distributional Studies requirement facilitates that kind of exploration by leading students through areas of knowledge associated with the traditional liberal arts and exposing them to each area’s essential modes and methods of thought.

Taken together, these distinct disciplinary perspectives offer new ways of seeing and understanding the world. These “ways of seeing” help students to appreciate the ways in which culture and language, history and society, nature and numbers, art and ideas all interact in their lives—ultimately enhancing each student’s particular path of learning.

To complete this requirement, students must take at least three semester hours of coursework within any seven of the following eight categories. Although listed course prerequisites still apply, all courses with the parenthetical program designations are acceptable unless specifically excluded below:

Note: Distributional Studies requirements differ for Education majors.

  • Art, Music, and Theatre (ART, MUS, THE)
  • History and Political Science (HIS, POL)
  • Literature and Writing (ENG, WRT)
    (Excluded courses: WRT 110 ; WRT 210 )
  • Mathematics (MAT)
    (Excluded courses: MAT 130 ; MAT 150 )
  • Natural Sciences (BIO, CHM, PHY)
  • Philosophy and Religion (PHI, REL)
  • Social Sciences (ANT, CRJ, ECN, SOC, PSY)
    (Excluded course: SOCP 335 )
  • World Languages (CHI, GER, JPS, SPA)

Distributional Studies Requirements for Education Majors

  • Art, Music, and Theatre (ART, MUS, THE)
    Early Childhood through Middle Childhood Education majors and Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence Education majors should select ARTE 312  and MUSE 317 .
  • History and Political Science (HIS, POL)
    Education majors must select two courses: HIS 111  or HIS 112  and POL 221  or POL 231 . Early Childhood Education majors and Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence Education majors must also take HIS 101  or HIS 102 . Early Adolescence through Adolescence Education majors must also take HIS 101 , HIS 102 , HIS 211 , HIS 232  or HIS 247 .
  • Literature and Writing (ENG, WRT)
    (Excluded courses: WRT 110 ; WRT 210 )
    Education majors must take one of the following: ENG 200 , ENG 211 , ENG 212 , ENG 220 , or ENG 225 .
  • Mathematics (MAT)
    (Excluded courses: MAT 130 ; MAT 150 )
    Early Childhood through Middle Childhood Education majors and Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence Education majors should select MAT 210 .
    Early Adolescence through Adolescence Education majors must select MAT 162 , MAT 220 , MAT 230 , MAT 231  or MAT 250 .
  • Natural Sciences (BIO, CHM, PHY)
    Education majors must select two courses, one Biological Science (BIO 100 , BIO 101 , BIO 110 , BIO 111 ) and one Physical Science (CHM 100 , CHM 131 , CHM 200 , PHY 100 , PHY 200 , PHY 251 ).
  • Social Sciences (ANT, CRJ, ECN, SOC, PSY)
    (Excluded course: SOCP 335 )
    Education majors must take EDUP 230  . Early Childhood and Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence Education majors must also take ANT 223 .

Education majors must also take a minimum of three (3) semester hours from one of the following categories:

Philosophy and Religion (PHI, REL)
World Languages (CHI, GER, JPS, SPA)

Education Majors must also complete one of the following:

III. The Critical Thinking Core Sequence

Just as the Distributional Studies requirements are designed to expose students to multiple perspectives on knowledge and the world, Lakeland’s Critical Thinking Core Sequence reunites those perspectives within a single series of classes, offered throughout a student’s career. These Core courses are small, seminar-style offerings built around a common issue or class theme. Unlike courses housed within academic departments, however, Core courses are explicitly interdisciplinary, including readings and discussions that are informed by multiple fields of inquiry.

The Lakeland Critical Thinking Core Sequence uses these interdisciplinary courses, designed and taught by faculty members across our various divisions and programs, in order to:

  • develop methods of critical thinking;
  • encourage thoughtful interaction among students and their teachers;
  • integrate various disciplinary points of view; and
  • examine personal, social, and civic values.

Across four integrated classes, students hone these critical thinking, communicative, and analytical skills at increasing levels of sophistication and on progressively complex topics, beginning with notions of the self, moving out into timeless questions of human existence and, finally, engaging topics of current global relevance.

A. Core IA: Knowing the Self

GEN 130 - Core IA: Knowing the Self  takes the multiple perspectives built into Lakeland’s Distributional Studies requirement (see above) and uses them to help students think about a vital and personal topic: the self. Through readings and experiences in science and sociology, art and religion, and other disciplinary points of view, students explore questions of identity and ways of envisioning who “we” are. Taught by each student’s first-year academic advisor, Core IA also introduces class members to Lakeland’s Interdisciplinary Studies philosophy and the College’s curriculum at large. This approach develops new students’ critical thinking skills, inviting them to articulate and refine a personal self-concept orally and in writing. A discussion-based format invites students to summarize their discoveries and to explore and interact respectfully with alternate points of view.

B. Core IB: Self and Community (2 semester hours)

GEN 131 - Core IB: Self and Community (2 semester hours) , as its name indicates, builds upon the goals and objectives of its predecessor. In this second term of the Core Sequence, students remain with their Core IA teacher and classmates, but take their ideas of selfhood one step further-out into their classroom, campus, and regional communities. Their ability to appreciate and articulate multiple perspectives is sharpened through collaborative planning and problem-solving activities that culminate in service learning projects and shared cultural experiences.

C. Core II: Exploring the Human Condition

This sophomore-level course takes the questions, perspectives, and critical-thinking skills of Core I and expands their historical and cultural range, examining persistent questions about the human condition. By focusing on a single “central theme,” students note how such topics have been addressed and readdressed throughout history, across cultures, and within different fields of knowledge. Class discussions and presentations develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills by exploring effective strategies for argumentation, evaluating evidence, and comparing and contrasting points of view.

D. Core III: Shaping the Future

The Critical Thinking Core Sequence’s final level asks upper-level students to apply their understanding of individuals and the human condition to a contemporary societal problem. If Core I looks at the present and Core II builds on resources from the past, then Core III looks to the future, using current events and cross-cultural challenges as a springboard for discussing the costs and benefits of potential policies, decisions, and choices. As a “writing-intensive” (WI) course, these sections of Core build on the skills developed earlier in the Critical Thinking Core Sequence, focus on the ability to research and revise one’s ideas, and require students to explore and communicate ethical proposals for change. Lessons and concepts are grounded through service in the local community.


Most Lakeland students are required to complete all levels of the Critical Thinking Core Sequence. Intermediate and upper-level transfer students, however, are exempt from some Core requirements. Students entering with 30-89 semester hours in transfer credit must complete a Core II and a Core III course, while students entering with 90 or more semester hours in transfer are only required to complete a Core III course.

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