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Interconnecting Perspectives

 

Writing-Enhanced Courses | Interdisciplinary, Writing-Enhanced Junior Seminar
Intercultural | Foreign Language | Freshman Program

The projected outcomes of students' skills, habits, and attitudes, while distinguishable, are not separable; they blend together to produce the ability to write well and think critically. Cognition, writing process, and the written product interact and mutually reinforce one another.

As a result of Writing-Enhanced Courses, students will:
Cognition
  • use writing as a mode of learning as well as a method of communicating what was learned;
  • be able to generate, organize, and communicate information and ideas fully, clearly, and cogently;
  • exhibit critical thinking such as the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and reflect;
  • show audience awareness;

 

Process
  • engage in deep revision, closely examining and further developing the reasoning in the writing;
  • assess their own writing to uncover strengths and concerns, and be able to generate strategies for improvement;
  • solicit external critiques of their writing to guide revision;
  • as a regular habit of their writing process, copy-edit their own work for mechanics, style, and coherence;

 

Product
  • be able to write clear, coherent, and well organized prose for a targeted audience;
  • demonstrate a command of syntax, style, and tone appropriate to the task; and
  • exhibit mastery of punctuation, usage, and formatting conventions.

 


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"Education must prepare one for life in a complex world in which critical ideas, issues, and decisions require more than a single mode of inquiry or knowledge base. Increasingly, educated citizens must simultaneously apply a range of understandings, skills, and attitudes. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a lifelong learner is the ability to draw upon the diversity of one's education in addressing new situations." (Liberal Studies Program Proposal, 7)

Interdisciplinary study should offer a model of how connections can be made. It should expose students to multiple ways of thinking about issues, problems, and concepts. It should enable the simultaneous use of multiple modes of inquiry and demonstrate that their source of power is synergistic rather than additive. It should help students construct their own mental frameworks of retrievable knowledge. And it should make possible an evaluation of competing and complementary ways of knowing.

Upon completion of the Interdisciplinary, Writing-Enhanced Junior Seminar, students will have engaged:

  • intersections or tensions between two or more academic disciplines with respect to applied methods or tools of inquiry; or
  •  investigation of ways in which a given topic or concept may be understood and questioned by two or more different disciplines within a larger civic, cultural, or professional context; or
  • consideration of a problem in the student's "home" or major discipline via the lens of another discipline's perspectives;
  • and will have demonstrated:
  • knowledge of, and reflection on, how advanced-level content from two or more disciplines interacts; and
  • integrated analysis and reflection informed by approaches or methods from two or more disciplines.

 


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(Approved March 30, 2006)

An intercultural perspective is more than the observation of cultural differences or a celebration of ‘exotic’ food and clothing styles.  Rather, a meaningful intercultural perspective arises from direct experiences with cultural diversity and cultural interactions.  In a rapidly changing world, understanding cultural differences is important in fostering a perspective of global concern and acceptance of a range of cultural responses.  We learn to thrive in diverse work and living environments.  Our lives are enriched by the presence of diverse people and ideas.  We become aware of the political and social significance of cultural differences.  The exchange of ideas becomes multifaceted and complex when two or more cultural perspectives are engaged.  A student who has successfully completed the intercultural perspective should be prepared to approach intercultural interactions with awareness and attentiveness. 

Coursework and study abroad experiences can foster a student’s intercultural perspective, as can service learning, internships, and other intensive experiences designed to create an environment for intercultural interaction. 

Students completing the Intercultural Perspective requirement will:

  • have a greater knowledge and appreciation of cultural diversity through the study of other cultures, as well as their own.
  • be critical and self-reflective, developing an understanding of how culture influences behavior, and in turn, how cultural differences impact intercultural interactions.
  • have an awareness of the political and social aspects of culture and cultural diversity, and an awareness that intercultural consideration allows one to transcend (but not erase) cultural and ethnic differences.

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(Approved March 30, 2006)

The study of a foreign language opens the door to a new world of understanding of people, customs, literature, history and information, and is, therefore, a crucial element of the liberal arts.  The ability to use a foreign language and to understand the culture of its speakers will serve students well as they confront a world increasingly aware of its interdependency.  Students who complete the foreign language requirement of completion of the *second semester of an elementary language sequence will:           

  1. achieve a command of certain basic grammatical structures,
  2. establish a minimal working vocabulary,
  3. develop initial pronunciation skills,
  4. acquire limited listening and conversational skills,
  5. develop the ability to read basic texts and to write simple sentences,
  6. become familiar with some key aspects of the culture associated with the language and
  7. grow in their understanding of English through comparison with another language.
  8. Students who have achieved these outcomes will:
  9. be both well prepared and motivated to continue foreign language study.  Such study might include more advanced coursework in language, literature or culture; study of additional languages; study-abroad experiences, including internships; travel; or employment involving the languages and cultures studied.

 

*or a higher level if so placed.

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Each extended Freshman course will begin with an intensive Freshman Week Experience which provides a supportive environment for the student's academic and social transition to Truman.

By midterm of the first semester at Truman State University, each student will:

  • Understand the level of work expected of a Truman student. The student will have gained confidence and experience in how to achieve excellence in what one undertakes.
  • know campus procedures, campus facilities and services available to them (registration, advising, add/drop, portfolio, library, counseling, study skills, Writing Center, tutors, time management).
  • be encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities.
  • attend at least one cultural event.

 

By the end of the first semester, each student should:
  • know and practice study and time management skills necessary to succeed in classes at Truman.
  • know a group of peers who can support each other through academic and social situations.
  • develop a sense of belonging within the Truman community and will have established appropriate mentoring relationships with the faculty member such that the student is comfortable discussing career and educational topics beyond class-related material.
  • have increased understanding and appreciation of the characteristics of a liberal arts and sciences education.
  • Have increased familiarity with why and how the university assesses student learning.
  • have been given opportunities to develop their writing, speaking, and thinking skills.