The Bradley Core Curriculum emphasizes eight “Areas of Inquiry” that will more deeply engage students in the process of intellectual growth.
Bradley graduates will be effective verbal and written communicators. Bradley graduates, as creative and critical thinkers, will communicate effectively in their personal and professional lives. Writing and reading are essential skills that must be continually strengthened. Oral communication is similarly critical to effective formal and informal interaction. Effective communication is vital to ethical and sustainable societies.
In the Communication Area of Inquiry, students must select one course that focuses on Oral Communication (OC) and two courses that focus on Writing (W1 and W2). Students are encouraged to take the OC and W1 courses during their first year and the W2 course no later than their junior year.
Bradley graduates will understand and appreciate the arts as a vital human experience interwoven with other humanistic disciplines. The fine arts span the entirety of human history, influencing, reflecting and documenting profound experiences of individuals and cultures. Their dynamic evolution necessitates an understanding of how classical foundations inform modern expression. Informed aesthetic judgments contribute to the creation of dynamic living and working environments and new media and technologies. Through knowledge and experience of aesthetic principles, Bradley graduates will gain a deeper understanding of themselves and an appreciation for the socioeconomic impact of the arts and design.
Bradley graduates will enhance their global perspectives by becoming knowledgeable about global systems, the forces that shape those systems and cultures of the world. Communication technologies, economic relationships and the flow of people across national borders have created an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Yet, having grown up in a time when one country has demonstrated unprecedented political, economic and cultural influence around the globe, students can have a difficult time understanding how other cultures and societies are distinct from one’s own or how others might take a negative or confrontational view of one’s own culture or society. For these reasons, a well-developed global perspective that includes understanding of the human and natural systems that shape our individual and common futures and the diverse peoples of the world is essential for life in the 21st century.
In the Global Perspectives Area of Inquiry students may select courses that focus on either global systems or world cultures. Students who complete two courses in this Area of Inquiry are strongly recommended to select both a global systems course and a world cultures course. Not only are global systems and world cultures complementary components of a comprehensive global perspective, but also completion of both types of courses furthers the general education goal of increasing each student’s breadth of knowledge.
Bradley graduates will understand global systems — the political, economic, social, technological and ecological interconnectedness of our current global society. They will also understand the forces shaping these systems and the relevance of these systems for their local and national communities. This knowledge is essential for participating effectively in the interactions that characterize an interdependent world.
Bradley graduates will study and analyze various contemporary world cultures, including their historical development, institutions, values, art and religion. Knowledge of multiple cultural perspectives introduces alternate ways of thinking and strengthens one’s ability to relate to others. The understanding of diverse cultures is essential for engaging productively in our globalized society and contributing to the welfare of humanity. An important goal is to have students experience other cultures and to use what they learn about others’ experiences to reflect critically on their own ways of understanding the world.
Study Abroad: The World Cultures component of Global Perspectives can be satisfied by either completing an approved World Cultures course or by completing a full academic semester (12 hours minimum) or year abroad. While many students completing a full semester study abroad program will take courses that qualify as World Cultures courses this is not required. Because a full academic semester abroad comprises a significant cultural experience, it will satisfy the World Cultures requirement without additional course work
Bradley graduates will think reflectively about the human condition, understand the forces that have shaped human history and ponder perennial ethical, religious and existential issues. Study of the humanities is fundamental to leading an informed and reflective life, which contributes directly to students’ present and future lives as civically engaged, critically thoughtful, aesthetically cultured and ethically minded individuals.
The Humanities Area of Inquiry seeks to uniquely address Lydia Moss Bradley’s commitment to ethical learning through a critical examination of values. The study of values focuses on intellectual justifications of the aims, goals and ideals that guide human conduct. The humanities, through the study of history, literature, philosophy and religious studies, help students to better understand themselves, their communities, nations and the world through the focal lens of the human experience.
The Humanities Areas of Inquiry is one in which students have the option of completing one or two courses. Humanities faculty strongly recommend that students taking two courses in Humanities select courses from two different subjects — history, literature, philosophy or religion.
Bradley graduates will develop scientific reasoning skills supported by an integrated knowledge of the natural sciences to interpret technical information with the sophistication necessary to be contributing members of a knowledge-based society. Curiosity about the natural world and recognition of the rapidly expanding body of scientific information are essential to success and fulfillment in contemporary society.
Bradley graduates, as constructive and responsible members of society, will understand themselves in relation to others and to social institutions. Essential to this relationship is an understanding of the economic, political, psychological and social dynamics that shape contemporary society. Individuals equipped with methods of inquiry and analysis in the social and behavioral sciences, an understanding of how social forces interact and a foundation in ethics can participate effectively and ethically in political processes, markets and social institutions at local, national and global levels.
Bradley graduates will understand the value of integrating knowledge, skills and approaches to inquiry across disciplinary boundaries. The Bradley Core Curriculum exposes students to different disciplinary perspectives and ways of knowing, but students must also see the connections between the existing bodies of human knowledge and schools of thought and be able to integrate them. The practical demands of employment and research in a dynamic, diverse, specializing and globalizing world point to the importance of experience with multidisciplinary problem-solving and teamwork. More importantly, complex problems in modern society require the integration of knowledge and techniques from multiple disciplines.
Courses that promote critical thinking and problem-solving across multiple disciplines can take a variety of forms, ranging from a critical exploration of a broad theme from multiple perspectives to a multidisciplinary capstone course. Examples of best practices for pedagogy in this category include but are not limited to the following:
Bradley graduates will understand and effectively engage in formal reasoning and applied quantitative reasoning. The ability to reason logically is essential for success in society and provides opportunities for intellectual fulfillment. Experience with formal reasoning helps students develop as critical thinkers who approach their choices and actions with careful thought. In today’s data-drenched society, substantial quantitative reasoning skills are increasingly necessary for an educated member of society. In order to act effectively as citizens, students must be familiar with how quantitative information and methods are properly used when making persuasive arguments.