The Core Curricular Framework

Clark University's Three Required Curricular Elements for Undergraduates

Clark's curricular framework has three required foundational elements (a first-year intensive, completion of the Program of Liberal Studies, and a major). In addition, students have the opportunity to explore a series of optional opportunities to enhance their undergraduate experience in specific ways. A description of the three required curricular components is as follows:

First-Year Intensives (FYI)

All students participate in a common experience called a First-Year Intensive (FYI) course. FYIs orient the student to the standards and mores of the university community. These courses are designed to help students develop core academic abilities such as critical thinking and analysis that will underwrite their success in later Clark courses. First Year Intensives are stimulating and challenging, and typically are limited to just 18 students. The professor who teaches each First-Year Intensive seminar also serves as academic adviser to the students until they declare a major. First Year Intensives initiate a student's Clark career with a set of close relationships with both a professor and a small group of students who share at least one intellectual interest.

First Year Intensives (FYI) Exemplars and Assessment Planning can be viewed by visiting the LEEP Exemplars page.

Program of Liberal Studies (PLS)

Through this program, students acquire the intellectual habits, skills and perspectives that are essential to liberal education while gaining opportunities to experience the ways of thinking and tools of investigation used by scholars and practitioners. The Program of Liberal Studies has two components:

  1. Critical Thinking Courses: While every course at the University involves work in critical thinking, two types of courses place special emphasis on the cultivation of these skills. Students take one course in each of these areas: Verbal Expression and Formal Analysis.
  2. Perspectives Courses: Perspectives courses offer breadth and introduce students to the different ways in which various disciplines or fields define thinking, learning and knowing. Each course must be taken in a different department: Aesthetics, Global Comparative, Historical, Language and Culture, Natural Scientific, Values.

PLS Assessment and Evaluation Planning: Clark’s Undergraduate Academic Board is currently looking into the FA requirement and is linking this work to the NSSE survey report.

The Major

Currently all departments are aligning their strategic plans for the undergraduate major around the LEEP Framework, including the five LEEP Learning Outcomes and are also creating assessment plans. In addition, through funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation a series of learning communities have been forming to augment and support this work through the development of tools, artifacts and other resources. These learning communities are also designing exemplars showing the diversity of ways majors are helping students meet the LEEP learning outcomes and the variety of ways departments are assessing and evaluating student learning. The Exemplar planning posters can be viewed by visiting the LEEP Exemplars page.