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Liberal Education Program (LEP)

What do you need to be successful in today's society, and in the future? What does it take to become an engaged citizen in the world?

These are big questions, but they are the kinds of questions you will begin to think about as you embark upon your college experience.

LEP logo

We know the world through words, numbers, sound, and images. We need to be able to think critically about them, and to understand the new technologies that bring them to us. Without these tools -- critical thinking and a grasp of technology -- we can't be competitive in today's workplace. 

With students' needs in mind, the faculty at Southern Connecticut State University has developed a new curriculum that will prepare SCSU undergraduates for the 21st century. The Liberal Education Program, or LEP, will be required for all students entering the university in fall 2011. Building on what you've learned in school so far, the LEP will take you where you need to go to be successful as a college student and beyond.

How Does the LEP Relate to the Major?

Students need a wide and deep foundation upon which to build a more specialized major. In today's world, it's especially important that we're prepared in broad and rich ways in order to make a life as well as make a living. The LEP complements the major and establishes the importance of a balanced education for making a living and making a life in a constantly changing world.

The LEP is sequential, based on building blocks known as Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. Here's how it works:

Tier 1

Academic expectations are different in college than they are in high school. Tier 1 builds a college-level foundation so that you have the skills you need to succeed in your university courses. In your Tier 1 courses, you'll strengthen your quantitative and literacy skills -- skills you will need in any career you choose to pursue.

Tier 2

Areas of knowledge prepare students for active citizenry and serve as the basis for lifelong learning. Tier 2 courses continue to develop and reinforce the skills introduced in Tier 1. 

Tier 3

The LEP Capstone Seminar integrates your skills (Tier 1) and areas of knowledge and experience (Tier 2) with discussions of values. It addresses both the role of values in decision-making and relationships among the values. Particular focus is on a substantial contemporary issue and how values inform one's perspective on the issue. The course emphasizes all of the skills you've acquired, but especially critical thinking with analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The LEP seminar allows students to integrate their liberal education learning experiences and may involve a community or service component.

Why a Liberal Education Program?

Southern is not unique in developing a Liberal Education Program for its students -- many forward-thinking universities in the United States are creating similar programs as they consider what their students will need to succeed after graduation.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) sees liberal education as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of value, ethics, and civic engagement."

Southern believes that such an education can be transformative and empowering as well as practical. A curriculum based on this philosophy is a curriculum for a new generation!