Program Highlights

The University Studies Program is educationally distinctive. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be changed. At Millikin we dare students to exceed their expectations and ours. We prepare students to meet the demands of the world with knowledge, skills, and values acquired through our Millikin Plan of Student Learning (MPSL) University Studies Program.

The University Studies Program is designed to challenge minds from the student’s very first week on campus and to transform lives throughout the education experience as students gain knowledge and expertise. The faculty who teach in the University Studies program celebrate the potential of every student who comes to be stimulated and transformed.

We offer students the opportunity to combine theory and practice and to acquire and perform their knowledge. By combining interdepartmental sequential requirements, which challenge students to develop ethical reasoning, reflection, and writing across disciplines, along with non-sequential requirements, which engage students in practicums and labs, we provide the performance opportunities that make a Millikin education distinctive.

Reflection, writing, and ethical reasoning guide students studies.  Through the integration of reflection throughout the University Studies curriculum, students explore and discover ways for developing a life of meaning and value.  As students practice and polish their ethical reasoning skills, they come to understand what it means to be a democratic citizen in a global environment.  Asking students to write across the University Studies curriculum, we foster confidence in their ability to write for professional success.

In the first year of study, we strategically provide each student with appropriate methods of inquiry and the support essential for academic success.  In the second and third years, we challenge students through advanced studies to continue developing the breadth of knowledge and skills that will help them lead productive professional and personal lives after graduation.  Throughout their learning experience in the University Studies Program, students build the confidence they need for successful performance in today’s global environment.

The MPSL Sequential Program

All Millikin students take a sequence of university studies courses designed to provide a challenging development through the first three years of study at Millikin. Three learning threads are introduced and developed through the sequential requirements: (1) ethical reasoning, (2) reflection, and (3) intensive writing. The sequential courses—IN140, IN150, IN151, IN250, IN251 and IN350—form a common learning experience for undergraduate students at Millikin. The first year courses emphasize ethical reasoning and academic inquiry along with related skills necessary for academic success, including critical writing, reading, research, and communication. In the second year all Millikin students take IN250 United States Cultural Studies and IN251 United States Structural Studies. Taught by faculty from across the disciplines, all students engage in ethical reasoning related to the study of the diversity of cultures, institutions, and social structures in the United States. In the third year, we challenge all Millikin students to examine global issues through IN350, which is taught by faculty from across the disciplines. The sequential university studies requirements deliberately challenge students to prepare for academic success, to understand our own country’s multicultural realities and to make connections to the international global society of the contemporary world.

IN140 - University Seminar
University Seminar is designed to bridge the gap between high school and college learning. One of the first courses that Millikin students take, IN140 Freshman Seminar, introduces freshman to academic inquiry. Students also make important connections with faculty members and other students, providing students with a stronger sense of community. Covering the breadth of the college experience, students examine orientation issues as well as strategies for academic success. They begin to question their assumptions and to practice communicating with diverse groups. The University Seminar classroom is intended to be a place of community, shared learning, and intellectual growth.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Use ethical reasoning to analyze and reflect on issues that impact their personal lives as well as their local, national, and/or global communities.
  2. Reflect on the significance of contributions to community through service learning.
  3. Work collaboratively and creatively with diverse others.

IN150/IN151 - Critical Reading, Writing, and Research I & II
Critical Reading, Writing and Research I, a cohort to University Seminar, more fully explores student entry into academic inquiry. Students examine the connection between critical reading and writing and the opportunities such an exploration creates for academic success. Spring semester students continue to grow their intellectual inquiry in Critical Reading, Writing and Research II. The class emphasizes vital skills for academic and professional success. Students investigate and research a topic of their choice.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Read critically to comprehend, analyze and evaluate texts;
  2. Write polished, informed essays for personal, public and/or specialized audiences;
  3. Conduct research to participate in academic inquiry; and
  4. Reflect formally on engagements with critical reading, writing, and research to acquire, examine, and present self-awareness about those engagements. 

IN250 - United States Cultural Studies
Sophomore year. United States Cultural Studies courses explore the diversity of cultures in the United States, including historical perspectives that inform contemporary understandings of diversity issues. “Culture” refers to learned systems of meanings, and their representations, that people use to interact with the world around them, including language, values, beliefs, norms, traditions, customs, history, art, and artifacts. Students will build on their introduction to ethical thinking by considering ethical and social justice issues and their responsibilities for democratic citizenship. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, scholarly research, music, artifacts, etc).

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Analyze diverse cultures in the United States through the use of discipline-appropriate sources.
  2. Use ethical reasoning to make a judgment about some aspect of the culture of the United States.
  3. Reflect on your responsibilities as a democratic citizen in the United States.

IN251 - United States Structural Studies
Sophomore year. United States Structural Studies courses explore the diversity of groups and institutions in the United States, including historical perspectives that inform contemporary understandings of diversity issues. “Social structures” refers to generally stable patterns of interactions, from the smallest units found in individual social relationships, through larger economic, political and social institutions in societies, to worldwide systems of relationships among nations. Students will build on their introduction to ethical thinking by considering ethical and social justice issues and their responsibilities for democratic citizenship. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, scholarly research, music, artifacts, etc).

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Analyze social structures within the United States through the use of discipline-appropriate sources.
  2. Use ethical reasoning to make a judgment about some aspect of the structure of the United States.
  3. Reflect on your responsibilities as a democratic citizen in the United States.

IN350 - Global Issues
Global Issues courses, taken during the junior year, explore a topic of global importance. Students will continue to develop their understanding of democratic citizenship with an intense focus on a particular issue of global importance and associated ethical and social justice issues. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, music, artifacts, etc.).

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Analyze a topic of global importance through the use of discipline-appropriate sources.
  2. Use ethical reasoning to make a judgment about some aspect of a global issue.
  3. Reflect on your responsibilities as a democratic citizen in a global environment.

The MPSL Non-Sequential Program

Non-sequential university studies requirements may be taken by students any time throughout their undergraduate experience at Millikin. These requirements insure a breadth of learning from a variety of academic disciplines and approaches to inquiry, including (1) a quantitative reasoning course, (2) a fine arts course, (3) a natural science with a laboratory experience, (4) an oral communication studies course, and (5) international cultures and structure studies. Through course advising, students can select and shape the direction of these non-sequential university studies requirements to complement and supplement learning opportunities in their majors.

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement
Quantitative reasoning courses teach students how to utilize qualitative and quantitative reasoning and the scientific method as tools in decision making and creative problem solving. This requirement may be fulfilled with any three or four credit math course numbered above 106. In addition, Philosophy 213 (Critical Thinking: Logic) and Sociology/Psychology 201 (Statistical Methods in the Behavioral Sciences) will fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Natural Science Requirement
Natural Sciences courses are designed to advance experimental and theoretical learning. Students have a vast range of courses to match their intellectual interests. Explore the exciting world of chemistry, both in and outside the classroom.  Take astronomy and learn about the the principles underlying the diversity of astronomical objects. Biology courses offer students the living world as their classroom. The Natural Science requirement is recommended within the first three years at Millikin.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Use logic and the scientific method to analyze the natural world and solve problems.
  2. Analyze issues in science which are important both personally and globally.
  3. Connect theories and descriptions found in lectures and textbooks with real-world phenomena utilizing appropriate technology in laboratory and field environments.

Fine Arts Requirement
In fine arts courses students appreciate the intellectual and aesthetic contributions that the visual, dramatic, and/or performing arts make to their ability to understand themselves and others and to their capacity to enjoy their own and others’ creative processes and products. Students develop an understanding of themselves and the ability to reflect on and express their thoughts and feelings responsibly. This non-sequential requirement can be met with any fine arts course that blends experiential, theoretical, and reflective approaches.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Demonstrate engagement in the creative process.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to respond to and reflect on the aesthetic experience of the arts.
  3. Demonstrate connections between aesthetic experience and the larger cultural context of creation.

Oral Communication Requirement
One three-credit course in oral communication is required. This requirement may be satisfied by taking Communication 200 Public Speaking or Communication 242 Business and Professional Communication. Majors in the Tabor School of Business must take Communication 242. This requirement should be completed during the Freshman or Sophomore year. Oral Communication Studies courses combine communication theory with the practice of oral communication skills. Students will develop effective and appropriate oral communication skills for diverse public contexts.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Understand and demonstrate communication processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  2. Analyze, evaluate, and synthesize in a responsible manner material from diverse sources and points of view.
  3. Select appropriate communication choices for specific audiences.
  4. Use authority, point of view, and individual voice and style in communications.
  5. Participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.

International Cultures and Structures
This two-course requirement focuses on cultures and social structures outside the United States. It may be satisfied by courses in modern language, internationally focused courses from a variety of disciplines, study abroad courses, or a combination of these. “Culture” refers to learned systems of meanings, and their representations, that people use to interact with the world around them, including language, values, beliefs, norms, traditions, customs, history, art, and artifacts. “Social structures” refers to generally stable patterns of interactions, from the smallest units found in individual social relationships, through larger economic, political and social institutions in societies, to worldwide systems of relationships among nations. Each course must address culture and/or social structure.

Learning Outcome Goals:

  1. Analyze culturally diverse points of view through examination of primary sources.
  2. Comprehend cultures and/or social structures of countries outside the United States.
  3. Compare cultural and/or social structures found in countries outside the United States to those found within the US.

Shared Learning Threads

The sequential course requirements provide an interdisciplinary series of connected learning experiences for all Millikin students. Sequential course requirements include IN140, IN150, IN151, IN250, IN251, and IN350. The sequential courses share and build across the curriculum the following learning threads for ongoing student engagement and learning: (1) Reflection—all sequential elements engage our students in reflection. (2) Ethical Reasoning—all sequential elements except IN150/151 engage our students in ethical reasoning. (3) Writing Intensive—all sequential elements in the University Studies program except IN140 are writing intensive.

Reflection: At Millikin, student reflection is one of the distinguishing features of our teaching mission; evidence of effective use of student reflection in teaching is recognized by the conferral of the Teaching Excellence award on faculty at the annual Honors Convocation. Because student reflection is a Millikin teaching and learning distinctive, it should be one of the main goals that runs vertically through the University Studies program. Reflection is integrated into IN140 through a service learning project. Reflection is one of the four learning goals being delivered and assessed in IN150/IN151. Reflection is one of the goals for IN250, IN251 and IN350.
 
Ethical Reasoning: All sequential elements except IN150/151 deliberately engage our students in ethical reasoning. Students will use ethical reasoning to analyze issues that impact their personal lives as well as their local, national, and global communities.
 
Writing Intensive: All sequential elements in the University Studies program except IN140 are writing intensive. Writing intensive courses include elements of instruction such as (1) Integrated writing and critical thinking activities to promote learning; (2) Instruction and coaching as students write; (3) Guided revision for at least one formal writing assignment;(4) Assessment of the quality of the writing by the characteristics of effective prose, including grammar, organization, and support; (5) Written work which represents a substantial portion of the grade; and(6) Referrals to the Writing Center and support for students needing help with grammar and other elements of composition.