The Integrative Core Curriculum

John Carroll University’s Integrative Core Curriculum provides the foundation and the structure upon which all students build the major focus of their university studies. This curriculum is designed with the understanding that a 21st-century liberal education must provide students

  • The capacity to deal with complexity, diversity, and change.
  • A broad knowledge of the wider world through the study of science, society, and culture.
  • Strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills, including communication, evidence-based reasoning, and problem solving (using multiple disciplinary perspectives).
  • The ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.
  • An understanding of social responsibility.

The courses that make up the core curriculum are informed by nine academic learning goals, which are rooted in the fundamental Jesuit heritage of the University and the particular history of John Carroll. These learning goals are value statements about what the University deems essential for each student’s educational experience. They highlight key aspirations that the John Carroll faculty and administration have for our students. We expect that graduates of John Carroll University will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an integrative knowledge of the human and natural world.
  2. Develop habits of critical analysis and aesthetic appreciation.
  3. Apply creative and innovative thinking.
  4. Communicate skillfully in multiple forms of expression.
  5. Act competently in a global and diverse world.
  6. Understand and promote social justice.
  7. Apply a framework for examining ethical dilemmas.
  8. Employ leadership and collaborative skills.
  9. Understand the religious dimensions of human experience.

The Integrative Core Curriculum ensures that these nine academic learning goals are met—not superficially, but in multiple places and times throughout the student’s undergraduate years so that the skills, knowledge, competencies, and values they seek to instill are reiterated, deepened, and actualized.

The principles underlying the Integrative Core Curriculum are the following:

  • The curriculum highlights foundational competencies in writing, oral expression, quantitative analysis, and technological/information literacy; and it ensures that these competencies are reiterated and refined in subsequent courses both in the Core and in major requirements.
  • The curriculum includes integrated course work that combines more than one content area and requires students to hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills across disciplines. Integrated courses create communities of shared inquiry and foreground the responsibility our students have as global citizens, stewards of the earth, and creators of just societies. The integrated course work prepares students to act as leaders in a world of increasing complexity, greater collaboration, and interdependency.
  • The curriculum develops students’ intercultural competence through its focus on global studies and on languages: students demonstrate competency in a language other than English. The curriculum also emphasizes human diversity with courses devoted to issues in social justice.
  • The curriculum underscores essential principles of Ignatian pedagogy by valuing the rich history of Jesuit education with its emphasis on currency, relevance, communication skills, care for the learning of each student, discernment, and justice. The curriculum also highlights disciplines traditionally part of the Jesuit heritage in higher education with courses in philosophy, theology and religious studies, and the creative and performing arts. Courses on issues in social justice also consider important questions about justice, diversity, and ethics.

John Carroll’s Integrative Core Curriculum asks students to be engaged learners who bring new knowledge into being through their study and collaboration and who do so with the realization that all knowledge has the capacity to raise ethical questions, and that the questions they raise and answer are meaningful and liberating.