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Vision for Undergraduate Education

Liberal Learning through Foundations, Breadth, Depth and Integration for Responsible Global Citizenship

We educate one student at a time in the company of others, each unique yet all distinctly Dominican. In dialogue with a Dominican ethos, our students grow as liberal learners through creative and rigorous study marked by solid foundations, disciplinary breadth and depth, and ongoing integration as they aspire to become ethically responsible global citizens. Each student develops an emerging sense of personal and professional vocation through a variety of means, including thoughtful interaction with courses, professors and other students, and intensive advising and mentoring. We encourage students to participate in internships, study away (international and domestic), community-based learning, and undergraduate research, scholarship and creative investigations. Diverse insights coalesce in each student’s distinctive educational trajectory, purpose and plan, as we inspire students to discern the big picture and name their place within it – to stand somewhere and to stand for something, conscientiously positioned in relationship to the world.

Dominican ethos describes the distinctive character of our university’s culture. It includes an environment of Caritas et Veritas, in which we contemplate the meaning of existence and strive collaboratively for a more just and humane world. It understands that study is at once contemplative and communal. It unites reflection and dialogue as we collaborate in the search for truth. It enables students to develop a sense of care and responsibility for oneself, one’s community, and the wider creation. It fosters trust, tolerance, mutual accountability, and belonging. Students enter into conversation with a Catholic intellectual tradition that affirms the compatibility of faith and reason, a universe marked by both intelligibility and mystery, the sacredness of all creation, the dignity of every living being, and concern for the common good. They acquire basic knowledge about Christianity in its various dimensions, and how it interacts with secular and other religious beliefs, practices and worldviews.

Upon graduation, students educated at Dominican University possess character, knowledge and skills to take informed, ethical action in the world and to influence others for the good.

Foundations

Foundations are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for further learning. They are generally cultivated during the first year, and they are continually developed and built upon in later academic work. In alphabetical order, these are:

  • Application Software. Effective use of application software is the ability to solve real-world problems using computer applications and includes being able to determine the appropriate application to use for a particular need.
  • Communication. Effective communication is purposeful expression that increases knowledge, fosters understanding, and/or promotes change in attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking is a habit of mind animated by a spirit of inquiry and characterized by the rigorous exploration, analysis and evaluation of diverse issues, ideas, artifacts, data, and events in order to formulate an opinion or conclusion.
  • Cultural knowledge. Students develop the willingness to engage diverse dimensions of human experience and understand with empathy other cultures. Students demonstrate the ability to interact with a diverse contemporary America and the world, in relation to differences that include but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical and intellectual abilities, and ways of knowing.
  • Information literacy. Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and use information responsibly and effectively.
  • Quantitative reasoning. Students develop competency in comprehending and analyzing numerical information. Students conceptualize problems in terms of quantitative dimensions and reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of forms (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate).
  • Reading. Students develop competency in understanding and interpreting written and visual works.
  • Research fundamentals. Conducting research entails rigorous inquiry through which students join a community of scholars in order to pursue truth. This pursuit is conducted with sincerity and respect for the rights of others.

Breadth
Dominican University traditionally recognizes distinct areas of study and diverse ways of knowing necessary for students to engage in informed conversations of genuine breadth, both within and beyond the university. Students are enabled to appreciate the content and methods of diverse fields of study, recognize different ways of knowing and creating knowledge, and demonstrate understanding of disciplinary concepts and approaches, specifically in fine arts, history, literature, natural sciences, philosophy, social sciences, and theology.

Depth
Dominican students develop competence in and an in-depth understanding of one or more academic disciplines. After completing significant coursework in a particular field of study, students will have developed a body of work that demonstrates substantial domain knowledge and a growing awareness of the underlying structures of an academic discipline. Additionally, they will have had extensive practice in applying disciplinary principles, perspectives and discourse to diverse problems and in adopting a critical stance to evidence and argument.

Integrative Learning
Integrative learning is the practice of making meaningful wholes – that is, synthesizing knowledge across academic boundaries; connecting personal, academic, work, and community experiences; and evaluating and reflecting on their own learning. This enables students to develop increasingly complex frameworks for future learning and action in multiple communities.

Global Citizenship
The distinctively Dominican global citizen is conscientiously positioned in relationship to the world from within and across cultural, geographic, linguistic, physical, political, religious, racial, ethnic, gender-based and socio-economic borders. Shaped by a growing understanding of this relational identity, Dominican students become global citizens through study, experience, practice, and reflection. They embrace globally responsible attitudes, develop a critical understanding of global interconnectedness, and act ethically to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.