How, Then, Shall We Live?
Citizenship in a Global Society
Justice, Sustainability, Democracy, and Difference
(The Common Core Curriculum at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College)
The Common Core curriculum at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College includes a set of courses and related learning experiences required of all students. Students consider the question, How, Then, Shall We Live? in the context of our 21st-century lives. They will participate in learning experiences intended to strengthen the knowledge and skills they need to advance in their careers and to enable them to respond to four critical questions in our global society:
- In a world where there are never enough resources to do all that we might want, how do we live and make decisions in a just and ethical way?
- At a time when we cannot foresee the future, how do we live and make decisions in a way that will sustain our grandchildren's children’s needs as fully as our own?
- In a society that has made democracy its greatest gift to the world, how do we keep that democratic spirit alive in ourselves and in the ways we work with one another?
- And at a moment where it is easy to see the things that can divide us, how do we work with and across differences?
These are not small questions or questions to be answered only once. Students will be challenged by them throughout their study at LAC, revisiting these questions of justice, sustainability, democracy, and difference in varied ways and in differing contexts. The Common Core thus extends throughout undergraduate study at LAC, integrating learning experiences in the majors with liberal arts learning in the Common Core. At the same time, an essential part of developing the knowledge and abilities necessary to respond to these core questions will be students’ planning for career and citizenship.
- fosters the knowledge and abilities you need to be effective in your personal and civic life and to be successful in your chosen career
- provides opportunities to become a better speaker and a stronger writer.
- helps you learn to find, evaluate, and utilize information,
- teaches you how to carefully think through complex questions in light of their social, cultural and historical contexts
- emphasizes connecting your academic study to your personal life and your career choices
- encourages you to become more clearly aware of your values and aspirations
- cultivates the habits of mind and heart that we all need to live lives guided by a sense of social responsibility and ethical citizenship.
Why the change?
USM's Lewiston-Auburn College is the first among USM programs and colleges to implement a new core curriculum. Others are soon to follow. In fact, similar changes are occurring in colleges and universities across the country. Why? If, as LAC’s mission states, the purpose of education is to “prepare students to meet the challenges of our dramatically changing, global and pluralistic world,” then the educational experiences we provide must be structured in ways that cultivate the abilities students need to meet those challenges. LAC’s Common Core is an interdisciplinary curriculum that sets academic disciplines in dialogue with one another in order to adequately address the complex questions, issues and problems of our world. Using an interdisciplinary approach to the themes of justice, sustainability, democracy and difference promises to enhance students’ abilities to address and respond to complex real-world questions.
The curriculum organizes the sequence of courses so that they focus on the development and refinement of specific student abilities. Required courses in writing instruction, for example, occur at successive phases of the curriculum rather than only at the beginning phase. The Lewiston-Common Core is aligned with the USM Core to allow any USM student to complete their core requirements at USM LAC.
- LCC 110: Language and Literacies in a 21st Century World
- LCC 123: College and Community I (required for students with less than 24 credits)
- LCC 130 or 230: The Biology of Human Health w/ Lab or Environmental Science, Policy, & Sustainability w/Lab
- LCC 150: Statistics for Informed Decision Making
- LCC 200: Creative Critical Inquiry into Modern Life
- LCC 220 or 320: U.S. Democracy: Origins & Development or Sustaining Democracy
- LCC 250: Thinking about the Arts, Thinking Through the Arts
- LCC 345: College and Community II (required for students transferring more than 24 credits
- LCC 370: Toward a Global Ethics
- LCC Cluster: cluster options tba. (this requirement may also be satisfied by completing a minor)
- LCC 480: Senior Seminar
How will this help me get a job?
The curriculum includes courses specifically designed to help you clarify your career choices, as well as an internship experience. More importantly, it prepares you for how quickly jobs are changing and how they include new challenges. It is designed to strengthen your thinking, and improve your ability to write clearly and speak effectively. These skills not only help you get a job but also advance in your career.
How do I get through this and my major, too?
Because the Common Core integrates a strong liberal arts education with specialized study in various majors, several of the Common Core courses do double duty in fulfilling requirements of BOTH the Core and the major.
How strict is the order?
The course numbers indicate the preferred order, as later courses build on earlier ones. However, with a non-traditional student body, and thus many students transferring into LAC with earlier college credits, we recognize the need to make limited exceptions working with individual students.
Who is there to help me?
Faculty, advisors, tutors, librarians, writing center . . . . in short, nearly EVERYONE at LAC!
What if I want to complete the old core requirements?
Although the implementation of the new common core will not affect the graduation requirements for currently enrolled students, continuing students will be welcome in the new Common Core courses. In fact, many of these courses will satisfy requirements of either the old core or individual LAC programs. If you are already pursuing the old USM Core Curriculum, note how we've included those letter designations for some of our new courses.
Can I transfer credits in or out?
Yes. The entry phase courses are designed to be equivalent to many of the courses students transfer in from their first two years at other colleges or at Community colleges.
What if I change my major and go to a different campus at USM?
The learning outcomes of LAC’s common core are the same as those on any campus of USM. The university is committed to ensuring transferability among campuses.
Can I CLEP or get portfolio credit for any of these courses?
Yes, but we're still working on identifying which ones, specifically. That information will be available shortly.
Will my future employer be impressed by this?
YES! Our new Core is more directly relevant to life in the 21st century. Employers know that the “real” world is interdisciplinary and that the large questions addressed by our Core are key to the future of our society and our economy.
USM LAC Common Core Curriculum Plan
USM LAC Orientation
Orientation is a very important first step for accepted students to prepare for their first semester on campus. We encourage all accepted students to come to orientation and get ready to embark upon a great undergraduate experience at USM!