"No matter what kind of professional you are, you will need to understand what makes people tick," says Frank Mittermeyer, chair of the biology department. At Elmhurst, we believe such an understanding comes best through a liberal education. That is why a general education in the liberal arts always has held a central place in our curriculum.
"I probably would never have taken a philosophy course if it hadn't been a general education requirement," says Paul Taylor, Class of 2002. "But I liked the course I took so much that I decided to minor in philosophy. All of the liberal arts teach us to ask why we do things, and whether we really should do what we do. These courses show us that the way we're living now may not be the only way."
Studying a wide range of subjects gives our students a broad foundation of knowledge and instills the skills of critical thinking they will need throughout their professional lives. Moreover, such wide-ranging study prepares a person for a lifetime of learning an especially important ability in the 21st century, when most college graduates are likely to change careers several times.
Elmhurst's general education curriculum helps to ensure that students graduate with the intellectual skills necessary for any career. The courses fall within 11 broad categories. They are:
Inquiry and Issues in Science and Technology
Judeo-Christian Heritage and Religious Faith
The Natural World
People, Power, Politics
The Search for Human Values
Writing and Reasoning
General education classes are about more than developing intellectual skills. They also are about connecting both skills and knowledge to broader questions about who each student is as a person, and how persons can relate constructively to others.