What is the Core? (For Students Entering before Fall 2011)

What is the Core?

Siena College Core - For all students entering Fall 2011

The Core Curriculum, consisting of 42 credits, 14 courses, provides every Siena student with a common, coherent educational experience.  Through the core, students pursue courses in the traditional liberal arts and sciences.  They enter into dialogue with traditional and contemporary figures who have confronted fundamental questions about the universe and the place of humans in it. Core courses engage students in critical thinking, stress effective communication, and introduce students to the perspectives and modes of knowing specific to the arts and sciences.

Every course that meets Core Curriculum requirements has a coded notation attribute – that starts with a ”C”  at the end of each course description.

The College Core comprises 42 credits and 14 courses. It is divided into three areas:

The First-Year Seminar ( 2 Courses)
Disciplinary Core ( 8 courses)
Franciscan Concern Core ( 4 courses)  

First-Year Seminar (CFY)

The First Year Seminar is a two-semester sequence taught by the same faculty member to the same small group of students each semester of freshman year. There are four themes for the year-long sequence: Heritage (Fall) Natural World (Fall), Diversity (Spring), and Social Justice (Spring). 

Within each section offered, there are some common interdisciplinary readings plus an introduction to the stories of St. Francis and St. Clare. The values of Francis and Clare are interwoven throughout the year.  Each faculty member teaching the course chooses the remaining readings and brings coherence to the section under a theme and title- for example, Food, Native Americans, Women, The Environment, Truth, or The Common Good. 

The sequence prepares freshman for the intellectual life of college: how to read critically, how to engage with a text, how to articulate an informed position on big questions, how to write clearly and persuasively, how to voice an opinion in a classroom conversation, how to make connections between and among the readings they are doing, the subjects they are studying, as well as between Siena and the outside world.  

Core Disciplinary Courses

The disciplinary component of the core ensures intellectual breadth and exposure to a variety of modes of inquiry that characterize liberal arts education. Students need to take one course in each discipline.

Creative Arts (CDA)                
English (CDE)                
History (CDH)                
Natural Science  (CDN)- Courses in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and Physics     
Philosophy (CDP)                
Quantitative Analysis (CDQ)- Courses in Computer Science, Math and Quantitative Business Analysis  
Religious Studies (CDR)              
Social Science  (CDS)- Courses in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Economics, Political Science and Education

Core Franciscan Concern 

The Franciscan Concern component of the core ensures thematic exposure to themes of special importance to the Franciscan Tradition that can be explored from multiple perspectives. Students need to take one course in each of the four Franciscan Concern areas:

Heritage: Traditions and Their Texts (CFH)

As a tradition born in the 13th Century, the Franciscan Tradition is embedded within Western heritage, and as a living tradition nearly 800 years old, the Franciscan Tradition is constitutive of subsequent Western heritage. The "Heritage" rubric embraces this broad sense of tradition. Courses will acquaint students with one or more of the major intellectual, cultural, or religious traditions in this history and the texts, figures, events, or movements associated with them. Courses in this category elucidate how these traditions address fundamental questions of humanistic or religious concern.

Diversity: American & Global Pluralism (CFD)

The Franciscan concern for diversity flows from its affirmation of each individual as worthy of respect and compassion. Individuality implies plurality of perspective, both on the level of differences among persons and on the level of differences among peoples. Appreciating diversity requires that students have the opportunity to see things from perspectives they do not normally occupy. This includes the examination of diverse intellectual perspectives. 

Social Justice: Principles and Practice (CFJ)

The Franciscan Tradition joins with other traditions and movements in placing a premium on social justice. Social justice permeates all levels of human affairs and admits investigation from a variety of perspectives. Broadly speaking, social justice concerns (a) the practical organization of human affairs allowing for maximal human flourishing, (b) the values and principles guiding or that might guide the organization of human affairs, (c) the extent to which such values or principles are practically realized or under-realized. The “Social Justice” rubric welcomes courses that study the theory or practice of justice from social, moral, political, religious, economic, environmental, aesthetic, or technological points of view.

Nature: Scientific & Normative Approaches to the Natural World (CFN)

The Franciscan Tradition affirms the goodness of nature. As an intellectual tradition, it supports the scientific investigation of nature, and as a spiritual tradition it cultivates deepened appreciation for the entirety of the created world and heightened commitment to the effective stewardship of the Earth and all living things. The “Natural World” rubric welcomes courses which both investigate the natural world from a scientific perspective and also examine the impact and consequences of human involvement in natural systems.

New Core Courses

First Year Seminars Fall 2011