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The Next Chapter: First Year Program

The Westminster Plan Curriculum ... A Better Way to Educate Students

The Westminster Plan curriculum is an exceptional educational program of uncommon purpose, coherence, and integrity. It was explicitly conceived of and developed by our faculty as an all-college curriculum that was not "owned" by specific disciplines or departments. Most importantly, it was created as a way to deliver to all Westminster College students a knowledge-based and experiential foundation on which a lifetime of learning could be built.

It emerged at an important time in the intellectual life of this institution, a time when our passion for instructional excellence motivated curricular design and our unqualified commitment to students could be reaffirmed by curricular innovation.

While all efforts to revise a curriculum are, in part, stimulated by recognized inadequacies in older educational paradigms, ours emerged not so much from dissatisfaction with what we had been doing but from a confidence we could do better, and a determination that our students deserved nothing but our best.

In the wake of numerous reports critical of the fractured, faddish nature of many general education programs, and mindful of the national dialog advocating increased attention to critical thinking and analysis skills, the faculty set their hand to building a better, more rigorous, educational experience.

What emerged was a curriculum that assures our students will possess a common base of knowledge and skills, and provides them with a familiarity of the broad spectrum of human accomplishments in the arts, social sciences, humanities, mathematics, and science.

The Westminster Plan curriculum was crafted to emphasize the continuing acquisition by all students of essential communication skills, both written and oral, and familiarity with the applied use of information technology to enhance teaching and learning. By emphasizing the interdependency of knowledge, the curriculum models for students the incontrovertible fact that the important and often vexing problems facing humanity are not the sole province of any one discipline; rather, complex problems ordinarily are best addressed by teams of individuals who can marshall a variety of perspectives on the problem at hand and thereby improve the quality of the solutions devised.

Because the Westminster Plan purposely guides a student through an integrated four-year course of study, similar in scope and content to a selected, traditional major, this accomplishment is recognized and celebrated by referring to it as the major common to all Westminster College students, Liberal Studies.

It possesses remarkable strength and is noteworthy for its ability to meet the challenges of today and the uncertainties of tomorrow.