Interdisciplinary General Education Program - Lower Division

Hutchins' Freshman and Sophomore General Education coursework fulfills all Sonoma State University lower-division General Education requirements, with the exception of mathematics. "Lower-division coursework" is generally defined as classes numbered below the 300-level (such as ENGL 299), and is usually taken by students in their Freshman and Sophomore years.

Upon completion of the Hutchins General Education coursework, students may continue in the Hutchins School to earn a Liberal Studies degree, or they may transfer into another Arts and Humanities or Social Science major (or at any point in the program). Freshman and Sophomore coursework consists of four interdisciplinary seminars of 12 units each, taken successively as follows:

LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (Freshman class; offered in Fall semesters)
LIBS 102: In Search of Self (Freshman class; offered in Spring semesters)
LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (Sophomore class; offered in Fall semesters)
LIBS 202: Challenge and Response (Sophomore class; offered in Spring semesters)

Each seminar is made up of 14 to 15 students and an instructor. Learning proceeds by a process of reading, writing, and round-table discussion, in which all students must take an active part. There are generally five sections of each seminar offered at simultaneous times, so that each seminar section is part of a larger community that meets once a week for lectures, films, field trips, labs, and other group projects.

Strongly emphasizing excellence in written communication, Hutchins' Freshman and Sophomore coursework includes extensive writing projects and regular tutorials. Students are expected to arrive at conclusions that result from personal reflection and exploration of the ideas of great thinkers in diverse fields. At the end of every semester, the student receives an official grade, which can be either a traditional letter grade (A-F) or credit or no credit, depending on the grading option the student has selected during registration. At this time, LIBS 101 is exclusively credit/no credit, as this eases the pressure on Freshman students transitioning into this unique program.

Freshman and Sophomore Coursework Descriptions

LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (12 units)
Drawing on material about small-scale societies, ancient Greek culture, and contemporary civilizations, this course concentrates—within a comparative framework—on the development of cultural values, the concept of human nature, the growth of self-awareness, and the emergence of scientific and abstract thought.

LIBS 102: In Search of Self (12 units)
"In Search of Self" focuses on the individual, exploring how personal history, unconcious processes, and political and historical environments shape the concept of self. This course develops a fuller understanding of these influences through scientific investigation, historical exploration and creative expression, employing materials drawn from biology, psychology, sociology, literature, history, politics and art.

LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (12 units)
"Exploring the Unknown" is an investigation of the meaning and limits of knowledge with respect to the nature of the mind and physical reality. These issues are pursued through several different but interrelated fields of study, including literature, art, philosophy, comparative religions and science. The course considers Newtonian and quantum mechanical theories of physical reality, the religions of various cultures, and the functions of myth and religious language. The term includes a section focusing on the nature of human creativity.

LIBS 202: Challenge of Response in the Modern World (12 units)
This course is an examination of modern accomplishments and prolems that have derived from several sources: the 18th century mechanical models, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, and rise of modern economic theories. Asking how it is possible in the 21st century to live a moral life, the course examines the rise of individualism, the tension between personal and social values, the problems of poverty and the distribution of wealth, and the multiple consequences of modern technology.

GE Laboratory Requirements will be fulfilled by the completion of four semesters in Hutchins' Freshman and Sophomore program.

Interactive, seminar-based classes help create a sense of friendship and community among Hutchins School students.