Sonoma State University Hutchins School of Liberal Studies

Courses taught by Professor Shaw
in the Fall Semester of 2017

LIBS 201 Exploring the Unknown

Circular seminar - Fall 2016


Alcatraz Field Trip. Feb 2015


   Class breakfast Fall '12


Chinatown Fieldtrip Spring '06

In Search of Self In Chinatown_3.jpg (804206 bytes)


Academic Programs

About The Hutchins School of Liberal Studies


The Hutchins School offers lower division students an alternative General Education program, and upper division students a Major in Liberal Studies, leading to a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Hutchins also offers a four-year Blended Program leading to a Bachelor of Arts Degree as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. A Minor in Integrative Studies is also offered. The Hutchins School has several distinctive features:

  • Courses organized around themes or questions, rather than according to the traditional division of subject matter into disciplines
  • A diverse faculty, each member trained in more than one field of study, to help students learn how to approach a problem from several points of view
  • Encouragement to engage in independent study projects and internships to bridge academic studies with career placements and community service

A nationally recognized leader in the movement for reform in higher education, the Hutchins School has maintained its commitment to innovative pedagogy and interdisciplinary inquiry into vital issues since its inception in 1969. A key feature of the program is the small seminar in which students take responsibility as active participants in the learning process. The program is designed to encourage students to take themselves seriously as readers, writers, and thinkers capable of continuing their own educational process throughout their lives.

Hutchins’ Approach to Higher Education

    Hutchins Lower Division Major Program

  • The Hutchins School offers a unique approach to lower division general education (GE) requirements. Completion of four 12 unit interdisciplinary seminars in addition to a course in GE-level math (taken outside of the Hutchins School) fulfills all lower division General Education requirements. Seminars average about 14 to 15 students, and require a high degree of student participation.

Hutchins Upper Division Major Program

  • Students may choose to remain in the Hutchins School of Liberal studies following the completion of their lower division coursework, or can transfer into Hutchins at the Junior or Senior class level. Hutchins offers a distinctive interdisciplinary 40-unit major in Liberal Studies, and gives students the option between several programs of study, each of which culminates in the presentation and assessment of a student portfolio in a Hutchins capstone course.
  • Upper Division Programs of Study
  • Track I—Interdisciplinary Studies: Track I consists of three required Liberal Studies courses, four Core seminars, additional elective seminars, and Independent Study. To better prepare for a career, students are also required to incorporate an internship or field study in their Upper Division education.

  • Track II—Subject Matter Preparation Program for Elementary Teaching Credential: Track II also consists of three required courses, four core seminars and concentration courses, followed by an additional year of post-graduate professional training courses in the School of Education. This plan leads to an elementary teaching credential upon the completion of post-graduate coursework.

  • Track III—Hutchins’ Blended Program - Bachelor of Arts with Multiple Subject Teaching Credential: Track III is a program of study only available to students that begin their education in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies as Freshmen, due to the volume of classes that must be completed.
  • In collaboration with the SSU School of Education, Hutchins offers the Blended Program, which allows students to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies as well as fulfill requirements for a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in four years. This credential allows graduates to begin teaching in California public elementary schools. This program combines the Hutchins General Education program with the Track II coursework described above, and allows students to begin taking courses in the School of Education during their Junior year. In addition, students will have the opportunity to integrate their academic and professional teaching training beginning in the first semester of their Freshman year. Students admitted to this program must meet higher admissions criteria, and must be able to take 17 to 18 units per semester.

Career Prospects

The Hutchins School also provides effective preparation for a wide variety of careers in which creativity, independent thinking, and effective communication are prime requisites. Hutchins graduates do especially well in education, counseling, social services, law, media, journalism, and many types of business. Hutchins school alumna have entered graduate programs in fields as diverse as American Studies, Anthropology, Counseling, English, History, Law, Library Science, Management, Medieval Studies, Physics, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theater Arts.