Frequently Asked Questions

How are Core courses different from general education courses at other colleges?

Typically, general education courses provide an introductory survey of an individual academic discipline (e.g. Introduction to Philosophy, Economics 101, Principles of Sociology). The courses are partially intended to attract students to a traditional academic major. Our Core courses involve several disciplines because we believe it is more important for professional students to learn how to approach real-world problems from a variety of perspectives and to be well-practiced in integrating knowledge.

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What is the Inquiry Method?

In the Inquiry Method, students are guided to explore content to answer particular questions. These queries are often "big" questions that cannot be satisfied without considering the viewpoint of multiple disciplines. The emphasis in the Inquiry Method is on learning to think critically and reflecting on and becoming cognizant of this process. Inquiry isn't about memorizing facts; it is about forming an educated response to what you encounter in the world.

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What disciplines are covered in the Core sequence, and how were they chosen?

The disciplines covered in the Core Sequence are history, economics, philosophy, psychology, science, literature, arts and aesthetics. This list represents those fields which best constitute a true general education that equips our students to successfully face personal and professional challenges in the 21st century. The disciplines were selected by a group of faculty members chosen from every division within the College. As the Core faculty develops, we will also address political science, anthropology and religion.

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Who teaches in the Core Sequence?

Faculty members who are trained in a variety of academic fields teach in the Core Sequence. However, their areas of specialty do not matter as much as their passion for teaching and learning. Because the Inquiry Method emphasizes shared responsibility for investigation, our faculty members are skilled facilitators who encourage curiosity and collaboration in order to work toward the shared goals of deep personal and global awareness.

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What types of books do students read in the Core sequence? 

In the Core Sequence courses, texts focus on original sources, the actual works of significant scholars and artists. These are supplemented by carefully selected secondary works that illustrate the depth or breadth of a particular discipline or offer particularly important interpretations or analysis of the course content. As a general rule, Core Sequence courses do not use standard textbooks.

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What is an Electronic Portfolio, and how is it being used in the Core Sequence?

An electronic portfolio is a means to assemble artifacts (e.g., papers, presentations, videos, etc.) created for a variety of purposes and present them as a single representation of your work. It was designed as a means of highlighting the integrative thinking and interdisciplinary learning that is at the center of the Core curriculum. The Core ePort enables you to collect your work; integrate learning across Core, program, and non-academic experiences; and make structured and concise presentations of your accomplishments throughout your four years at the College. Collectively, the portfolios allow faculty to focus conversations about teaching and learning on student work and their assessments of student progress.

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What opportunities will be provided for students who don't want to spend a semester abroad?

While Champlain College hopes that every student will choose to spend a semester abroad as part of the third year Core Sequence, for those of you who do not we have a series of courses called Local Contexts, Global Connections. Each of these courses focuses on a particular region of the world, people or culture, and is taught by a faculty member with expertise in the topic area. Themes covered in the different sections may include everything from ethnic minorities to food systems, migration to mythology. In the beginning of the semester, you will have a chance to participate in a film screening, speaker series or other common experiences with students from every section of the course. You will also write about a topic of interest to you, and share it with your fellow students on the interactive Global Connections website.

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Does the Core Curriculum limit the opportunity to take elective courses?

No. The Core Sequence is comprised of 35 hours of coursework, with an additional 6-hour cultural immersion component. Other requirements, as well as allowances for electives, depend on the professional program of study you have chosen as your major. Some programs have room for a generous number of electives. Others have room for very few.

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