What is a Good Major?

A Faculty Review Committee may also consider the broader role of a major in the project of liberal education.  A “good major”:

  1. develops a cognitive “home” from which to begin to interpret the rest of the world – a base of experiences and knowledge, fluency with a vocabulary, and methods of interpreting evidence, in relation to which unfamiliar subjects may become meaningful.
  2. develops the capacity for recognizing and interpreting connections, or “for applying learning from one context to another.”
  3. develops the capacity for analyzing evidence and arguments, and interpreting experiences.
  4. develops an understanding of factors that condition knowledge, and of the origins and histories of ideas and methods in the subject area.
  5. includes “reflexivity” – the opportunity to return to something learned in the past and to reexamine it in light of further learning.
  6. includes learning in community, both by situating new knowledge in the context of the expertise of others, and by promoting the role of conversation in the learning process.
  7. cultivates “the capacity for relating academic learning to the wider world, to public issues and personal experience.”
  8. includes a culminating opportunity to synthesize a student’s various experiences in the major.