The Core Curriculum ... represents, most importantly, our faith in our student's abilities - beyond their interests, backgrounds, their secondary education - to comprehend difficult ideas, to hazard testing their own ideas, and to translate learning and thought into choice and action in their own lives. American higher education ... aims to achieve two strikingly different goals: ... to train students for gainful employment and to educate them for a reflective life. [However, these] once universally accepted educational ideals have become caricatures of themselves... with universities promising preparation of everyone for everything ... [and the] reflective life ... interpreted as involving flights into abstraction beyond understanding and concerns of thoughtful individuals... If university education actually offered everything to everyone, how could one decide which everything would be of true value? And if university educations were only something ineffable and transcendent, how could one say just what it is or describe its benefits? If, however, ... the end of one's pursuit of an education is to become an educated person, . . . then, in discovering what defines an educated person, one might also discover why American education at its best is both practical and lofty.
The defining characteristics of an educated person are certain qualities of mind, ... common points of reference, [and] outlook.... The capacity to reason, ask questions, be critical, and articulate ideas has been treasured and remained the same in Western society at least since classical times. The points of reference have varied in different eras.... Only in [the] context [of a broad range of general ideas and an appropriate understanding of their implications] does the hallmark of our culture - specialized knowledge - acquire its relevance and power.
The outlook of an educated person [involves] ... representing the true achievements of our culture, ... the value of the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, and the deliberate pursuit of moral development. In general, a core curriculum ... provides the essential foundation of liberal learning and the larger perspective within which students can focus on one or more of the various disciplines.... The Adelphi Core Curriculum is a multi-faceted, four-year study of our modern age, ... an inquiry into the issues, themes, ideals, and ideas that characterize our modern condition.
A mandatory series of courses, 35 credits in total, ... from freshman through senior years, the ... Core begins with a two-semester class in The Modern Condition. This two semester course investigates the advances, ... debates, and challenges that typify the way we know ourselves and the world we live in. Origins of the Modern Condition courses ... explore how the debates and insights of our modern era developed from historical and cultural sources across world societies.... In courses on The Modes of Knowledge and Versions of Understanding ... students focus on questions raised in the Modern Condition, but from [the] vantage points and different methods [of] the poetic, psychological, [and] philosophic, to name a few. These ... courses help students to see that ... knowledge is indeed possible, ... dynamic rather than static, and that competing claims and philosophies can be sorted out and discriminated.... Finally, ... in a senior Seminar in Values and Actions students probe and interpret the moral implications of the knowledge they have acquired, especially as it bears on their "real life" choices, actions, and purposes.
The Senior Seminar includes experimental, reflective, analytical, and action components.... [The] intellectual goals [are] to link moral responsibility with knowledge, values and actions by engaging students in discourse concerning fundamental issues of our time; to enrich students' perspectives by introducing themes [derived from] critical discussion of [the fundamental] issues' into the conduct of daily life and ... the relationship between the individual ... and a just society; to stretch the students' tolerance for the complexities, the ambiguities and the difficulties of moral reasoning and decision-making.