The Core Curriculum encourages Mount Mercy students to develop critical thinking skills and cultivate a deeper understanding of self and the world as they prepare to contribute to their community and society. The curriculum exemplifies Mount Mercy’s mission to instill in students a love of knowledge as well as a love of community service and volunteerism, encouraging a passion for civic engagement. Through the Core Curriculum, students will reflect on their thinking as they develop an understanding of self and the world, and take action to promote the well-being of others. The Reflection and Action curriculum, which will affect only incoming freshman students, includes portal, domain and capstone courses. For detailed course information, view the University Catalog.
The portal course is designed as an entry point for freshman and qualified transfer students into Mount Mercy's Core Curriculum. The course themes emerge from the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: earth, immigration, non-violence, poverty, racism, and women. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will examine problems from multiple liberal arts perspectives. Teamwork and leadership are fostered as students examine questions of social justice, reflect on serving the common good and engage in a service learning project. Portal courses also help students outline an integrated plan for their Core Curriculum studies, learn about campus services and develop skills to support their success at Mount Mercy.
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Other core courses are organized within seven Domains of Liberal Studies. These invite students to explore the breadth and connection among traditional liberal arts areas. Each domain offers several course choices for students to choose from based on their area of interest. Domain courses encourage students to expand their academic area of interest by providing them with experiences outside their own field. Students will begin the process of selecting their domain courses while enrolled in the portal courses. Domains of Liberal Studies include: Expressive Arts, Global Awareness, Historical Roots, Holistic Health, Self and Society, Natural World, and The Ultimate Question.
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Once freshmen reach the junior or senior level of the curriculum they will participate in a capstone seminar course that encompasses the Mount Mercy core experience in a personally meaningful way. The capstone courses offer opportunities for students based on interest, such as international travel or multidisciplinary research. The courses will also enable students to make connections among the other subjects they have been taught, reinforce and extend their communication and leadership skills, and encourage students to engage in community service and civic leadership.
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In addition to the Core Curriculum, competency areas help assure that graduates are proficient in mathematics, writing and oral communication. One course is completed in each area, with reinforcement provided by writing-intensive courses in the core as well as by experiences in the major. Technology-related skills are also targeted, especially in majors.