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At the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century, a new vision for college learning is clearly in view. Through its Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has outlined what contemporary college students need to know and be able to do--in ever-changing economic, political, environmental, global, and cross-cultural contexts. The LEAP essential learning outcomes provide a framework to guide student learning in both general education and the major. The LEAP initiative calls upon college administrators and faculty members to give priority to these essential learning outcomes in order to prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly complex world. This article discusses the Human Journey, a core curriculum at Sacred Heart University, which responds directly to the LEAP challenge. The proposal for the Human Journey includes a framework of four common core questions, six principles to guide curricular development, and the five disciplinary areas that would eventually design the common core courses. The four core questions of enduring human meaning and value that unify the Human Journey are: (1) What does it mean to be human?; (2) What does it mean to live a life of meaning and purpose?; (3) What does it mean to understand and appreciate the natural world?; and (4) What does it mean to form a more just society for the common good? These "big questions" are used thematically to organize five disciplinary areas.


Originally published:

Loris, Michelle. "The Human Journey: Embracing The Essential Learning Outcomes." Liberal Education 96.1 (2010): 44-49.



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