CLA 1005: Introduction to Liberal Arts Learning

CLA 1005 is designed to provide students a space and process to examine their academic and career interests and goals in relationship to their experiences, identities, personalities, strengths, competencies, ethics, and values. As part of this process, class participants will examine how contemporary American students understand their education, what they want from it, and how they negotiate and give meaning to their university experience. A critical part of course work will involve bringing an autobiographical and ethnographic lens to your freshman year experience.

Our course goals are intentionally aligned with the University of Minnesota's student learning and development outcome goals which provide the framework for the undergraduate educational experience on the Twin Cities campus. More specifically, the student developmental outcomes which the University hopes students are able to increasingly demonstrate as they approach graduation are independence and interdependence, responsibility and accountability, goal orientation, self-awareness, resilience, appreciation of difference, and tolerance of ambiguity. The University also hopes that at the time of receiving a bachelor's degree students can effectively and creatively communicate their goals, strengths, and values to diverse audiences.

Course participants will work towards these goals through a shared experience that includes dialogue, experiential workshops, readings, videos, audio essays, art, journaling, digital storytelling, and self & group assessment. Every student will leave the course with:

  • greater self-understanding
  • a personal criteria for assessing their success as a college student & human being
  • a coherent, flexible, plan for their education
  • a coherent and flexible plan for professional development
  • enhanced critical thinking & problem-solving skills enhanced financial & media literacy
  • a better understanding of the University of Minnesota campus culture
  • a better understanding of the political, economic, and cultural forces shaping access to higher education