Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum

The CORE Curriculum provides a pedagogical framework for students to develop their skills in becoming competent, resourceful, global leaders. The curriculum explicitly teaches critical thinking in the humanities and social and natural sciences. The curriculum reinforces respect for diverse viewpoints and ethical values in the academy. Students develop effective problem solving skills for addressing real world problems, and intellectual humility through service learning. Students engage in quantitative and qualitative research in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities  as they understand the complexities of the human condition.

The goals of the CORE Curriculum are to:

  • Foster and enhance skills, knowledge, awareness, and dispositions that lead to the development of competent, resourceful, and imaginative leaders;
  • Encourage understanding of the social world and natural environment and their relationships to communities
  • Encourage exposure to various creative experiences.

Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the CORE Curriculum, the Fisk student will demonstrate mastery of the following student learning outcomes:

Learning Outcome 1. Written and oral communication skills

  • Students communicate effectively using appropriate writing conventions and formats.
  • Students communicate effectively using appropriate oral conventions and formats.
  • Students interpret and communicate quantitative information.

Learning Outcome 2. Knowledge of African American and diverse cultures.

  • Students effectively analyze contemporary issues within the context of diverse disciplinary perspectives.
  • Students effectively analyze contemporary multicultural, and global questions.
  • Students effectively analyze historical and contemporary society based on a diverse cultural, social, economic, political, religious and artistic knowledge.

Learning Outcome 3. Foundational knowledge and skills in humanities, math and science, and social science.

  • Students effectively perform mathematical operations, as well as reason and draw appropriate conclusions from numerical information.
  • Students effectively translate problem situations into symbolic representations and use.
  • Students display technological proficiency by effective use of computers and other technology appropriate to the discipline.
  • Students locate, identify and use data resources.
  • Students demonstrate competence in research methodology.

Learning Outcome 4. Leadership activities and teamwork through participation in and description of community service experiences.

  • Students identify personal values and employ them in ethical decision making.
  • Students participate effectively in collaborative activities with persons of diverse backgrounds.
  • Students engage in community and global affairs.
  • Students practice effective time  and financial management.
  • Students show leadership ability.
  • Students make a valuable contribution to the community.

Learning Outcome 5. Critical Thinking

Upon completion of the CORE Curriculum, the Fisk student is to demonstrate critical thinking skills in his or her mastery of the four general areas. The student will

  • formulate appropriate questions for research.
  • collect appropriate evidence.
  • evaluate claims, arguments, evidence, and hypotheses.
  • use the results of analysis to construct new arguments and formulate new questions.

Course Descriptions

CORE 100,   New Student Orientation Seminar Series   1 credit 
New Student Orientation is a one semester course that is designed to provide students with the essential academic, social and personal skills to maximize their opportunity for success during their freshman year. Academic rules and regulations, learning strategies, time, stress and financial management, healthy lifestyle choices, and career development are among the topics that will be discussed in this course. All students will engage in group discussions focused on a selected summer reading. Even though students will meet primarily in their respective sections, they will be required to attend convocations and other designated campus events. Students will also be expected to participate in an approved service learning project. The Proficiency Profile test will be administered in this course to evaluate the academic skills of our freshmen students. This class will meet one hour per week.

CORE 120,   Critical  Thinking Course: Application of the Paul/Elder Model   2  credits 
This freshman level course focuses on the foundation of the Paul/Elder model of critical thinking. This model focuses on improvement and assessment of thinking through the understanding of elements of reasoning and the application of intellectual standards for the development of intellectual traits including lifelong learning.  Students will increase their understanding of the model and will be given the opportunity to apply these concepts to real world problems.

CORE  131,   Essential Mathematics for a Contemporary World   3 credits
This course is designed to give students majoring in the liberal arts, social sciences, education, business, and other nonscientific areas an understanding and appreciation of the many applications of mathematics in our contemporary world. Major areas covered will be elements of set theory; numeration and mathematical systems; geometry; basic concepts of algebra such as equations, inequalities, percentages and proportions; functions and graphs; and an introduction to statistics. Pre-requisites: A grade of C or better in MATH 100 or placement in CORE 131/ Math 101 (C- is not satisfactory). This course is not appropriate for science or business majors with math requirements. The course will be offered in the fall semester.

CORE 132,   Essential Mathematics for a Contemporary World, II    3 credits
This course is a continuation of the survey experience from CORE 131(Math I). Additional topics  emphasized will be logic; graph theory ( and how it is used to show connections between objects in a set or analyze/simplify information); calculations involved in personal financial management ( annuities, credit, home ownership, stocks/bonds); voting and apportionment  in which different ways of determining a winner or use of fairness is discussed; problem-solving strategies; probability. This course can be taken by science and business majors due to the unique  nature of topics. Pre-requisite: A grade of  C or better in either CORE 131 or College Algebra (C- is not satisfactory). This course will be offered in the spring semester.

CORE 150,Composition I     3 credits  
The first-semester course in the CORE First-Year Composition sequence will introduce students to the fundamentals of college writing and communication, with an emphasis on both the writing process and the final product. Students will develop their understanding of global and contemporary issues via critical thinking, and learn to respond critically using techniques such as summary, analysis, and evaluation.  This course will emphasize expository writing techniques, with assignments based on critical analyses of primary texts. By the end of the course, students will learn how to communicate clearly and effectively for a variety of audiences and writing situations. Prerequisite: None

CORE 160,   Composition II     3 credits  
In the second-semester course in the CORE First-Year Composition sequence, students will more fully develop their abilities in critical thinking as demonstrated via written and oral communication. Emphasis in this course is placed on crafting persuasive arguments, with research techniques taught as a necessary tool for the process of argumentation. This course will deepen critical reading and analysis skills, and introduce students to the elements of logic, particularly as it is used in multiple writing situations. Advanced techniques of analysis, such as synthesis, will be developed by students as they research and utilize appropriate information from primary and secondary sources for their writing. Prerequisite: CORE 150 – Composition I or approved equivalency.

CORE 201,  Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship    3 credits  
Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship is an overview of the principles and practices of business concept and entrepreneurial development.  It describes the tools that allow students to make informed decisions about their business and entrepreneurial goals.  The focus of this course is on students’ understanding of concepts that include: choice of ownership, marketing, financial statement analysis, personal and other financial management and the creating and maintaining a business entity.

Pre-requisites:  Composition I, Composition  II,  and  CORE 131 or Math 101 with a D or higher, or approved equivalents

CORE 220,  The Creative Arts    3 credits    
Seeks  to develop students' appreciation of the arts, reflecting an ability to recognize, articulate  and  record in a discriminating way an understanding of the characteristics common to the various forms of  the  visual  and  performing  arts, and  the creative process.  Through  class lectures, experiences, discussions, and  demonstrations  the  course  will encourage critical thinking in seeking answers to the question of the involvement  of  the  arts  through  history  in  human, social, cultural, political,  and  economic  evolution.   Students should  come to  understand  how artistic  expression  reflects  the era in which it is created.   Suggested for the second or third year.

CORE 240,  Natural Science   4 credits
This course leads students to an  understanding of  the  investigative approaches of the natural sciences, their historical development and the interrelationship of science and technology. Different course sections emphasize either the biological or physical sciences, but all provide an introduction to certain basic concepts or themes: the scientific method; the birth of modern astronomy; development of the biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere; forces of nature; energy, its sources and utilization; electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter; the structure, properties, reactivity and bonding of matter; evolution, characteristics and classification of life forms; the inheritance of genetic characteristics; and the relationships between an organism and its environment. Students utilize computer technology to analyze data, research topics and assist in the mastery of scientific concepts. Classroom demonstrations  and  laboratory experiments are conducted to illustrate concepts.

Prerequisite: CORE 131.

CORE 260,  Humanities: Thought and Experience    3 credits   
Students debate humankind's perennial questions, with attention to the manner in which these questions have been understood in various times and cultures. Topics include the meaning of human life; ethics; the problem of knowledge; experience and reality; God and religious experience; and the individual's relationship to society.   Most readings are drawn from primary sources in history, literature, philosophy, and the world's religious traditions. A writing-intensive course; suggested for the second or third year.

Prerequisite: CORE 150 and CORE 160

CORE 360,  The World and Its Peoples    4 credits   
Aims to prepare students for life as informed citizens in a multicultural world. Course includes the study of humanity from our early origins through the present, emphasizing the unity of human experience; the diversity of peoples; the variety of civilizations and cultures; the effects of geography and technology on human life; and the changing patterns of social, political, economic, and cultural institutions, both within civilizations and globally. The first half of the course focuses on the patterns of major civilizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The second half focuses on the civilizational interactions during the past 500 years, which have created the world as it is today. Suggested for the third year.

Prerequisites: CORE 150, 160, 220, and 260.

CORE Curriculum Transition Plan
Students currently enrolled in the CORE Curriculum at Fisk University will have the option of taking an equivalent or substitution course in the new curriculum or requesting a waiver of requirement.   Equivalent courses are courses that are similar in content to the original CORE course but may carry fewer credit hours.   Substitution courses are courses in the general curriculum that can be used to meet the CORE requirements.  Waivers will only be given to students who have acquired 33 hours of the old CORE including its equivalencies and substitutions but are lacking 2 credit hours needed to fulfill the new CORE Curriculum.   Students must complete the total number of hours required for a degree in their discipline, meeting the minimum 120 required for graduation.

Transfer Credits

Unless otherwise stated, students must earn a grade of D or higher in all CORE Curriculum courses in order to graduate from Fisk University.

Transfer students who hold the Associate of Arts or equivalent degree from an accredited two-year institution are exempted by vote of the faculty from the entire Fisk CORE curriculum. This exemption is granted when there exists a close correspondence between the program of liberal studies pursued in the two-year college and the normal requirements of Fisk's CORE curriculum. The exemption does not apply, however, to associate degrees that are purely technical or vocational in character, or any two-year degrees other than those designed primarily to provide a basis for transfer to a four-year liberal arts college.

Once matriculated at Fisk, students are expected to complete any remaining CORE requirements by taking the appropriate Fisk courses. The faculty regards the CORE curriculum as an important expression of Fisk's special mission in multicultural liberal arts education designed particularly with the African-American experience in mind. Students therefore are not encouraged to seek permission to meet Fisk CORE requirements through studies at other institutions. Exceptions may be authorized by the Provost, but only in cases of particular need, and only where course equivalencies are clear.

Course that can be waived by the university are listed below:

CORE 150: Composition I
This course will be waived for students whose transfer credits include a course in college level composition.

CORE 160: Composition II
This course will be waived for students who have completed at least two college level composition  courses along with a course in Public Speaking.

CORE 131, Essential  Mathematics for a Contemporary World
This course may be waived for students whose transfer credits include a college course in mathematics at or above the level of college algebra. (The course is also waived for students who qualify for and complete a Fisk mathematics course numbered 101 or above.)

CORE 220, The Creative Arts
This course may be waived for students who have completed courses in Art or Music Appreciation.

CORE 240, Natural Science
Students who have completed introductory courses in both Biological and Physical Science will not be required to take CORE 240.

CORE 260, Humanities
This course may be waived for students whose transfer credits include coursework  in at least one of the humanities disciplines emphasized in this Fisk course – philosophy or  religion. .

CORE 360, The World and Its Peoples
may be waived for students whose transfer credits include coursework (in one or more college courses) in anthropology, cultural geography, comparative cultures, and world history or world civilization. Courses limited to Western civilization are not acceptable as transfer equivalents to Fisk's CORE 360, unless the student also has a college course focusing on the history or culture of at least one society that is neither European nor rooted primarily in European traditions.