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General Education

Academic Communities of Practice: The General Education Core Curriculum at Roosevelt

What are “Academic Communities of Practice”?

 “Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.”

–Etienne Wenger, 2006

New college students (and their parents) often focus on the knowledge and skills they will acquire in their majors.  Before most students become deeply involved in their majors, however, they take courses that prepare them to write, speak, investigate, and collaborate as members of a university community.  At Roosevelt, these courses are called “Academic Communities of Practice.”  The curriculum includes three courses.

ACP 101 (the First Year Seminar)

is a 3-credit course required of most new RU students who enter with fewer than 15 hours of transfer credit. The First Year Seminar

l  Involves new students in cohort-wide conversations about a single nonfiction book chosen for its cultural timeliness and accessibility. (During the 2011-2012 academic year, students and faculty will discuss Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.)

l  Offers practice in foundational academic learning tools like text-based discussion, reflective writing, oral presentation, and library-based information retrieval and evaluation.

l  Helps students create intentional connections between academic learning, personal goal-setting, and the home communities they identify with.  Because all sections of ACP 101 are taught by full-time faculty, students receive academic mentoring from the very start of their time at Roosevelt. In addition, Peer Instructors in every section teach the interpersonal communication and wellness skills necessary for success in college.

There is no pre-requisite for ACP 101.


ACP 110 (Primary Texts)

is a 3-credit course required of students in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Performing Arts who enter Roosevelt with fewer than 30 hours of transfer credit.  Each instructor's course syllabus is built around Western and non-Western cultural documents (or “primary texts”) that address a central theme (for example: “Concepts of the Person,” “Freedom and Oppression,” “Theories of Justice,” “Love”).  Students practice talking and writing about the ethical questions, inter-cultural connections, and analytical methods common to the liberal arts tradition. Students may be concurrently enrolled in Primary Texts and ENG 101. Separate course sections are provided for students in the Roosevelt Scholars Program.


ACP 250 (Grounds for Change)

is a sophomore/junior level problem-based learning course offered by departments in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, Business, Performing Arts, and Professional Studies.  Whatever the discipline, all “Grounds for Change” courses address a basic social justice question: What will it take to transform specific instances of injustice, environmental degradation, or uneven access to resources and socially powerful institutions? Topics vary by semester, and students may enroll in any version of the course, including those offered by their major programs. Some sections will include transformational service learning opportunities.

Before enrolling in ACP 250, students must have completed their University Writing and Math requirements, and must have attained sophomore standing or above.