Castleton's Connections General Education program includes a sequence of three innovative Connections Seminar courses, all of which are designed to help students to integrate their learning from academic courses, cultural events, and their co-curricular activities. Course descriptions for each of these seminars appear below. In addition to other learning objectives in the seminars, every Castleton student will develop and curate a "Connections Portfolio" to show they have achieved the university's General Education learning goals.
Students who attend the University in a traditional four-year sequence will likely take one of the Connections Seminars in each of their first three years. Although transfer students may be exempt from the first two Seminars based on credits previously earned, they must take the culminating Connections Seminar 3 course and complete the Connections Portfolio to graduate with a Bachelor's degree from Castleton University.
Connections Seminar 1: Creating Connections
Students who graduated from high school within the year prior to matriculating at Castleton are required to take Connections Seminar 1 in their first semester. (Exceptions may be made for students who participated in a full-time early college program.) Transfer students with fewer than 15 credits are required to take Connections Seminar 1 in their first semester and those with 15-29 credits are strongly encouraged to take Connections Seminar 1.
These seminars are specially designed courses in a variety of academic fields that emphasize the development of academic skills and personal well-being and help integrate the student into the university community. Connection Seminar 1 assists new students with the transition to university life by providing opportunities for academic, social, and personal development. In this seminar, students get to explore the richness of the liberal arts experience through the Soundings program. Students also establish their electronic "Connections Portfolio" to reflect on their learning.
Students' Connections Seminar 1 instructors serve as their academic advisors during their first year at Castleton. Students are also supported by their SOS (Student Orientation Staff), experienced Castleton students who work closely with each Connections Seminar 1 class. The SOS and the Seminar instructor introduce students to campus resources and individuals who can provide support. Students will complete Connections Seminar 1 as responsible and confident members of the Castleton community who are ready for the exciting challenges ahead.
Students in Connections Seminar 1 are simultaneously enrolled in Soundings (CNX-SND).
Connections Seminar 2: Critical Connections (CNX-2010)
This course is a reading and writing-intensive seminar intended to extend and deepen students' engagement with Castleton's general education curriculum. Students critically engage, discuss, and write about important ideas and issues in readings from the five Areas of Understanding as well as the Soundings events they attend. Students continue to explore the connections between the main components of their undergraduate education - their major, the general education program, and co-curricular activities - as they continue to curate their Connections Portfolio demonstrating their engagement with the Connections General Education program learning goals.
Connections Seminar 2 includes a Writing-Intensive component (CNX-2710 WI).
Prerequisites: Connections Seminar 1, ENG 1061 - English Composition and Sophomore standing.
Corequisite: Soundings (CNX-SND)
Transfer students with more than 60 credits may be exempt from Connections Seminar 2.
Connections Seminar 3: Culminating Connections (CNX-3010)
This seminar is the culminating experience in the Connections program. This course focuses on the curation of the electronic Connections Portfolio. Students will continue to attend Soundings events and reflect on how Soundings and their learning in the Areas of Understanding have impacted their Castleton liberal arts education. Students will demonstrate their information literacy through documented research practices included in the Connections Portfolio.
The Connections Portfolio contains both direct and indirect evidence of the student's achievement of the General Education learning goals. The direct evidence will include "artifacts" (essays, projects, documentation of presentations) from the student's experience in the Connections program as well as from their other academic and co-curricular activities. The portfolio will also include the student's reflections and self-assessment of how they have achieved each of the learning goals. These reflections may include benchmark self-evaluations from the Connections Seminar 1 as well as an overall culminating essay written in Connections Seminar 3. The successfully completed Connections Portfolio is a requirement to graduate from Castleton University with a Bachelor's degree.
Students may complete Connections Seminar 3 in conjunction with another designated course or as a stand-alone 1-credit course.
Prerequisites: Connections Seminar 2 and a minimum of 60 credits.
Corequisite: Soundings (CNX-SND)