Missouri State University
History Department
Masthead Border

HST 103 and HST 104

The goals of the general education program are reproduced below. All sections of History 103 and 104 are designed to meet the goals in bold. A comprehensive overview of the general program at Missouri State is available on the general education page.

Part one: intellectual abilities and dispositions  

Improving our ability to make important choices involves attention to the intellectual skills, habits, and dispositions which help to guide such choices. General education has as a goal of student learning the development of the following:

  1. Conceptual and practical understanding of modes of learning, problem-solving and creative inquiry
  2. Information-gathering, reasoning and synthesizing abilities
    1. Skill in formulating questions and in setting goals for inquiry
    2. Knowing how and when to make generalizations and value judgments
    3. Skill in generating and evaluating observations and evidence
    4. Skill in making deductive inferences
    5. Ability to use relevant quantitative methods
  3. Reflective, creative and critical dispositions
    1. Striving to be well-informed and open-minded
    2. Looking for multiple possibilities and being able to deal with ambiguity
    3. Striving to achieve one’s best with persistence and imagination
    4. Willingness to make choices and to evaluate those choices
    5. Intellectual self-awareness: being conscious of one’s own thinking process, including the cultural and social contexts of that thinking
  4. Communication skills
    1. Writing and speaking with clarity and precision for diverse audiences
    2. Making use of computers and other technological tools
    3. Interpreting and communicating visual information

Part two: knowledge and understanding

Developing educated people requires intensive study in many areas of inquiry as well as interdisciplinary explorations. The process involves different modes of scholarly discourse and methods of inquiry that have evolved in various fields of study. General education provides students with an opportunity to perceive ways of linking the various areas of inquiry; in this way they can make creative and responsible connections not only among all of their general education courses, but also among major, minor and elective courses and co-curricular educational opportunities in the larger university community. The categories listed below should not be regarded as separate from one another but as interdependent areas of knowledge and understanding.

A. Understanding of the natural world

Study of the natural world provides an understanding of important principles and methodologies for making choices. Such study includes the following:

  1. Knowledge of the physical universe, including its origin and the physical laws governing it
  2. Knowledge of living systems, including their nature, organization and evolution 
  3. Understanding the history and methods of scientific inquiry and alternative explanations of the natural world
  4. Understanding the multiple influences on scientific inquiry and the consequences of science and technology
  5. Understanding the ways human choices affect the earth and living systems and the responsibilities of individual citizens and communities to preserve global resources

B. Understanding of culture and society

Informed choices require knowledge of what people have done and imagined, currently as well as historically. Choices are also tempered by knowledge of the social and cultural settings in which they are made or were made in the past. This learning includes the following:

  1. Knowledge of the many expressions of culture, including understanding of the unique shared ways of thinking, believing and acting, developed by a people who live together over a long period of time; ability to conceptualize and trace the influences of community, institutions and other constructions such as class, gender and race; familiarity with the ways in which culture is expressed artistically, through literature, performance and artifact; awareness of and appreciation for the ways in which culture and society influence and are influenced by work and leisure
  2. Understanding the sources and expression of diverse values throughout the world, including ethical, religious, aesthetic, political and economic values as well as social and cultural priorities 
  3. Ability to trace the impact of technology on societies and cultures for diverse audiences
  4. Understanding the ways human choices affect communities, from local to global, and responsibilities of individuals to assume the duties of citizenship
  5. Understanding the role of governmental regulation and of legal requirements, political processes, and financial and economic influences on decisions of individuals and society

C. Self-understanding

To make informed choices, one must understand the natural and the social context in which one lives and must heed the ancient injunction to “know thyself.” That self-understanding depends on the following:

  1. Understanding the nature of our humanness and how human beings are like and different from the other beings with whom they share the planet
  2. Knowledge of individual physical, emotional, intellectual, social and creative development as well as ability to use such knowledge to improve personal well-being
  3. Knowledge of individual physical, emotional, intellectual, social, historical, spatial and cultural matrices into which the individual is born and the influence of the unique set of experiences which the individual encounters

Ability to perceive one’s own being not only from cognitive perspectives but also from those perspectives which come from exposure to and creative vision of the arts to imagine the possibilities the future holds and to develop responsible goals for interactions with others, modes of personal expression and roles in improving the world.