Lower Division General Education

The Lower Division program of the Hutchins School fulfills, with the exception of mathematics, all Sonoma State University lower-division General Education requirements. Upon completion of the Lower Division General Education program in Hutchins, students may elect to continue in the program as a Liberal Studies Major, or they may transfer into another Major at any point in the program. The Lower Division program consists of four interdisciplinary seminars of 12 units each, taken successively as follows:

LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (offered in Fall)
LIBS 102: In Search of Self (offered in Spring)
LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (offered in Fall)
LIBS 202: Challenge and Response (offered in Spring)

Each seminar is made up of 15 students and a professor. Learning proceeds by a process of reading, writing, and discussion, in which all students are urged to take an active part. There are generally four to six sections of each seminar offered simultaneously, so that each seminar is part of a larger learning community that meets together once a week for lectures, field trips, labs, and other group projects.

Strongly emphasizing excellence in written communication, the lower-division program includes extensive writing projects and regular tutorials. The emphasis throughout is on the critical examination of contemporary problems in their historical contexts. Each student is expected to arrive at conclusions that result from personal reflection and exploration of the ideas of major thinkers in diverse fields. At the end of every semester, the student receives an official grade, which can be either a traditional letter grade (A-F) or credit or no credit, depending on the grading option the student has selected during class registration (LIBS 101 is exclusively credit/no credit).

Lower Division Courses

LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (12 units in Fall Semester)
Drawing on material about small-scale societies, ancient Greek culture, and contemporary civilizations, this course concentrates—within a comparative framework—on the development of cultural values, the concept of human nature, the growth of self-awareness, and the emergence of scientific and abstract thought.

LIBS 102: In Search of Self (12 units in the Spring Semester)
This course focuses on the individual, exploring how personal history, unconcious processes, and political and historical environments shape the concept of self. This course develops a fuller understanding of these influences through scientific investigation, historical exploration and creative expression, employing materials drawn from biology, psychology, sociology, literature, history, politics and art.

LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (12 units in the Fall Semester)
Exploring the Unknown is an investigation of the meaning and limits of knowledge with respect to the nature of the mind and physical reality. These issues are pursued through several different but interrelated fields of study, including literature, art, philosophy, comparative religions and science. The course considers Newtonian and quantum mechanical theories of physical reality, the religions of various cultures, and the functions of myth and religious language. The term includes a section focusing on the nature of human creativity.

LIBS 202: Challenge of Response in the Modern World (12 units in the Spring Semester)
This course is an examination of modern accomplishments and prolems that have derived from several sources: the 18th century mechanical models, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, and rise of modern economic theories. Asking how it is possible in the 21st century to live a moral life, the course examines the rise of individualism, the tension between personal and social values, the problems of poverty and the distribution of wealth, and the multiple consequences of modern technology.

GE Laboratory Requirement fulfilled by completion of four semesters in the lower-division program.

Small, seminar-based classes help create a sense of friendship and community among Hutchins School students.