Hutchins Lower Division General Education Program

General Education Program - Lower Division First Year and Second Year Learning Community

The Hutchins Lower Division General Education Program is an FLC and SYE open to all SSU students

The Hutchins General Education Program is a first year learning community and so much more! We offer a unique, CSU-approved and articulated approach to first and second year general education (GE) requirements. The completion of four 6-9 unit, interdisciplinary seminars in addition to a GE B4 math course (taken outside of the Hutchins School) and a GE F Ethnic Studies course fulfills all SSU lower division General Education requirements.

By participating in a Sonoma State learning community, students are given an opportunity to connect with the university while taking innovative and academically enriching classes. Hutchins offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum that spans the first two years at SSU.

There are many benefits to actively participating in The Hutchins First and Second Year Learning Community: 

  • Guaranteed enrollment in 33 units of General Education covering all required areas (except MATH and area F)
  • A scholastically engaging learning environment
  • Academically-focused group activities, field trips and outdoor labs
  • The opportunity to create practical working relationships with faculty
  • Building a sense of camaraderie with other first and second year students
  • No tests! The learning and assessment happens through reading, writing, critical thinking and discussion
  • PDF iconHutchins flyer Low Division and FLC

Students in the Hutchins Lower Division GE Program may choose to pursue a B.A. in Liberal Studies or they may choose to declare another SSU major. Transfer students or first year students admitted to SSU with substantial GE course credit enter Hutchins at the upper division major instead of enrolling in Hutchins GE Program courses.

Why Hutchins is a Great Choice

First and Second Year Coursework Descriptions:

Rather than covering just two GE areas in a year-long course like a typical FLC, Hutchins GE Program students take an FLC or SYE course that covers 2-3 GE areas each semester. Students take four courses, one each semester during their first and second years at SSU. These courses integrate different GE areas together in a thematic approach focused on topical issues and classic questions. The Hutchins GE course sequence is as follows:

  • LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (9 units, first year fall): covers GE  A2, B2, B3, C1
  • LIBS 102: In Search of Self (6 units, first year spring): covers GE A1, C2, overlay of: American Institutions: American History [Recommended: take GE F Ethnic Studies course with LIBS 102]
  • LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (9 units, second year fall): covers GE A3, C2, E  
  • LIBS 202: Challenge and Response (9 units, second year spring): covers GE B1, and 6 units of D American Institutions: US Constitution/ CA State and Local Govn't
    • Total = 33 units of GE

First year Hutchins GE Program students also take a transition course, LIBS 103 (1 unit), fall and spring semester. Students who choose the writing support option on the GE A2 Directed Self-Placement survey enroll in LIBS 100 (2 units) during their first year fall semester along with taking LIBS 101.

Hutchins GE Program courses are organized into small seminar sections of 14-15 students that meet twice weekly with their instructor to discuss readings, films, presentations, and do other assignments. All seminar sections meet together in a weekly symposium for group activities, lectures, guest speakers, films, field trips, and more. Students develop a strong sense of membership in a learning community within their small seminars and across the entire group cohort. Our curriculum emphasizes excellence in written and oral communication and does not use testing to assess students. Rather, students are assessed based on their reading, writing, listening and speaking, creativity and critical thinking.

Descriptions of GE Program course content:

LIBS 101: The Human Enigma (9 units)
"The Human Enigma" focuses on the drawing on material about ancient and contemporary cultures, 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 (6 units) (Recommended: take GE F Ethnics Studies (3 units) along with LIBS 102)
"In Search of Self" focuses on the individual, exploring how personal history and political and historical environments shape the concept of self. This course develops a fuller understanding of these influences through historical exploration and creative expression, employing materials drawn from sociology, literature, history, politics and art.

LIBS 201: Exploring the Unknown (9 units)
"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 (9 units) 
"Challenge of response in the Modern Word" course is an examination of modern accomplishments and problems 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.