Jul 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Madison Foundations (formerly Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century)


Sarah T. Brooks, Madison Foundations Coordinator

Madison Foundations is the cornerstone of General Education: The Human Community  at JMU, with course work requiring students to demonstrate:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Effective oral presentation skills
  • Effective writing skills
  • Competency in information literacy

Students will be able to use reading, writing, human communication, critical thinking, and information literacy skills for inquiring, learning, thinking and communicating in their personal, academic and civic lives. Competence in these areas is fundamental to subsequent study in major and professional programs. Therefore, all students complete Madison Foundations requirements during their first academic year, including their first summer, at JMU. 

Madison Foundations Learning Outcomes

After completing Madison Foundations, students should be able to use reading, writing, human communication, critical thinking and information literacy skills for inquiring, learning, thinking and communicating in their personal, academic and civic lives.

Critical Thinking

After completing a Critical Thinking course students will be able to:

  • Identify the basic components of arguments, including premises, supporting evidences, assumptions, conclusions and implications;
  • Evaluate claims and sources for clarity, credibility, reliability, accuracy and relevance;
  • Evaluate arguments for soundness, strength and completeness;
  • Demonstrate an intellectual disposition to be fair-minded in considering evidence, arguments and alternative points of view. 

Human Communication

After completing a Human Communication course students will be able to:

  • Explain the fundamental processes that significantly influence communication.
  • Construct messages consistent with the diversity of communication purpose, audience, context and ethics.
  • Respond to messages consistent with the diversity of communication purpose, audience, context and ethics.
  • Utilize information literacy skills expected of ethical communicators.

Writing

After completing a Writing course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of rhetorical knowledge, which may include the ability to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes and contexts in creating and comprehending texts.
  • Employ critical thinking, which includes the ability through reading, research and writing, to analyze a situation or text and make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis.
  • Employ writing processes.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of conventions, the formal and informal guidelines that define what is considered to be correct and appropriate in a variety of texts.
  • Compose in multiple environments using traditional and digital communication tools.

Information Literacy

Information Literacy is developed in all courses within Madison Foundations. Additionally, the Human Communication courses incorporate targeted learning modules with graded quizzes. After this broad, holistic curricular development of research skills and information literacy, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the components of scholarly work and that scholarship can take many forms. 
  • Demonstrate persistence and employ multiple strategies in research and discovery processes. 
  • Identify gaps in their own knowledge and formulate appropriate questions for investigations in academic settings. 
  • Evaluate the quality of information and acknowledge expertise. 
  • Use information effectively in their own work and make contextually appropriate choices for sharing their scholarship. 
  • Use information ethically and legally.

Madison Foundations Structure

Madison Foundations consists of nine credits distributed across four program requirements: Critical Thinking, Human Communication, Writing and Information Literacy. These requirements are satisfied with the completion of three courses: one each specifically for Critical Thinking, Human Communication, and Writing. These three courses collectively satisfy the Information Literacy requirement as well.

Completion of all requirements in Madison Foundations is required of students in their first academic year at JMU, and the courses may be taken in any order. Madison Foundations courses are not repeatable without permission, which is given based on course availability. There are no overrides available in Madison Foundations courses during the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer term is an additional opportunity to complete Madison Foundations coursework.

Madison Foundations Structure


Completion of all courses and tests in Madison Foundations is required of students in their first academic year at JMU.

Critical Thinking


Each of the courses satisfying the Critical Thinking requirement presents students with various techniques and approaches to critical thinking such as analyzing and evaluating information, arguments, premises and concepts. Critical thinking fosters inquiry and problem-solving abilities. Depending upon the course, the content focuses on the function of language, basic business principles, issues in recent history, mediated communication, informal logical reasoning or problem-solving in science and technology.

Additional Information


Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree may not use either PHIL 120  or PHIL 150  to fulfill the B.A. philosophy course requirement.

Students who have received credit for one Critical Thinking class are not eligible to receive credit for a second Critical Thinking class without permission.

Human Communication


Each of the courses satisfying the Human Communication requirement introduces students to the study of human communication as a process. Emphasis is on examining the role of self-concept, perception, culture, verbal and nonverbal dimensions in the communication process; applying critical listening skills; and developing skills in oral presentations. Depending upon the course, the content focuses on an overview of the principles and practices of interpersonal, small group and public communication, or constructing informative and persuasive speeches with an emphasis on individual public speaking contexts, or constructing informative and persuasive group presentations.

Additional Information


Students who have received credit for one Human Communication class are not eligible to receive credit for a second Human Communication class.

Writing


The course that satisfies the Writing requirement provides students with the tools to study the role of the writer, the purpose of documents, and the contexts and audience expectations within which documents are produced. Writing is taught as a process involving invention, collaboration, research and revision. Students read, analyze and create texts in multiple genres using traditional and digital communication tools. Content areas may include public and professional discourse, culture, humanities, and technology.

Complete the following:


Additional Information


Students may not repeat WRTC 103  for credit.