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.
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.
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.
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 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.