Forester Fundamental Curriculum

All students must successfully complete the Forester Fundamental Curriculum (FFC) for graduation. The FFC is intended to ensure that students will receive breadth, as well as depth, in their education while continuing to allow them considerable latitude in designing their individual programs of study. The FFC also includes requirements for cultural diversity, specific skills (writing, speaking, technology), and experiential learning. The requirements are designed to ensure that all students achieve specific college-wide learning goals.

Faculty: for more information and detailed guidelines for these tags, visit the CPC page.

Transfer students: for more information on how your courses might transfer towards the FFC, visit the Admissions FFC page.

The FFC consists of six main requirements, and many courses are designed to fulfill more than one requirement. 

1. First Year Studies

The Forester Fundamental Curriculum begins with the College’s First-Year Studies Program, which was established to create a special, intellectually engaging atmosphere of close interaction between first-year students and their professors. First-Year Studies instructors also serve as the academic advisors for the students in their First-Year Studies (FIYS) course. These courses have as their principal aim the development of basic skills in writing, critical reading, analysis, and oral communication. The FIYS course is required of all students entering the College with fewer than four credits and does not meet any additional FFC requirement. 

First-Year Writing Requirement

The College supports the transition to the College’s writing intensive curriculum through First Year Studies (FIYS). Students write frequently in FIYS courses and are provided with substantial feedback on their writing to help them progress. While most students will make sufficient progress as writers in their First Year Studies courses to satisfy the First-Year Writing requirement, some will not satisfy their First-Year Writing requirement via First Year Studies alone. These students will need additional instruction and explicit guidance in writing processes in their second semester and will be placed on one of two paths towards completion of the First-Year Writing requirement: 

  • Path 1: Complete College Writing 100 (1.0 credits) 
  • Path 2: Concurrently complete a Writing-Intensive (1.0 credit course with the W tag) and a supplemental Academic Writing Studio course (0.25 credits) 

These two paths are designed to prepare students to meet the expectations of the writing curriculum at the College. Through an assessment process based on their writing practices and products in First Year Studies, students can be required to complete either Path 1 or Path 2 in their second term.  These placement decisions are made by the Director of Writing Programs, in collaboration with FIYS professors.

2. Distribution Requirement

Students must complete one course in each of the five areas listed below. Each course must come from a different department or interdisciplinary area (i.e. the requirement must be fulfilled with five courses with five different course prefixes). Courses satisfying this requirement will be tagged with the designation listed below in the course catalog and class schedule. 

Distribution Requirement Learning Goals

Distribution Requirement — Course Tag

  • Creative and Performing Arts — CP
  • Humanities — H
  • Natural Sciences — NS
  • Quantitative Reasoning — QR
  • Social Sciences — SS
3. Cultural Diversity Requirement

Students must complete one course in each of the two areas listed below. Courses satisfying this requirement will be tagged with the designation listed below in the course catalog and class schedule. 

Cultural Diversity Requirement Learning Goals

Cultural Diversity Requirement — Course Tag

  • US Domestic Pluralism — DP
  • Global Perspectives —  GP
4. Skills Requirement

Students must complete at least one course in each of the three component areas. Courses satisfying this requirement will be tagged with the designation listed below in the course catalog and class schedule.

Skills Requirement Learning Goals

Skills Requirement — Course Tag

  • Writing-Intensive — W
  • Speaking-Intensive — S
  • Technology-Intensive — T
5. Experiential Learning Requirement

The goal of this requirement is to ensure that students integrate their traditional classroom learning with experientially-based work. By connecting theory and practice, students develop new skills and extend their knowledge and training to unfamiliar tasks and situations beyond the classroom environment.

The Experiential Learning requirement is fulfilled in two parts: the completion of an appropriate experience or activity and the production of a written reflection.

5a. Activities and Experiences

The following activities can be used to satisfy the experiential learning requirement. Each activity links to frequently asked questions. 

  1. Pre-Approved, Credit-Based Options (minimum of 1 credit)
    1. Course with an EL tag 
    2. Career Advancement Center (CAC) internship program for academic credit (1.0 credit or more)
      1. You may also complete an internship for academic credit through our Chicago Programs (Lake Forest College In The Loop program during the academic year [fall and/or spring semester]; ACTIVATE program in summer), which also are supported by the CAC.
    3. Global Engagement Office (GEO) approved off-campus study
    4. Senior thesis 
    5. Independent research/creative project 
    6. For-credit summer research
    7. Fractional experiential credits that sum to 1.0 credit
      1. Sample fractional projects: for-credit independent research/creative project, for-credit practicum, for-credit peer teaching, for-credit peer mentoring, for-credit tutoring, 4-week Summer Richter, fractional for-credit internship
      2. When the fractional credits sum to 1.0 credit, students work with an academic advisor to review the FFC-EL Fractional Credit Completion Guide and submit the FFC-EL Fractional Credit Completion Form.
  2. Non-Credit Options that Require Approval (from the FFCIS: Forester Fundamental Curriculum Implementation Subcommittee)
    1. Non-credit experiential project (preferred method; provides pre-approval)
      1. Use this option to get pre-approval for a project that you have not yet started. Then, when the project is done, submit the completion form (see below).
      2. Sample non-credit projects: non-credit internships; non-credit peer teaching; non-credit peer mentoring; non-credit peer tutoring; non-credit research; career-related summer employment; relevant on-campus employment; organization, publicity, senior recital performance.
      3. Students work with a faculty project supervisor to propose a non-credit project and attain pre-approval from FFCIS before embarking on the experience ( see FFC-EL Non-Credit Application Guide and FFC-EL Non-Credit Application Form).
      4. At the conclusion of the project, students work with a faculty member to review the FFC-EL Non-Credit Completion Guide and submit the FFC-EL Non-Credit Completion Form).
    2. Retroactive experiential project (unpreferred method; lacks pre-approval)  
      1. Use this option if you did not get pre-approved via 2a above AND your project is already complete. Since the project was not pre-approved, there is a risk that it will not be approved to satisfy the FFC-EL requirement. Whereas 2b is an acceptable method, 2a is preferred because it provides pre-approval before students embark on the project.
      2. Sample retroactive (already-completed) projects: non-credit internship; off-campus study (not GEO-approved); independent research/creative project completed before transferring to Lake Forest College; career-related summer employment.
      3. Students work with an academic advisor to propose a project for an already-completed experience. Together, they review the FFC-EL Retroactive Application Guide and submit the FFC-EL Retroactive Application Form.

5b. Written Reflection Guidelines

Students must submit a written reflection (500-word minimum) that adheres to the following guidelines:

  1. Summarize the project and evaluate how it applied skills that you gained in the classroom.
  2. Explain how the project added new skills to your competencies.
  3. Articulate how you will describe to a prospective employer, graduate school, or other audience the ways in which this experience contributed to and enhanced your education.

Generally, the reflection is submitted to and approved by the supervisor of the experience (e.g., instructor for the EL course, CAC internship supervisor, GEO director, faculty supervisor, academic advisor etc.). These are stored electronically and will be used in future assessment of the FFC Experiential Learning requirement.

6. Senior Studies Requirement

A senior studies course, also known as a senior “capstone,” is a culminating experience in the student’s major. The course emphasizes writing and speaking and encourages integration of the methods and content explored in the major. Students must fulfill this requirement, for which courses are specially designated within their major department. Senior theses, research projects, and creative projects may also be used to fulfill the senior studies requirement if so designated in the major requirements or with permission of the department chairperson. Students who have more than one major must satisfy the senior studies requirement in each of their majors.