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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.

The FFC consists of six main requirements:

1. First Year Studies (including the Writing Requirement)

2. Distribution Requirement

3. Cultural Diversity Requirement

4. Skills Requirement

5. Experiential Learning Requirement

6. Senior Studies Requirement

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. 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, students who need additional instruction and explicit guidance in writing processes and skills will be required to take College Writing 100 to prepare them to meet the expectations of the writing curriculum at the College. Recommendations for College Writing 100 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
Course Tag
Creative and Performing Arts CP           

 

Learning Goals

 

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
Course Tag
US Domestic Pluralism DP          


Learning Goals

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
Course Tag
Writing-Intensive W            

 
Learning Goals

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.

Experiential Learning Activities (EL)

The following activities can be used to satisfy the experiential learning requirement:

  1. Pre-Approved, Credit-Based Options (minimum of 1 credit)
    1. Course with an EL tag 
    2. For-credit internship 
    3. 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
      • For instance: for-credit independent research/creative project, for-credit practicum, for-credit peer teaching, for-credit peer mentoring, for-credit tutoring, 4-week Summer Richter, for-credit nursing internship 
  2. Non-Credit Options that Require Approval 
    1. Non-credit experiential project
      • For instance: career-related summer jobs; on-campus employment; non-credit peer teaching/mentoring/tutoring; non-credit research; organization, publicity, senior recital performance
    2. Retroactive experiential project (primarily for transfer students) 
      • For instance: internship, off-campus study, independent research/creative project that was completed before transferring to Lake Forest College

Written Reflection

In order to satisfy the experiential learning requirement, students must submit a 500-word written reflection following the completion of their experiential learning activity. The written reflection must adhere to the following guidelines

  • Summarize the project and evaluate how it applied skills that you gained in the classroom.
  • Explain how the project added new skills to your competencies.
  • 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.

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.