The Cardinal Directions Core Curriculum
The Cardinal Directions Core Curriculum hones critical communication, thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary for students to succeed at North Central College and beyond. In addition to an integrated seminar uniquely designed to help students transition to North Central, Cardinal Directions coursework offers a variety of well-tested “high impact” educational experiences to build skills sought by employers and graduate programs alike. Courses help students explore challenging topics from different perspectives, learn how to problem-solve and to participate effectively as ethical citizens and purposeful leaders in a diverse, globalized world. Students are encouraged to choose Cardinal Directions courses that speak to their personal interests and long-term goals. They can select one of eight “iCons” (short for interdisciplinary interconnections), which are groups of courses focused on a theme. Other Cardinal Directions requirements are filled through courses that supplement or expand beyond a student’s academic major(s) or minor(s).
The Cardinal Directions Core Curriculum consists of the following integrated areas of emphasis:
New students (first-time freshmen and transfer students with less than 28 accepted transfer credits) participate in a two-part, year-long First Year Seminar designed to provide transition, curricular, and cocurricular experiences appropriate to their preparation and previous experience with college-level learning. Each seminar enhances writing and speaking skills, explores the idea of community and place, and introduces students to the breadth of research, student leadership, study away and other cocurricular opportunities available as part of the North Central experience.
Developing a broad knowledge base prepares students to more readily manage complex questions and respond to real-world problems. Students explore this broader worldview through courses from each of the following disciplinary traditions: Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.
Courses with Mission Designations (U.S. Power Structures, Global Understanding, Ethical Dimensions) introduce students to the ideas and skills needed to embody the College mission: “We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical and purposeful citizens and leaders in local, national and global contexts.” Therefore, these courses foster civic engagement by helping students understand the inequalities that exist in the United States and by introducing them to our multicultural world and the effects of globalization. They also examine ethical values in various cultural contexts to help create “ethical and purposeful citizens and leaders.”
The Community Engaged Learning (CEL) experience will immerse students in a local, regional or global community to learn alongside community partners. Each CEL will provide students with opportunities to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet community needs. In addition, the Cardinal Directions Well Being requirement provides students with an introduction to holistic wellness and guides them in developing and practicing a well-balanced and purposeful life.
Writing in a Discipline and Quantitative Designations
Students will sharpen their writing skills in a particular discipline through one or more Writing Intensive courses and learn how to understand, develop and present quantitative information as part of the Quantitative Analysis requirement. Employers report that the ability to write effectively and to make sense of quantitative information are among the most important skills they seek when hiring new graduates.
Based on their own personal, academic and career interests, each student selects 16 credit hours of courses from at least three subject prefixes, that intersect with one of the following iCon (short for interdisciplinary interconnections) themes:
Cardinal Senior Seminar
This two-credit course will challenge students to reflect upon their Cardinal Directions coursework and its intersections with the rest of their North Central experience. Using their knowledge and skills learned at NCC, students will work in collaborative teams with fellow seniors to examine a complex world issue and present a response that might help society to address the problem.
Course Descriptions in this catalog note which Cardinal Directions requirement(s) a course fulfills. Students should work with their academic advisor to develop a plan to complete the Cardinal Directions Curriculum, major(s) and minor(s) requirements and overall graduation requirements.
All College Requirement (ACR)
The College’s commitment to career readiness builds in the junior and senior years at North Central, when student’s development allows for more advanced consideration of their personal career goals. All graduating students complete the following requirements:
Career Readiness - Preparation
Students build the foundation needed to design a career; exploring personal strengths and characteristics, as well as goals and values to connect to career and postgraduate plans. Through written communication such as resumes and cover letters and oral communication such as interview stories, students develop the skills to effectively translate experiences in meaningful ways.
Career Readiness - Experiential
The experiential aspect of the career readiness requirement is intended to help students gain experiences that mimic the postgraduate experiences they hope to have and to encourage career exploration for students considering multiple postgraduate options.
Experiential learning, including internships, undergraduate research and other practica experiences, integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application in a professional setting. Concurrent with these experiences, students reflect together with peers from across campus to process what they are learning and experiencing. Through personal reflection and engagement with classmates, students navigate the world of work and articulate the value of these experiences.
Course Descriptions in this catalog note which Cardinal Directions requirement(s) a course fulfills. Students should work with their Student Success Coach to develop a plan to complete the Cardinal Directions Curriculum, major(s) and minor(s) requirements and overall graduation requirements.
The Cardinal Directions Curriculum Map
See the Cardinal Directions Curriculum Map below for additional requirement details:
Curriculum Maps for Transfer Students
Transfer Students with an earned Associate Degree (A.A. or A.S.) at entry
Transfer Students with 28 or more earned credit hours at entry
a. An equivalent three credit transfer course may be used to fulfill a General Education requirement.
b. One course may fulfill a requirement in up to three different designations and count toward an iCon.
c.Must be taken at North Central College.