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A liberal arts education contains three components: general education, which provides a structured breadth of knowledge and development of skills; the major, which promotes specialized, in-depth knowledge and hones and expands the skills necessary to use that knowledge; and the free electives, which broaden areas of personal interest. Though separate components, they reinforce each other in developing a student who has specialized knowledge and skills yet who is also cognizant of the broader perspective and is confident and effective in confronting issues outside the areas of specialization. Further, the General Education Program assists and complements the major by providing a liberal context for the pursuit of that specialized study.
Students should expect to face accelerating change and complexity and fresh challenges after college. Coping with the future will require constant learning. No amount of information or facts acquired at college will suffice. Hence contemporary students need to learn how to learn. Learning how to learn implies the development of skills and abilities. Therefore, the General Education Program emphasizes the development of the knowledge, skills and abilities that characterize the Potsdam Graduate. The Potsdam Graduate and the General Education Program define learning in terms of the knowledge, skills and experiences our students are encouraged to gain during their time at SUNY Potsdam.
Director, General Education Program
Alan L. Hersker, Ph.D.