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Core Curriculum Policy

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Daemen College recognizes that education must prepare students for professional, intellectual, and civic leadership. Key to fostering the student’s development in these areas is the Core Curriculum – a common educational experience for all students, regardless of major. The Daemen College core is designed to strengthen students’ intellectual curiosity, professionalism, sense of civic responsibility, and ability to deal with change.

The core experience consists of seven essential competencies. These competencies are introduced at the freshmen level and are reinforced throughout the entire curriculum.  As a result of this regular exposure and practice, students develop a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the skills which will be the foundation of their professional future.  As students complete the core they acquire the ability to think, adapt, and act in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing multicultural environment.

The core requires successful completion of 45 credits of approved core course work outside the major, of which at least nine credit hours must be taken at the 300-400 level.

The core curriculum entails successful completion of a set of requirements as follows. (These requirements may be satisfied anywhere in the student’s program.)

  • Successful completion of 3 credit hours in each of the 7 competencies:
    affective awareness
    civic responsibility
    communication skills
    contextual integration
    critical thinking and creative problem solving
    information literacy
    moral and ethical discernment
  • Learning Communities: Normally comprise two courses with a common theme. Students must complete:
    Learning Community I (IND101 + linked course)
    Learning Community II (two linked courses)
  • Quantitative Literacy: 3 credit hours
  • Research/Presentation: 3 credit hours
  • Service Learning: 3 credit hours (Note that a maximum of 9 credit hours in Service Learning courses are allowed as part of the 45 credits in the core.)
  • Writing Intensive:
    CMP101 English Composition (or its equivalent) (3 credit hours);
    3 credits hours in addition to Research and Presentation, which is also writing intensive

Note: Courses accepted for transfer (other than those equivalent to CMP101 English Composition) will not satisfy core requirements unless approved by the Core Director.

The Seven Competencies

The seven competencies described below comprise the heart of Daemen’s core curriculum. Every course approved for core credit includes at least three competencies, including at least one primary competency. Course syllabi explicitly state the learning objectives that relate to the competencies and the assessment techniques that will be used to determine if the student demonstrates mastery of the competency. The seven competencies are:


Critical thinking employs intellectual skills such as observation, classification, analysis, and synthesis in a reasonable and reflective manner to arrive at meaningful decisions. Creative problem solvers think analytically (cognitively and affectively) and integrate various forms of disparate information into a coherent whole. They demonstrate the ability to reason both inductively and deductively, generate alternative choices, consider consequences associated with each choice, and arrive at a reasonable decision in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts.


Information Literacy is defined as the ability to know when there is a need for information, and to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.


Effective communication includes grammatical and technical competency as well as the ability to communicate across cultural boundaries with an awareness of the rhetorical effects of language in a variety of situational contexts (including non-verbal). An ongoing writing curriculum embedded throughout the core will enhance a student’s abilities to organize ideas coherently and strategically, to choose words precisely for different levels of discourse, and to evaluate appropriate tone in a variety of discursive situations.


Affective awareness emanates from the relationship between sensory experience and emotional response. A sensory experience can move people to great emotional depths and can provoke powerful sensations. An affective process reveals biases, identifies patterns, creates meaning in response to this perception. By assessing affective awareness, one gains aesthetic sensibility to respond knowingly and probingly to the myriad appeals to affective consciousness that characterize contemporary culture.


Moral and ethical discernment is defined as a non-judgmental understanding of how moral and ethical standards are formed, how they influence aspects of our lives, and how they shape public discourse and policy. Moral and ethical discernment is linked to such concepts as integrity, objectivity, public interest, and justice.


Developing contextual understanding allows individuals to identify and integrate relevant past and present issues affecting individuals, organizations, local societies, and global communities and to understand the constraints and impacts of social, cultural, environmental, political, and other contexts on issues and solutions.


Civic responsibility is grounded in an appreciation that the health of local, national, and global communities is dependent on the direct and active participation of all members in the well being of the community as a whole. Developing civic responsibility enables individuals to transform their social interests into personal advocacy and social participation in local and global communities. Civic responsibility entails a life-long commitment to addressing problems these communities face.

Updated on April 3, 2023

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