Resources for Faculty
Information about Portfolio Writing Assessment
- First-Stage Writing Portfolio FAQ for Faculty Members (PDF)
- Complete instructions for the first-stage writing portfolio (PDF)
Information about Core Requirements: Adopted Definitions
U.S. Diversity (CPUD)
These courses allow students to gain a greater appreciation of the myriad of perspectives found in a multicultural society and an understanding of the forces that create, contest, or maintain power, identity and difference. Courses satisfying this requirement study difference in the U.S.,with a focus on race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and/or sexuality; and use frameworks from different academic fields (such as but not limited to ethnic studies, gender studies, and religious studies) to explore how U.S. identity and experience have been shaped by a diverse array of intellectual and cultural influences and traditions. (Adopted by faculty vote on November 13, 2012.)
Global Connections (CPGC)
These courses provide students with an understanding of the interconnectedness of cultural, socioeconomic, and political systems on a global level. Courses satisfying this requirement have a global or transnational perspective and a comparative framework, exploring at least two nations or regions and their global interactions; and address in their content at least two interconnected systems (literary, artistic, religious, philological, economic, ecological, ideological, political, social,intellectual, scientific, etc.). (Adopted by faculty vote on November 13, 2012.)
Regional Focus (CPRF)
The purpose of the Core Program Regional Focus (CPRF) requirement is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of at least one specific geographical, national, or cultural region of the world outside of the U.S. A CPRF course focuses on a region through unifying characteristics, which could be literary, artistic, religious, philosophical, economic, ecological, ideological, political, social, intellectual, linguistic, scientific, etc.
Courses satisfying this requirement examine a region outside of the United States without privileging a U.S.-centric perspective. Course descriptions should indicate the specific region and the unifying characteristics that define the region. Note: if more than half of a course examines connections between multiple regions or is intended to focus on people, objects or ideas that circulate across boundaries, then that course might be better designated as fulfilling the Core Program Global Connections (CPGC) requirement.
In courses meeting this requirement, at least two-thirds of the course topics and materials must include a focus on a specified region outside of the United States.
No course can be designated as more than one of CPUD, CPRF, or CPGC.
Courses satisfying this requirement develop in students three or more of the following outcomes:
A critical understanding of institutions, culture, intellectual traditions, history, physical environment, and/or other significant aspects of a region outside the U.S.
A critical understanding of a region’s culture as constructed by individuals and/or groups in that region, and their perspective on the forces that create, contest, or maintain power, identity and difference.
A critical understanding of the significance of the global and geopolitical position of the selected region.
An ability to apply methodological and/or experience-based approaches to investigate institutions, culture, intellectual traditions, history, and/or the physical environment in the region.
(Adopted by faculty vote on May 8, 2020.)
The purpose of the pre-1800 requirement is to demonstrate to students the importance of the past. Across a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches including those of the Humanities, Arts, and Humanistic Social Sciences the study of the past broadens our awareness of human conditions and experience, enables us to situate the present in an historical trajectory, and provides us with resources for crafting our future.
In courses meeting this requirement, at least 50% of the course topics and materials are drawn from before 1800 CE.
Courses satisfying this requirement develop in students two or more of the following outcomes:
1. A critical awareness of how the past informs the present, providing an understanding of the conditions that made possible the break with or the persistence of social structures, organizational hierarchies, artistic productions, or patterns of thought.
2. A critical awareness of artistic productions, social structures, organizational hierarchies, political economies, or patterns of thought and practices that characterize historical communities and the experiences of peoples of the past.
3. A critical awareness of the past as a resource for imagining new ways of thinking, acting, organizing society, and forming community.
4. The critical skills of impartially, reasonably, accurately, and fairly understanding and representing a variety of ways of thinking and acting and of engaging with unfamiliar worldviews, ideas, and practices, in turn enabling students to responsibly navigate the pluralistic world of the present.
(Adopted by faculty vote on September 25, 2018.)
Other Core Requirements
The faculty has not adopted official definitions for Math/Science, Lab Science, Fine Arts, or Language requirements. Below are unofficial guidelines to help student identify transfer courses that may fulfill these requirements. In all cases, transfer courses must be approved by both the Core Program and the relevant Occidental department chair in order to used to fulfill a Core Requirement. Continuing students should submit the necessary paperwork with all approvals to the Registrar's Office prior to registering for a course at another institution.
- Math/Science (CPMS). Courses in the following disciplines are often approved to fulfill the Core Math/Science requirements: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, cognitive science, computer science, geology, kinesiology, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Courses outside of these areas will be considered if there is evidence (e.g. course description or syllabus) that they substantially engage in scientific or mathematical/quantitative modes of inquiry.
- Lab Science (CPLS). Courses in the following disciplines are often approved to fulfill the Core Lab Science requirement: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, cognitive science, computer science, geology, kinesiology, physics, and psychology. To fulfill this requirement, the course must have a laboratory component.
- Fine Arts (CPFA). Courses in the following disciplines are often approved to fulfill the Fine Arts requirements: art history, studio art, creative writing, film and media studies, music, and theater. Courses outside of these areas will be considered if there is evidence (e.g. course description or syllabus) that they substantially engage in the study or practice of fine arts.
- Language Proficiency (LANG). The Core Language Proficiency requirement can be fulfilled by completion of non-English language courses that is similar to one of Occidental's 102-level language courses (i.e. at the completion of the course, you should have skills equivalent to two semesters of college-level study). Continuing students should consult with the chair of an Occidental language department (Spanish & French Studies or Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture) for additional guidance.