Liberal arts learning outcomes

That curriculum emphasizes these learning outcomes:

  1. critical thinking: to “interrogate the grounds of their own thinking”
  2. creativity
  3. communication: to “convey ideas sharply and vividly in multiple forms,” through graphics and data as well as through words
  4. quantitative literacy: to “reason with and solve problems with” quantitative means
  5. ethical reasoning: to “think about how your decisions and actions affect others”

These core tenets correspond with what employers say they want from their workers. In one study, employers listed as very important the following among the top 15 skills: critical thinking; ethical judgment and reasoning; ability to communicate through writing; creative thinking; ability to communicate through speaking/presentation skills; and ability to work with numbers and statistics. The pedagogy emphasizes high-impact practices: learning communities, writing-intensives, collaborative projects, and service- or community-based learning.

Students take eight courses, at least one of which must hit upon one of the five learning outcomes. Eastern caps liberal arts core seminars at 20 students. Average class size is 21.

Eastern Connecticut State University has about 3300 undergrads, 31% people of color from 32 states and eight countries. Advisers help students chart their “Eastern in 4” pathway. Each student gets two advisers for the entire four years, plus advisers for student organizations. An academic support center and psychological services round out the support.

The average GPA for admission is 3.4, and the school remains test-optional.

The town of Willimantic has a fascination with frogs.

Free tuition for honors

As counselors in the IECA group touring Hartford-area schools, I was particularly interested in the phenomenal deal for students admitted to the honors program at Eastern. It requires a separate application, but whether you live in Connecticut or out of state, if you’re admitted to the program, Eastern waives tuition and fees. That means you pay only for room and board. And the program is rigorous, with honors colloquia classes and directed honors research culminating in a thesis.

With the exception of nursing, which is a direct-admit program, you are admitted to the university as a whole and declare your major at the end of your sophomore year. Psychology and business are popular majors.

In-state total cost of attendance runs around $30K, and out-of-state around $34K. I’d recommend Eastern to students who want a liberal arts experience with a reasonable price tag, even for those coming from outside Connecticut, especially if they have a shot at honors.

Consider Eastern Connecticut for liberal arts at low cost