In 1979, the College inaugurated a program of
interdisciplinary studies for all beginning students
seeking an integrated introduction to liberal education
at Assumption College.
The Program’s goal is to help students reflect
upon the heritage of the Western world, principally
through a study of primary sources. It is intended for
students of all majors as an excellent beginning to
whatever course of study they pursue at the College.
Moreover, the skills and knowledge that the students
acquire by completing the Program satisfy more than
half of the College’s general education requirements.
Assumption’s Foundations Program is unique
among interdisciplinary introductions to Western
Civilization in its emphases on cities, on tensions
among Western accounts of human excellence, on the
debate between ancient and moderns, and on the
study of the finest human accomplishments.
The Program is a set of four two-semester courses; each begins with the founding cities of our time. The historical repetition and overlap of the courses enable the student to firmly grasp the sequence and interaction of the major movements and achievements of the West. Through the History of Western Civilization and the Foundations of the West: Art and Politics courses, the first year of the Program initiates students into the study of the principles of Western Civilization. Together, these courses study the political and artistic achievements of cities from Athens to Washington, D.C. Through a study of the deeds, speeches, architecture, sculpture, and painting of exceptional citizens, students come to appreciate the need for human beings to be in a political community in order to achieve human excellence. Through the Literary Foundations of the West and the Foundations of the West: Religion and Philosophy courses, the second year of the Program studies the various and conflicting accounts of human excellence. The tensions among politics, philosophy, and revealed religion are central to the first semester; those among modern politics, Christianity, modern science, and modern philosophy are the concern of the second. These tensions give Western Civilization its vitality. The great works of Western Literature which are read at the same time support and image these theoretical accounts. By joining with the faculty in this integrated study of Western Civilization, students acquire excellent habits of inquiry, analysis, and writing. The Program gives students the opportunity to be thoughtful about the issues and complexities that educated people must address. It increases the students’ self-understanding and makes the excellence they study on their own. Public lectures and special Foundations events beyond the classroom, such as trips to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and plays at Worcester’s Foothills Theatre, also help to foster the development of an intellectual community among the students and faculty involved in the program.
For further information on the Foundations Program, contact Dr. Geoffrey M. Vaughan, director (email@example.com)
Students who find Foundations courses rewarding and wish to pursue them in an extended way have two options, the Minor in Foundations of Western Civilization and the Honors Certificate in Foundations of Western Civilization. The purpose of these further options is to enable students to expand and to integrate their knowledge of these primary works, bringing them to bear on their own lives.
Requirements: (6 courses total) for Minor in Foundations of Western Civilization:
Certificate in Foundations of Western Civilization:
Honors students must maintain a G.P.A. of 3.25 in
*In addition to the usual Foundations courses, students may request approval of the Director to count an Independent Study course or a course taken while studying abroad which studies a work, event or issue which is foundational to the West in situations*
Through volunteer, community service learning, student teaching and internship placements, students are contributing about 93,000 hours per year to our local communities.