The Common Good

Learning goal, outcomes, rationale and implementation of the common good.


Learning Goal: The core curriculum is one of the key vehicles for living out the College's Catholic and Lasallian traditions, which ask students to explore the meaning of the common good. This goal encourages vigorous academic debate about different ideas of what the common good is and how it might be pursued.

Learning Outcomes: Students will complete two of the following outcomes:

  1. Reflect and write substantively on ways in which human beings find fulfillment in community; or
  2. Articulate, in prose or through another communicative medium, a critical account of just social order; or
  3. Demonstrate a capacity for coherent, principled analysis of concrete social problems.

Rationale (i.e., the intention of the proposed outcomes):  When we speak about the common good, we often mean the set of goods or conditions in a political community that best supports the flourishing of each person in the community  (Robert G. Kennedy, 2010).

Since liberal education is directed above all to developing students  capacities for judgment in theoretical and practical contexts, it is fitting, first, that the outcomes for learning in the light of  common good (or, perhaps better,  common goods ) stress reflection and judgment on the ends of human action in principle (learning outcomes #1 and #2) and in the concrete (learning outcomes #2 and #3). It is fitting; second, that students be invited (as they are in learning outcome #2) to offer reflection and judgment in variety of mediums that manifest the different ways we pursue the goods achievable by human endeavor. The requirement that students must complete only two of these outcomes enables the goal to be met in a variety of ways, including purely theoretical courses (fulfilling outcomes #1 and #2) and courses about concrete social problems (fulfilling outcomes #2 and #3). In any situation, students will have to critically analyze questions of social justice, which are raised from differing angles by both outcomes #2 and #3. Finally, these outcomes require students to explore one or more notions of the common good (in outcomes #1 and #2), which may include, but will not necessarily include, Catholic Social Teaching.

Implementation: All of the goals within Engaging the World respond to broad areas of concern that flow out of the Saint Mary s mission. Thus, students and faculty should have a wide degree of freedom (under the oversight of the Core Curriculum Committee) in seeking ways to explore these areas in the SMC curriculum. In particular, courses that fulfill the Common Good goals will often fulfill other goals, i.e., double-dipping is encouraged.

Proposal Evaluation and Recommendation Form: Used in determining 2013-14 Core. The Common Good

Courses and Experiences designated as fulfilling The Common Good:

  • Anthropology 1: Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology Proposal Syllabus
  • Business Administration: Interfaith Leadership in Business
  • Bonner Leaders Proposal
  • Classical Languages 100: Mythology
  • Communication 118: Media Law Proposal Syllabus

Questions? Contact the CCC