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A New Foundation for Education

  • Winter Commencement

    New Beginning at Commencement

    Providing skills relevant to the workplace and life upon graduation

  • Help Desk

    Engage. Excite. Educate.

    Ensuring that students are getting the education Boise State has promised

  • Beyond the Classroom

    Beyond the Classroom

    Taking the exploration of ideas to a new level through research or service learning

  • Spring Campus Scenes

    Shared Experiences

    Emphasizing learning through shared experiences, no matter what major or area of study

  • Memorizing Facts vs. Exploring Ideas

    Memorizing Facts vs. Exploring Ideas

    Creating opportunities to ask questions, debate ideas and increase understanding

  • Transformational Education

    Transformational Education

    Moving curriculum from black and white to high definition by reforming core education

  • Nursing Simulation Center

    Teamwork and Innovation

    Practicing and performing essential skills in the nursing simulation center

For the Students: Why This Program is the Learning Foundation for Your Degree
Frequently Asked Questions: Current Students, Transfers and Future Students

More Connected to Real Life

The Foundational Studies Program is designed to expand thinking and turn on all the senses. It’s learning through doing. It’s experiencing something emotionally. It’s about asking your own questions. It’s about learning from stories as well as facts and figures.

This program emphasizes student learning through shared experiences, no matter what major or area of study. The path is no longer a straight line to a degree, but a journey following a map of discovery.

Four Years. Five Shared Experiences.

Regardless of the major degree, when students graduate, they will have four years of shared experiences in areas that are extremely relevant to the workplace and life.

  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Innovation & Teamwork
  • Ethics & Diversity
  • Disciplinary Outcomes

Foundational Studies

A Sample of Classes from the New Foundational Studies Program

How it Works in Our Minds and Lives

This course explores the phenomenon of ‘Story’ via perspectives including biology, neurology, psychology, history, literature, film, music, art and theater. Student projects include storytelling and the creation of an internet library of e-classics, as an enhancement of public domain literature and art.
Listen to the podcast to learn more about this class.

Why West Modernized
Before Asia and How Asia Caught Up

Asia was ahead of Europe in terms of technology, population and political unity up until the 18th century. Then the West surged ahead of the East.

Now some say – the world is flat. How have some Asian countries taken the economic, if not political, lead during the 21st century?
Listen to the podcast to learn more about this class.

Invention and Discovery

A spark, an idea, a crisis – what shapes the course of history and society? This class asks students to find out who were the dreamers and the doers behind great and small inventions and discoveries and what were the keys and circumstances leading to their success.
Listen to the podcast to learn more about this class.

With Liberty and Justice for All

What does ‘with liberty and justice for all’ mean in a global society? Students delve into questions of diversity, internationalization and ethics through today’s most pressing issues. This course takes students into the community to experience the context for these compelling questions.

In the western tradition, the university is a home for the exploration of all the truths that make up the human experience.

Yet, as modern universities like Boise State focus on economic development and the creation of a specialized, professional workforce for an increasingly technical economy and society, students run the risk of missing out on a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world in which they will work and live.

Read More

This fall, Boise State students begin a new curriculum regimen that redefines baseline elements of the undergraduate education offered at the university. Called the Foundational Studies Program, the new four-year program is designed to infuse students with lifelong learning skills and perspectives to help them thrive and grow as world citizens and in arenas far beyond the specifics of their chosen degree programs.

“The idea is that your college education is really a springboard. When you leave with a degree in hand, you’re not really done,” says Dr. Tony Roark, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of five key administrators who have led the collaborative wide-ranging process to create the program.

3D LabJoining Roark in overseeing the implementation of the program are Dr. Amy Moll, interim dean of the College of Engineering; Dr. Sharon McGuire, vice-provost for academic affairs; Dr. Susan Shadle, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; and Dr. Vicki Stieha, Foundational Studies Program director.

The Foundational Studies Program curriculum is centered around several new courses — Interdisciplinary University Foundations courses and the capstone Finishing Foundations course — required of all students at specific points during their undergraduate progress. These university-wide courses, team-taught by senior faculty members from all areas of campus, are designed to build on a series of learning outcomes within the topical clusters of writing, oral communication, critical inquiry, innovation and teamwork, ethics, and diversity and internationalization.

Additionally, students will take one to three new courses specific to their particular major called Disciplinary Lens and Communication in the Discipline courses. These courses will help students understand what role their chosen area of study plays in society, how that discipline is viewed generally and why it is important, as well as how those working in the discipline communicate with one another and those outside of the discipline.

“The people who have shepherded this have a lot of confidence in the skills and commitment of our faculty,” says Stieha.

Jonathan BrendefurThe program’s development began in 2007 with the formation of a 17-member faculty taskforce charged with reforming the university’s core curriculum. Since that time, more than 300 faculty and staff have helped craft the principles behind the program through forums, focus groups and workshops.

The entire curriculum is designed to help students become familiar with the kinds of inquiry central to higher education, including asking questions, debating ideas, research, innovation and problem solving. They incorporate teamwork and extend the educational experience beyond the classroom to include co-curricular activities such as international experience, servicelearning, internships and participation in student government. There is an emphasis on written and oral communication, and on understanding both complex and natural phenomena and diverse human behavior.

“A university degree should be as much about understanding how and where one’s expertise contributes to the larger world as it is about developing skills and understanding in one specific area of focus,” says Stieha. “Every student should know how those studying other topics view and interact with the world.”