Miami Plan Perspectives Areas

Expand Your Intellectual Toolkit

Perspectives Area courses broaden students’ intellectual skills by equipping them to examine issues from the perspectives of different academic disciplines and interdisciplinary departments and to engage with different cultural and theoretical perspectives. These courses prepare students to bring new perspectives to bear on problems addressed in their future professional and civic life.

Guidelines for PA Courses

    1. Miami Plan courses hold only one or two Perspective Areas designations. However, they may not have two designations that are both ODHE disciplinary designations (math/reasoning, natural science, arts, humanities, social science). Even if a course is "interdisciplinary," only one of these disciplinary designations can be chosen for any given course.  DEI, Global Inquiry, Advanced Writing, or Intercultural Consciousness are not “disciplinary” designations.
    2. All relevant subject area SLOs must be met for any Perspectives Area course, and 70% of course time and content must meaningfully meet the SLOs.
    3. "Signature Inquiries" are not a Perspectives Area designation - they are a separate component of the Plan.  For students, SI hours may “overlap/dip” with Perspectives Area courses, and SI courses can carry PA designations. Thus a Signature Inquiry course could have e.g. Social Science, Intercultural Consciousness, DEI, or any other PA designation.
    4. 400-level courses may only carry EL or SC designations. Only Miami-led 400-level Study Away/Study Abroad courses may carry Perspectives Area designations.

Identify Your Perspectives Area

Faculty wishing to design a course for MP Perspective Areas should start by identifying which sub-area(s) is(are) most suited to the proposal.  Each PA subject area has unique Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).  In the CIM course proposal, you will be asked to substantiate each SLO with specific assignments students are doing to achieve the outcome.  

You will be asked to copy/paste the SLOs and contextualized assignments into a CIM text box. Note that content is secondary to assignments in substantiating SLOs, and content should only be used to contextualize the assignment as applied to the outcomes.

Formal Reasoning and Communication

(9 credits) Includes Composition, Advanced Writing, and Math/Logic/Formal Reasoning

Mathematics and Formal Reasoning (3 credits)

Courses in this area teach students to explore the logical and systematic methodologies used by philosophers, mathematicians, linguists and other scientists to examine and explore the world around us.  They apply logical, formal, or mathematical reasoning to problem solving and pattern finding at the inductive level; formal and abstract reasoning at the deductive level; or, a combination of both forms of arguments. Students will also explore the role of formal reasoning and logic in history, society, and the modern world and their application in formulating well-founded, ethical decisions.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Represent real-world situations using logical and/or quantitative concepts and methods

  2. Identify and evaluate necessary assumptions pertaining to logical and/or quantitative methods used to solve a problem

  3. Create and interpret logical and/or quantitative models or draw inferences based upon the estimation of models

  4. Evaluate solutions to logical and/or quantitative problems in terms of correctness or validity, e.g. estimability, empiricism, the existence of alternative solutions, or optimality - and, where applicable, social and ethical implications  

  5. Communicate solutions to logical and/or quantitative problems through the proper use of technology, spoken and written word, symbols, visual and/or auditory representation.

English Composition (3 credits)

Students must compose a substantial amount and variety of work in order to demonstrate that they have met the first four outcomes. Learning to write and writing to learn are often discrete activities, but both should be part of the writing class.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Rhetorical Knowledge: Demonstrate an ability to write effectively for different contexts, audiences, purposes, and genres, while in the meantime, develop an understanding of how rhetorical devices and moves work to enhance writings on specific communicative situations.
  2. Composing Processes: Develop effective strategies for developing ideas, researching topics, producing drafts, revising, peer responding, editing, and proofreading. Practice delivering writing via both print and digital media.
  3. Inquiry, Invention, and Research: Ask critical questions, conduct research-based inquiries, and use invention techniques effectively to explore ideas, engage differing perspectives, and synthesize findings into sustained arguments or narratives. Learn to locate, evaluate, integrate, and cite secondary sources of information effectively and ethically.
  4. Writing Technologies: Demonstrate a critical awareness of the affordances and limitations of the diverse writing technologies and modalities of communication, both digital and non-digital. Learn to effectively produce, share, and publish your writing by using appropriate technologies of production, editing, commenting, delivery, and sharing.
  5. Reflection and Meta-Cognitive Awareness: Apply concepts and terms from the field of rhetoric and composition to reflect critically on composing practices and rhetorical decisions, especially writing are shaped by and shaping your communities/identities, audiences, and the writing technologies in use.

Advanced Writing (3 credits)

These are 200- or 300-level courses that include both writing experiences and extensive writing instruction, e.g. extensive drafting and revising with instructor feedback followed by revision.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the advanced writing course (or course sequence), students should:

  1. Be able to read academic and/or professional or technical texts and understand how disciplinary conventions and goals shape the texts they read.

  2. Understand and use writing as a means of learning and thinking.

  3. Compose texts that respond to the needs of appropriate audiences, using suitable discourse conventions to shape those texts. Use academic conventions of format and structure when appropriate.

  4. Locate, evaluate, organize, and use appropriate primary and secondary research material.

  5. Compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from academic sources and other documents.

  6. Engage in extended drafting and revision of extended and formal texts using appropriate technologies and modalities

Departments can request input and assistance for courses they would like to be designated as ADVW. They can also advise their majors to take approved Advanced Writing courses taught by other departments. For further information, please visit the Howe Center for Writing Excellence Writing Across the Curriculum page. For general Proposal submission information, see below.

Science and Society

(12+ credits) Includes Natural Sciences, Social Sciences. Must have an additional Lab credit in the Natural Sciences.

Social Sciences (6 credits)

This requirement helps students to understand the complex connections individuals have to one another and to society more broadly. The social sciences are the systematic study of how people behave and interact at the individual and group level, including communities, institutions, and larger cultural groups. These courses prepare students to engage more thoughtfully with others in all aspects of life and equip students with the analytical tools necessary to understand and confront important problems in a globalized world.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Investigate human behavior, social relationships, and/or the interactions of people with their cultural, social and political environments.
  2. Examine social phenomena including distinct human communities, political processes and structures, interpersonal and intercultural relationships, economic behaviors, psychological phenomena, and the relationships that discrete human populations have with other subnational, national, or international entities.
  3. Explain the primary theoretical approaches used in the social science discipline.
  4. Analyze the primary quantitative and/or qualitative research methods used in social science discipline.
  5. Discuss the primary ethical issues raised by the practices and findings of the social science discipline.

Natural Sciences (6+ credits)

The Natural Science Perspective Area provides students with an appreciation of how science relates to everyday life by learning how scientific principles are developed, evaluated, and studied over the course of time. Students have the opportunity and flexibility to complete courses in biological or physical science, or a combination.   Biological Sciences involve the study of living organisms, including their origin, composition, function (molecular, cellular, and organismal) diversity, classification, ecology, evolution, and behavior. Physical Sciences comprise the disciplines that study the nature of energy and the inorganic world such as the areas of chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth sciences.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify basic facts, principles, theories and methods of modern science.
  2. Explain how scientific principles are formulated, evaluated, and either modified or validated.
  3. Critically evaluate current models and ideas in order to describe, explain, or predict natural phenomena.
  4. Apply scientific methods of inquiry appropriate to the discipline to gather data and draw evidence-based conclusions.
  5. Distinguish between science and technology and recognize the role of science in everyday life.
  6. Demonstrate understanding that new advances can change scientific knowledge and that it is critical to constantly evaluate information from a variety of sources.

In addition to achieving the MP Natural Sciences SLOs detailed above/elsewhere, approved Miami Plan Natural Sciences LAB components will achieve all the following objectives in the course’s “laboratory activities”:

  • involves realistic measurements of physical quantities;

  • involves data analysis, using data that are unique and/or physically authentic and that include random and/or systematic (natural) variability;

  • includes realistic interactions with experimental apparatus, and realistic manipulation of tools/ instruments and/or observed objects in space and time;

  • involves synchronous feedback² on safety (and consequences of unsafe actions), correctness of procedure, and progress toward experimental goals; and

  • involves effective interaction with the instructor at several points during each lab activity.

Arts and Humanities

(6 credits) Includes Creative Arts, Humanities

Creative Arts (3 credits)

Courses in creative disciplines, such as visual art, design, music, dance, technology, multimedia, and/or dramatic performance, help students understand, appreciate, and critically engage artistic artifacts. In addition, these courses emphasize the role of creative disciplines in a cultural framework. Creative Arts courses must meet all three of the following student learning outcomes:

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate a vocabulary for expression within the study of a creative discipline.
  2. Explain or apply a creative discipline's contexts, methods, meanings, or values.
  3. Synthesize ways of knowing and thinking in a creative discipline by creating or interpreting artistic artifacts, evidence, or processes.

Humanities (3 credits)

Disciplines within the humanities promote critical reflection about the world and human experience, and they study culture using methods that rely on, or are modeled after, the interpretation of texts. Humanities courses thus help students live more thoughtfully, read more insightfully, and understand how human beings make and remake the cultural realities in which they live.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Consciously employ principles, terminology, or methods characteristic of a discipline in the humanities.
  2. Analyze, interpret, compare, or evaluate primary texts or analogous cultural products or expressions (such as symbols, cultural practices, or constructed identities, which students “read” as if they were texts).
  3. Consider social, historical, or relational context while analyzing, interpreting, or evaluating cultural expressions.

Global Citizenship

(12 credits)

This Perspectives Area sets the Miami liberal education experience apart from general education programs at other universities. Miami’s liberal education program will include more intensive focus on global inquiry and intercultural consciousness than general education programs at other institutions. This 12-credit component will include three separate areas that are both distinct and complementary.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (3 credits)

These courses foster ethical citizenship and an awareness of the histories and sociocultural contexts in which diverse identities and social roles are created. These Foundational Area courses provide the knowledge and capacity for empathy and encourage further inquiry. DEI courses investigate identities, histories, and global processes as they relate to the US (broadly conceived). As an ODHE requirement, courses in this area must meet the these SLOs:

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to analyze the means by which identity—both individual and collective—is formed and expressed in a range of contexts through intersecting and constitutive features such as race, color, language, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, and socio-economic status, while also accounting for the ways identities and cultural biases are informed by historic, economic, political, and social factors
  2. Students will be able to describe and analyze some of the historical and social structures that have shaped modern ideas about identity and difference globally, including ethnocentrism, colonialism, slavery, democracy, and imperialism.
  3. Students will be able to define and analyze the historical, political, social and economic systems that influence distribution of, and access to, resources, while also showing knowledge of the inequalities that accrue from such systems.
  4. Students will be able to interpret diverse cultural practices from multiple perspectives;  identify cultural stereotypes and mitigate their impact on individuals and communities (Or) Explain empathy and develop strategies to embrace its value as both an individual and collective response to the needs and suffering of others.

Intercultural Consciousness (3-6 credits)

The Intercultural Consciousness requirement facilitates self-reflection and continued intercultural learning by focusing on a deeper understanding of self and others (e.g. biases, norms) in a multilingual and multicultural world. Students develop skills for human engagement and an openness to diverse cultural values. These courses build Foundational Area knowledge.

Student Learning Outcomes

Courses in this area will meet the following SLOs:

  1. Articulate or illustrate awareness of the complexities of difference across or within communities, peoples, and cultures.
  2. Explain the role of cultural differences in shaping their (the students') own attitudes or values.
  3. Analyze and/or describe how individuals or groups construct their identities in relation to categories such as race, gender, sexuality, caste, class, ability, ethncity, or nationalism; or, in relation to patterns of marginalization or domination.

Global Inquiry (3-6 credits)

Global Inquiry courses foster critical thinking about global power relations, international systems, and their consequences (e.g. migration effects, biodiversity, inequities) that stem from different types of forces and processes (e.g. historical, sociocultural, biological, political-economic). 

Student Learning Outcomes

Courses in this area will meet the following SLOs:

  1. Describe the origins and contexts of global forces and their impacts on individuals and collective groups

  2. Determine and assess relationships among societies, institutions, and systems in terms of reciprocal – though not necessarily symmetrical – interactions, benefits, and costs. 

  3. Identify and analyze the consequences of global forces and their impacts on individuals and collective groups.

Perspectives Area - Proposal Criteria

Student-centered course design is the most important component of any MP proposal. Courses should be designed around, and aligned with, MP outcomes.  The syllabus and assignments  should contextualize content and outcomes with transparent, student-facing language.

All MP course proposals are submitted through the CIM system. The course should be fully designed before beginning the CIM process.  You should be prepared to answer the following questions in CIM and provide the requested materials. CIM responses are for Liberal Education Council review, and the main difference between the Syllabus and the CIM page are the inclusion and substantiation of individual MP SLOs in CIM.

For MP Perspectives Area proposals, CIM will ask for the following information:

  • SYLLABUS: (uploaded) The syllabus is a representative, baseline document providing a detailed overview of your course.  It should describe to students what they will learn and do in your class and how it relates to the Miami Plan.  It is different from the CIM text box responses, described below, in both audience and genre.  The OLE/LEC only reviews items specifically related to content/topics, assignment/assessment descriptions, assignment weights, and pedagogy/class activities. The course topics and amount of time spent on them should be clear in a unit//module/week schedule.

    Do NOT cut and paste the Four Pillars descriptions and Miami Plan SLOs from the website into your syllabus. Rather, your course content and pedagogy should be reflected in the Four PIllars explanation required in an MP syllabus. MP outcomes should be succinctly integrated into your narrative, unique and contextualized, and make links among the course content, student assessments, pedagogy, and the overall MP.  

  • BASIC CIM INFORMATION:  Bulletin description, Course Rationale (an explanation of how the course fits into your curriculum and/or the MP), Enrollment restrictions, resources, regularity of offerings, and course-specific SLOs. NOTE:  Course-specific SLOs are distinct from any MP SLOs and are required of all courses regardless of MP status.  They should be original but reflect MP outcomes in some way. You will also be asked how you will ensure that each section and iteration of the course will meet the same SLOs.

  • FOUR PILLARS:  Provide specific information about how the course will meet each Pillar through activities, content, assignments, or pedagogical styles.  This explanation does not have to be long, but should be direct and student-facing. Unlike SLOs, the Four PIllars do not require specific assignments, and a well written explanation in the Syllabus can be simply pasted into CIM.
  • PERSPECTIVES AREA SLOS: This is the main difference between the Syllabus and the CIM submission.  You will need to copy/paste the relevant SLOs from this webpage into the appropriate text box of your CIM submission.  You will then address each SLO separately by explaining how students are achieving the outcomes through specific sample assignments.  In this space you can provide a detailed assignment description, or refer to longer assignments that are uploaded to CIM in a separate document.  NOTE: appx. 70% of the course should meaningfully engage the requested SLOs.
When you are ready to submit for approval, you must use the Curriculum Management System (CIM) on the Registrar's website.

How to use CIM

Propose a Course in CIM