Liberal Arts Core Mission

This mission of the Liberal Arts Core is to provide students with a foundation and global orientation in the arts, humanities and the natural and social sciences, thereby cultivating in students ability to reflect on truth, beauty, goodness and the Christian faith.

Liberal Arts Core Goals

  1. To develop students' rhetorical skills across the disciplines;
  2. To develop students' capacity for quantitative thinking and scientific inquiry;
  3.  To develop students' information literacy and research skills and sensibilities;
  4.  To develop students' familiarity with and appreciation for the Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts;
  5.  To equip students to develop into mature Christians.

Transferable Skills and Virtues

The liberal arts core requirements for the bachelor’s degree are designed to help students develop basic competencies, knowledge and values that are characteristic of maturing, educated Christians. In other words, the core classes at the University of Sioux Falls are designed to help each student develop both skills and virtues. The skills developed in the liberal arts core are skills that you will need to get your first job once you graduate from college and will continue to need in order to get your fourth or fifth job. In other words, these are skills that are necessary for any job you might have, and they are skills that you can transfer from one job to the next. These transferable skills include the following:

  • Reading for comprehension
  • Writing in order to be understood
  • Thinking clearly and coherently
  • Speaking in order to inform and/or persuade
  • Collaborating with others

The virtues USF hopes to develop in the liberal arts core classes are character traits that are necessary to being a fully formed, mature human being and Christian. These virtues will not simply help you get a job (although they can certainly do that), but more importantly they will help you become the kind of person God intends for you to be, the kind that is conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. These virtues include such things as:

  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Self-control
  • Faithfulness
  • Kindness
  • Justice
  • Joy
  • Peace

In order to help our students develop these skills and virtues, the faculty at the University of Sioux Falls believes their role is twofold. First, they aim to create a safe environment in which our students can learn, practice, grow and even fail in all these areas without fear of condemnation, judgment or ridicule. USF hopes that each student feels that he or she can ask questions, offer opinions and ideas, and practice skills in this classroom environment.

At the same time, the faculty also challenge our students to grow, think about new things and become more nuanced persons. While this can at times feel uncomfortable, it is in these moments that our students truly begin to experience the power of a liberal arts education. USF believes that our students a can and will be transformed as they encounter and interact with the truly good and beautiful ideas inherent in the Liberal Arts.


  1. Rhetoric: Students will use language proficiently, including mechanics, grammar, and syntax; analyze content and organize effectively; and adapt their speaking or writing to fit different contexts and purposes.
  2. Quantitative Thinking: Students will use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric, or statistical methods to solve authentic problems; to recognize the abstract order described by mathematics and identify evidence of that order in creation.
  3. Scientific Inquiry: Students will demonstrate knowledge of and facility in observation, discovery, and research; demonstrate competency in a laboratory setting and experimental techniques to study the principles of science.
  4. Aesthetic Awareness and Creative Activity: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the basic elements and tools of artists; describe, analyze, and interpret art forms; and demonstrate aesthetic awareness.
  5. Social Analysis of Human Behavior: Students will demonstrate facility in analyzing and understanding human behavior in social, political, economic, and psychological contexts through various theoretical and methodological approaches; students will use empirical data responsibly.
  6. Analysis of Texts and Cultures: Students will critically analyze texts; engage and respond to texts; analyze cultural, social, philosophical, literary, and/or historical contexts; interpret texts responsibly and with facility.
  7. Biblical Perspective and Knowledge of Christian Theology: Students will demonstrate a basic sense of the nature and message of the biblical materials, of the principles of hermeneutics, and of the range and connections of Christian doctrine; demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of Christian traditions; be able to study the Bible and basic theological texts.
  8. Intercultural Awareness: Students will demonstrate an understanding and awareness of their own cultural identity—religious, social, cultural, political—and how this identity shapes and affects their understanding of other cultures and demonstrate an understanding of how their cultural identity can be enriched by knowledge of and engagement with cultures other than their own.