Faculty Offices East (Bldg. 25), Room 125B
Department Director: Lola Berber-Jimenez
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Liberal Studies is Cal Poly's pre-credential teacher preparation program. The mission of Liberal Studies is to ensure that students are prepared to teach competently and professionally each of the seven domains in the state-mandated curriculum (K-8). These include language arts, mathematics, science, history/social sciences, visual and performing arts, health/physical education, and human development. Liberal Studies provides the educational experience and preparation best suited for the prospective elementary teacher. Upon completion of this undergraduate degree, students are eligible to enter a multiple subject credential program.
Faculty from the following disciplines help to offer the required curriculum in the major: Biological Sciences, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Kinesiology and Public Health, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Physics, Psychology and Child Development, Social Sciences, Statistics, Theatre, and Education.
BS Liberal Studies
The BS Liberal Studies degree directly addresses California’s need to produce more and better-trained elementary school teachers. LS graduates will be especially well prepared in the “high-need” teaching areas of science, mathematics, and reading. Students have the opportunity to earn a BS in four years including education classes that are pre-requisites to entering Cal Poly's multiple subject credential program.
A depth of study is required to earn a BS at Cal Poly. Liberal Studies majors select one of the following concentrations or listed minors that count towards a concentration. Students may also choose an individualized course of study with prior approval from the department chair.
Liberal Studies students may take any minor at Cal Poly; however, only the minors listed below will count towards a concentration.
- History/Social Sciences
- Human Development
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Minors that can be taken in place of a concentration
- Ethnic Studies
Students in the Liberal Studies major will complete pre-requisite courses for the Cal Poly Multiple Subject teaching credential program. A Multiple Subject teaching credential requires one additional year. Application to credential programs is done during the last two quarters of the BS Liberal Studies degree. For more information about Cal Poly’s Multiple Subject teaching credential program: https://soe.calpoly.edu/content/multiple-subject
How to Read Course Descriptions
The bolded first line begins with a capitalized abbreviation that designates the subject area followed by the course number and title. The unit value is also displayed.
CR/NC: Indicates a course is offered on a Credit/No Credit grading basis only.
GE Area: Indicates the General Education (GE) Area for which the course may fulfill a requirement. See the course description for details.
USCP: Indicates that credit in the course satisfies the U.S. Cultural Pluralism requirement.
GWR: Indicates the course will satisfy the Graduation Writing Requirement, if the student earns a grade of C or better AND receives certification of proficiency in writing based on a 500-word in-class essay.
Prerequisite: Coursework to be completed and/or requirements to be met before taking the course
Corequisite: Course or courses that must be taken in a previous term or in the same term
Concurrent: Course or courses that must be taken in the same term
Recommended: Course with supporting content that is recommended, but is not required to be taken in a previous term or in the same term
The course description summarizes the purpose and key topical areas of the course, and includes special requirements if they exist. It indicates the mode of instruction, such as lecture and/or laboratory; if no mode is indicated, the course is supervised independent study. If a course can be taken more than once for credit, the description will indicate that either major credit or total credit is limited to a specified number of units. Some course descriptions end with information about whether the course was "formerly" another course or whether the course is cross-listed. A cross-listed course is the same course offered within multiple subject areas, MCRO/WVIT 301 Wine Microbiology for example.
LS 201. Orientation to Liberal Studies. 1 unit
Career and academic planning, co-curricular, extra-curricular opportunities, and pathway into a K-8 teaching profession. Academic policies and procedures, goal settings, elements of career in education, and other topics relevant to student and professional success. Intended for new students in the Liberal Studies major. Not open to students with credit in LS 101. 1 activity.
LS 211. Visual Arts in the Elementary Classroom. 4 units
Theory, aesthetics, appreciation and applications of visual arts, through multiple two dimensional art strategies, as related to educational processes for the elementary classroom. Focus on elements, principles of design while fostering artistic perception. One Saturday field trip required. 3 lectures, 1 laboratory.
LS 214. Constitutional Issues in the History of U.S. and California Education. 4 units
Examination of U.S. and California constitutions, significant legislation, and court cases affecting public education from the colonial period to the present. Overview of contributions by individuals of historical, national, and international educational significance. Examination of landmark decisions. 4 lectures.
LS 230. Field Experience in the Elementary Classroom I. 2 units
Overview of current practices and issues in elementary education, including teacher compensation, cultural impact on schools, time and classroom management, English learners, and the affective aspect of teaching. 24 hours of fieldwork required. 2 activities.
LS 250. Field Experience in the Elementary Classroom II. 2 units
Overview of current practices and issues in elementary education, including components of effective teaching, motivating students, diagnostic/prescriptive teaching, curriculum, and accountability. In addition to class time, 24 hours of fieldwork required. Participation in public schools requires fingerprint clearance. 2 activities.
LS 255. Children's Literature in a Diverse Society. 4 units
2020-21 or later catalog: GE Area C2
2019-20 or earlier: GE Area C1 or C2
Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A with grades of C- or better.
Culturally diverse children's literature with a focus on analysis and evaluation of literary elements and structures, critical perspectives, trends, and issues. A wide range of authors, genres and formats including folktales, fantasy, poetry, informational, historical and realistic fiction books. 4 lectures. Crosslisted as ENGL/LS 255. Fulfills GE Area C2 (GE Area C1 or GE Area C2 for students on the 2019-20 or earlier catalogs).
LS 290. Selected Topics. 1-4 units
Prerequisite: Open to undergraduate students and consent of instructor.
Directed group study of selected topics. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.
LS 301. Liberal Studies Career Preparation. 1 unit
Prerequisite: Junior standing and LS 201.
Overview of ethical, legal, and historical issues in education; major foundational philosophies in American public education. Career pathways in education, targeted advising, portfolio building and professional goals and opportunities. Not open to students with credit in LS 101. 1 activity.
LS 305. Project Based Learning in STEM Education. 2 units
Prerequisite: Completion of GE Areas B1 through B4, with a grade of C- or better in one course in GE Area B4 (GE Area B1 for students on the 2019-20 or earlier catalogs).
Extended collaborative study of a question or problem in STEM using a Project Based Learning (PBL) environment; includes consideration of the educational framework and principles of PBL. Topics will have an engineering design component that will require application of mathematics, technology, and science. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 4 units. Credit/No Credit grading only. 2 activities.
LS 310. Storytelling: Modern Applications of Traditional Narrative. 4 units
Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A1 with a grade of C- or better (GE Area A2 for students on the 2019-20 or earlier catalogs).
Techniques for selection, preparation and presentation of traditional folktales and myths for an audience. Discussion of theatrical and storytelling techniques. Applications of storytelling in teaching and organizations; theory and history of folk literature and mythology. 4 lectures.
LS 370. Performing Arts in the Elementary Classroom. 4 units
Current theory and practice of standards based performing arts with an emphasis on the use of music, theater, media arts and dance, as discrete disciplines with historical and cultural context in the classroom. Attendance at outside performances required. 4 lectures.
LS 380. Education Apprenticeship. 2 units
Prerequisite: Junior standing and consent of instructor.
Structured application of subject matter content in schools and informal educational settings. Topics include: Arts, English, Science, Mathematics, History/Social Studies, Physical Education and Health, Interdisciplinary K-8 Education, and Animal-Assisted Education in Schools. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Participation in public schools requires mandated fingerprint clearance. Total credit limited to 4 units. Credit/No Credit grading only. 2 activities.
LS 400. Special Problems for Advanced Undergraduates. 1-2 units
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor, junior standing.
Individual investigation, research, studies, or surveys of selected problems. Total credit limited to 4 units, with a maximum of 2 units per quarter.
LS 411. Advanced History/Social Sciences Integration for the K-8 Classroom. 4 units
Prerequisite: One course in GE Upper-Division D (GE Area D5 for students on the 2019-20 or earlier catalogs); HIST 208; LS major; and senior standing.
Analysis and practice of history and social sciences knowledge and skills to facilitate K-8 learning through identifying major themes and questions. The use of inquiry, assessment, curriculum integration, and technology to connect discipline specific content to contemporary social issues. 3 seminars, 1 activity.
LS 412. Advanced Arts Integration for the K-8 Classroom. 4 units
Prerequisite: LS 211 and senior standing.
Analysis and practice of Arts knowledge and skills to facilitate K-8 learning through identifying major themes and questions. The use of inquiry, assessment, curriculum integration, and technology to connect discipline specific content to contemporary social issues. Field trips required. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 4 lectures.
LS 413. Advanced Science/Engineering Integration for the K-8 Classroom. 4 units
Analysis and practice of science and engineering knowledge and skills to facilitate K-8 learning through identifying major themes and questions. Use of inquiry, assessment, curriculum integration, and technology to connect discipline specific content to contemporary social issues. 3 lectures, 1 activity.
LS 461. Senior Project Seminar. 4 units
Prerequisite: Senior standing, completion of GWR or consent of instructor.
Examination of issues in education of state, national and international concern. Students prepare presentations and conduct individual research and analysis of selected problems. Substantial research paper required. 4 seminars.
LS 462. Senior Project Research. 2-4 units
Application of content and theory to the educational experience of one specific subject matter area in the Liberal Studies program. Total credit limited to 4 units.
LS 470. Selected Advanced Topics. 1-4 units
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Directed group study of selected topics for advanced students. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.
B.S., Universidad LaSalle, 1983; Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1990. K-5 Teaching Credential.
B.A., Harvard University, 1991; Ed.M, Harvard University, 1994 & 2012; Ph.D., Stanford University, 2018.
B.S., George Washington University, 1998; M.A., University of California, San Diego, 2001; Ph.D., 2004.
B.S. & B.A., University of Arizona, 2009; M.A., Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara, 2017; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2019.