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Academics & the Arts

Transforming Lives Through the Core

Many people think a “core” is a bunch of basic courses everyone has to take.  Courses to check off as fast as possible to get to "major classes". And many students have already checked off a bunch of them in high school or community college.

Not so fast!  Becoming an educated adult is much more than gaining knowledge and skills in classes related to a declared major.  At Grand View, we’re aware that the depth and breadth of education as a whole person matters to our student's lives as part of a local -- and global – community, to their relationships, and to their future employers.

How is GV’s core different?
We listen, especially when employers talk. They tell us that, nationally, recent college graduates have a long way to go in some very important areas, that more than forty percent of them need a lot of improvement in …

  • Writing and communication skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Thinking creatively
  • Math skills, especially understanding statistics

They also want employees who are inquisitive, happy and grounded … good citizens who are connected to the world around them. 

After we listen, we create. In this case, we created a new core curriculum that will transform our students into thinkers who can find and interpret information, come to conclusions about it, and communicate those conclusions verbally and in writing. They’ll be able to solve problems in the workplace and outside of work, in their personal lives and as an informed citizens who connect with the needs of their community.  They’ll become aware of themselves and be able to relate to and understand our diverse and changing world. They’ll be equipped to engage with the tasks of life and empowered to pursue their goals.

How does it work?

So how does it work?
(Click the image to enlarge.)

Students will choose three Core Seminars at intervals, the first of which will help them make the transition to college-level reading, writing, thinking and presentation skills.  The seminars are thematic, designed to engage students with facets of the world in which we live, including the one in our own head. This first one asks the question “Who am I?”  Others encourage them to explore their relationship to the world and their service to others. See the Freshman Core Seminars below.

As students progress through the core, they will focus on outcomes:  critical inquiry, information literacy, communication (written, oral and quantitative), global awareness, vocation (your calling). Students get to choose the courses that will help them meet those outcomes, from both the core and their major.  They’ll have a wide variety of core courses to choose from, and They’ll select them to broaden and deepen their understanding of:

  • The natural world
  • Society and human behavior
  • The arts
  • Faith and meaning

The Core is flexible, designed to allow students to select what interests them most while they gain competency and intellectual depth in key areas.  Competencies matter, but it is Grand View’s emphasis on the whole person – the transformation of mind, body and spirit – that empowers them to succeed in a career and in their life.


Freshman Core Seminars

They'll begin their journey through the core with their first seminar, which will strengthen their critical thinking and writing abilities, and also help support their transition to university-level course work.  See their choices HERE.

Core Seminars II & III

Core Seminar II
This course will challenge students to wrestle with difference, bias, and perspective through an Immersion Project within a local or global community.  Immersion Projects are off-campus educational service opportunities at selected sites that pertain to the planned learning and serve a need. Students will work in a team and serve in a community different from their own for 15-20 hours of service; each project seeks to foster understanding between the students from the university community and the host community around specified themes.  By working alongside people and sharing their stories, students will learn to think differently about themselves, the community, and the world.  In the process, they'll engage important questions about life commitment and meaning as they prepare to transition from Grand View to a life of work and service.  

Students will:

  • Engage diverse perspectives to gain a more complex understanding of the human experience.
  • Accept that their own views are not inherently privileged and learn to value understanding the views of others.
  • Understand how identity and beliefs are shaped by social forces.
  • Interact with a diverse array of views that foster understanding and self-awareness.

Core Seminar III
Students will explore the multi-faceted ways they are called to lead a life of ethical service to others.  They'll read and respond to material exploring how each of us is called to connect our gifts, passions and abilities to serving needs in the world. Materials, assignments and discussions will highlight what it means to live out our vocations ethically in many dimensions of life. They'll write three self-reflection papers pertaining to their class conversations. Finally, they'll present your own Statement on "vocation" in a three minute oral presentation to the class.

For Transfer and Evening/Weekend Students


Transfer students enter Grand View with varying amounts of credit previously earned.  Based on that number of credits, the number of “encounters” with the essential core competencies can be decreased:

  • 0-27 credits transferred: 4 encounters with each competency are required. 
  • 28-59 credits transferred: 3 encounters with each competency are required. 
  • 60-89 credits transferred: 2 encounters with each competency are required.
  • 90+ credits transferred: 1 encounter with each competency are required.

Core Seminars
Students transferring to Grand View with 20 credits or more are exempt from Core
Seminar 1. Students transferring to Grand View with a Bachelor’s Degree are exempt from Core Seminars 1 & 2.

Transferred courses will be evaluated individually to satisfy requirements within the “Ways of Knowing” categories.  Articulation Agreements are established with several community colleges to outline how these classes transfer. You can review those HERE.

Students transferring to Grand View with an Associate of Arts degree or a Bachelor’s degree will satisfy these categories as follows: 

Associate of Arts Degree
The Associate of Arts degree (AA) satisfies the Grand View University General Education Core requirements for the baccalaureate degree except for the composition and quantitative reasoning courses (unless fulfilled by transfer coursework), Core Seminars II and III, and the required number of outcome iterations (number determined by class status on entry to the University; see General Education Core section of the catalog for further details.)  The student must have graduated from an accredited institution and earned a 2.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 system based on work completed at all institutions attended, and have satisfied Grand View's composition and quantitative reasoning courses.  Students holding Associate in Arts degrees from accredited institutions based outside the United States are required to satisfy Grand View's composition and quantitative reasoning courses.  The maximum number of transfer credits accepted from junior/community colleges is 66 semester hours. All junior/community college transfer credit is considered lower division credit.  Students holding any Associate's degree other than an Associate of Arts degree are not exempt from the general degree requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree
Students holding a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited instituion based in the United States are considered to have fulfilled all Grand View University General Education Core requirements except for the completion of one interation of each of the Core outcomes and Core Seminar III. Students holding baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions based outside the United States are frequently considered to have fulfilled all General Education Core requirements except for the completion of one iteration of each of the Core outcomes, Core Seminar III, and composition, though Grand View reserves the right to make a determination of comparability.  To earn the additional degree, students must complete the following: 30-hour residency requirement, one interation of each outcome, Core Seminar III, requisite courses for the major, and prerequisites for those courses.