University Academic Initiatives

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University Academic Initiatives consist of six university-wide academic services and programs aimed at ensuring the academic success of all students.

The goal of these initiatives is to achieve greater rates of student persistence, higher levels of student learning, more effective use of existing resources and more information for students and advisers.

The General Education Program

  • In collaboration with the University-Wide General Education Curriculum Committee and faculty from across the university, this program communicates the purpose and benefits of ESU's 50-credit General Education requirement to students and faculty. The program works to enhance ESU's determination of academic placements and competencies such as English and math, significantly contributes to the assessment of student learning outcomes, and facilitates ESU's ongoing dialog about the continuous improvement of General Education.

    Students who began their academic careers at East Stroudsburg University prior to the summer of 1996 are required to complete the General Education curriculum which was in place at the time of their entry.

    Undergraduate students complete their academic coursework within the offerings of one of four undergraduate colleges:

    • The College of Arts and Sciences
    • The College of Business and Management
    • The College of Education
    • The College of Health Sciences

    In addition to completing the requirements for the major field of study, all students are required to complete 50 semester hours in General Education. Students will be assigned a faculty adviser who will provide guidance in planning their academic program. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they propose to earn and for arranging their program of study accordingly.

    A minimum of 120 semester hours is required for graduation. (Some programs require more.)

    The General Education Curriculum at East Stroudsburg University provides a core of interrelated liberal studies for all students. By design it provides students with knowledge and perspectives and enables them to adopt varied modes of thought and develop specific competencies. Students become prepared to make informed judgments as citizens of this state, this nation, and a global society in which the quantity of information continues to grow.

  • Goals of the General Education Curriculum

    • Perspectives
      • Students who have successfully completed the General Education curriculum at East Stroudsburg University shall:

        • Have embraced a sense of values and a commitment to ethical behavior
        • Possess a broad perspective of knowledge as well as its creation and an understanding of the interrelationships among disciplines
        • Value learning and possess intellectual curiosity
    • General Knowledge
      • Students who have successfully completed the General Education curriculum at East Stroudsburg University shall:

        • Comprehend life and time from historical and contemporary perspectives and draw from experience to make informed decisions in the present and future
        • Understand and appreciate human creativity, expression, and exemplary works that have been produced throughout human existence in the various performance, visual, practical and literary art forms
        • Use concepts from the behavioral, life and social sciences in order to understand oneself and one's relationship with other people and to comprehend the nature and function of communities and institutions.
        • Understand the physical world and its interrelationship with human activity in order to make decisions that are based on scientific evidence and responsive to the values and interests of the individual and society
        • Know and appreciate some of the best original scholarly and creative works that have been produced throughout history
        • Use varying modes of inquiry utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies
        • Understand the diverse dimensions and complex interrelationships of culture, language, ethnicity, gender, and nationality, and of the challenges of global interdependence
        • Attain knowledge and skills for enriching the quality of life through physical activities which enhance cultural awareness and promote lifetime fitness
    • Competencies
      • All courses in the General Education Curriculum should be designed so that students who have successfully completed the General Education Curriculum at East Stroudsburg University:

        • Participate effectively in the communication process by listening, speaking, reading, and writing
        • Use mathematical systems effectively in conceptualization and communication
        • Utilize appropriate technology effectively

        The 50 semester hours in General Education are distributed in the following manner:

        Required: 5 credits

        English Composition: 3 credits

        Students are placed in Composition Skills 090 or English Composition 103 based upon their writing and verbal SAT scores. Those placed in ENGL 090 must take and pass it before they can be admitted into ENGL 103. Students may be exempted from and receive credit for English Composition, ENGL 103, if they take and achieve a high score on the CLEP general examination in English Composition (with essay). Students must receive a minimum grade of "C" to fulfill the English Composition requirement.

        Lifetime Fitness Activities: 2 credits

        To fulfill this requirement, a student must successfully complete two credits selected from the Lifetime Fitness courses offered by the Department of Movement Activities and Lifetime Fitness. Prior military service or law enforcement experience is not accepted for lifetime fitness credit.

        Distributive Electives: 45 credits

        Each student must complete at least 15 credits in each of three areas:

        Group A — Arts and Letters

        Group B — Science

        Group C — Social Science

        In each group, the student may take three credits in each of three subjects and six credits in a fourth subject or three credits in each of five subjects. Courses that satisfy General Education requirements are identified as GE in department course listings. Students should meet with their faculty advisers to plan appropriate choices to meet these requirements. Some GE courses may have specific prerequisites.

        Arts and Letters (Group A) 15 credits

        1. English Language and Literature
        2. Fine Arts - Art, Communication Studies, Music, and Theatre
        3. Foreign Languages
        4. Performing Arts - Dance, Communication Studies, Music, and Theatre
        5. Philosophy

        (The distinction between fine and performing arts may be obtained from the faculty adviser.)

        Science (Group B) 15 credits

        1. Biology
        2. Chemistry
        3. Computer Science
        4. Mathematics
        5. Physics
        6. Psychology

        Social Science (Group C) 15 credits

        1. Economics
        2. Geography
        3. History
        4. Political Science
        5. Sociology-Anthropology

        Corequisite courses may be counted under General Education requirements in Groups A, B, or C if appropriate.


        Required Science Courses: Where coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics is required (or listed as recommended in the catalog) for the major, a student with a declared major may substitute those courses for courses in the same departments listed under Science Group B. If a student adopts the above provision and later changes his or her major to a field which does not require coursework in those disciplines, the student may nevertheless receive General Education credit for courses taken in those departments.

        Foreign Language Courses: Students may substitute a higher-level foreign language course taught in the language for courses listed under Foreign Language Group A.

        Teacher Certification: Students pursuing teacher certification must take two mathematics courses and two English courses (including one composition and one literature course).

        Teacher Certification Requirements: Please refer to The College of Education in the Program Offerings section of this catalog.

American Democracy Project at ESU

  • The American Democracy Project at ESU is part of a national multi-campus initiative that seeks to create an intellectual and experimental understanding of civic engagement for students enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

    The goal of this non-partisan project is to produce graduates who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democratic republic.

    East Stroudsburg University has been an active participant in this initiative since 2003.

    Operating with support from the Office of the Provost and under the guidance of Dr. Marilyn Wells, Vice Provost and Graduate Dean, ADP at ESU supports and creates opportunities for student and faculty participation in the development of a campus-wide culture of democratic dispositions and practices.

    ADP, often in conjunction with other campus and community partners including The New York Times, organizes and sponsors activities as voter registration drives, as well as such civic education events as Constitution Day celebrations in September of each year, debates and forums on important civic issues, surveys of campus attitudes and mock legislative events.

    For more information about the ADP at ESU contact the campus co-coordinator Dr. Patricia Kennedy in the Department of Communication Studies ( or co-coordinator Dr. Christopher Brooks in the Department of History (

Honors Program

  • The Honors Program offers ESU's best students the opportunity to fulfill a part of the general education requirements with special honors courses.

    Unique features of the honors courses include a maximum class size of 20, specially selected professors, customized curricula, and close teaching-learning relationships in and out of the classroom.

    Honors courses provide a stimulating introduction to the various aspects of our social, cultural, and scientific heritage.

    Each student has an honors adviser in addition to an academic adviser.

    In the junior year, students complete an honors thesis project within the department of their major.

    Honors students have access to the campus' honors house for honors activities and quiet study.

    Honors students are entitled to register for courses ahead of other students and are eligible for honors scholarships, international summer study scholarships, special recognition at graduation and on the official university transcript, and membership in the Honors Student Association.

    Special attention and assistance in preparing graduate school applications and job applications are available from the program director and honors adviser.

    For more information, visit

Summer Seminar for Outstanding Sophomore Students

  • Students beginning or early in their sophomore year compete for the opportunity to participate in special late summer one-credit special topics seminars.

    The one-week seminar includes the conduct of independent, innovative projects as well as two special events that often involve travel, and mentor training.

    There is no cost to the selected students. Subsequent to the seminar, students serve as mentors to six entering freshmen during the fall semester.

Academic Research

  • Faculty in nearly every university department participate in scholarly activities including original research and creative endeavors, and student participation is often an integral part of such activities.

    Students who participate with faculty in creative activities and research experience are often set apart from others in the job market and application to graduate school.

    The university supports these activities by providing academic credit, space and monetary support for materials, logistics and travel to conferences through a variety of funding sources.

    Successful faculty and students regularly attend regional and national conferences.

Service Learning

  • The Service Learning initiative seeks to expand opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in meeting the social needs of the community in a broader quest for the common good.

    This is accomplished through an experiential approach to teaching and learning that can be implemented in courses within a variety of academic disciplines that incorporate leadership development, civic literacy, or the development of critical thinking as it relates to society.

    Service Learning, whether through short- or long-term service projects, affords students the opportunity to integrate theory into practice, apply practical skills, and raise awareness about community issues.

    Through real-life experience, Service Learning recognizes the reciprocal relationship between the campus and those being served, thereby encouraging students to embrace their role as vested community members while helping the community see the promise in ESU students.