St. Bonaventure University

Learning Goals & Objectives

St. Bonaventure University is a Catholic university dedicated to educational excellence in the Franciscan tradition. We enhance the lives of our students and help them prepare for their futures by providing experiences that build knowledge, skills, and character. In particular, we help them develop:

  1. Basic knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences, specialized knowledge in a particular area of study, and the ability to integrate knowledge from different academic disciplines.
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students demonstrate familiarity with diverse cultures, including Western civilization.
    2. Students describe how knowledge evolves in the arts, the humanities, and the sciences, and how that knowledge impacts the world.
    3. Students apply the knowledge and perspectives of a particular discipline in the ways that discipline is practiced.
    4. Students use what they have learned in their general education studies in their particular discipline.
    5. Students connect ideas from different disciplines.
  2. The ability to think constructively, critically, and creatively, including competencies in analytic inquiry, quantitative literacy, information literacy, evidential reasoning, and problem solving.
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students define effectively an issue, goal, or problem.
    2. Students identify and obtain the resources that they need to address an issue, goal, or problem.
    3. Students interpret, assess, and integrate resources with attention to their assumptions and potential biases.
    4. Students derive conclusions, hypotheses, or solutions that are appropriate to the issue, goal, or problem they are working to address.
    5. Students assess the validity of their own conclusions, hypotheses, or solutions.
  3. Competence in multimodal communication with special emphasis on oral, written, and digital communication, including an understanding of key issues relating to their use.
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students identify and respond to contexts using appropriate processes and modes of delivery.
    2. Students use effective content and approaches to organization, style, and design that are appropriate for the discipline and genre of communication.
    3. Students demonstrate control of syntax and mechanics by using language that communicates with clarity, fluency, and minimal errors.
  4. A disposition to understand societal issues, seek solutions, and become responsible citizens.
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students identify problems in contemporary societies and analyze factors (i.e ., social factors, economic factors, political factors, ethnic factors, historical factors, oppression, power, and privilege) that contribute to them.
    2. Students describe and evaluate various strategies and tactics for addressing contemporary societal problems.
    3. Students demonstrate personal involvement in addressing societal problems.
    4. Students reflect critically on their personal experiences in addressing societal problems through the lens of their academic studies.
  5. An ability to engage with ultimate questions of a metaphysical, theological, and philosophical nature.
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students analyze how ultimate questions have been addressed by major thinkers and movements.
    2. Students look at ultimate questions from others’ perspectives and compare them with their own perspectives.
    3. Students formulate and critique their own positions on metaphysical, theological, and philosophical questions.
  6. A basic understanding of the Catholic tradition and an appreciation of the intellectual and moral virtues expressed in the Franciscan movement (e.g., humility, compassion, justice with peace, love of wisdom, and the inherent goodness of all creation).
    Learning Objectives:
    1. Students identify and describe the major elements of the Catholic tradition, including its expression in the Franciscan movement.
    2. Students identify and describe the principal intellectual and moral virtues of the Catholic and Franciscan traditions.
    3. Students relate what they have learned about these virtues to their own lives and social issues.

I. Learning Goals & Objectives for Required Specific Courses

BONA 101. Introduction to St. Bonaventure

This course will introduce the characteristics and functions of community and diversity, and explain how students belong and thrive at St. Bonaventure. The course will also teach students about effective learning strategies and aspects of college preparation and career development. By exploring facets of St. Bonaventure's mission, and what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean, students can engage in better informed dialogue about their roles as citizens of the world. This course is for students in their first semester of college.

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify characteristics of a community and how they apply to St. Bonaventure.
  2. Analyze and critique a common experience such as film, book, or lecture.
  3. Explain effective learning strategies and skills, and demonstrate ways these strategies fit with their Bonaventure experience.
  4. Identify and evaluate concepts of well-being and life balance.
  5. Articulate degree requirements, policies, and procedures.
  6. Demonstrate technology and information literacy by articulating the ways that computers process an.d organize data, how information can be responsibly obtained and protected, and the overall impact of technology on society.
  7. Evaluate personal insights on strengths, informed decision making, and emotional intelligence - and their relevance to life decisions such as life goals and vocation selection and preparation.
  8. Increase awareness and understanding of diversity: students will know basic concepts of diversity and how these they intersect and impact individuals and society.
  9. Foster social justice: students will know how SBU promotes social justice and addresses issues related to diversity such as discrimination, prejudice, and inequality in our community.

THFS 101. The Way of Francis and Clare

This course is intended to introduce students to the Franciscan roots that underlie the mission and values of St. Bonaventure University. After familiarizing themselves with the social and cultural context that shaped Francis and Clare of Assisi, students will examine their lives, values and spirituality, and then study how these achieved systematic theological expression in the thought of St. Bonaventure. Students will then connect and apply key Franciscan insights to contemporary concerns.

This course fulfills Goal 6 of the St Bonaventure University Undergraduate Learning Goals and Objectives.

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will understand and critically analyze the origins and development of the distinctive Franciscan charism within the Catholic faith tradition and its theological expression.
  2. Students will examine and articulate how this Franciscan tradition might address contemporary social issues in a way that includes people of diverse backgrounds.
  3. Students will reflect on their personal beliefs about ultimate reality and their relationships in the local context and to the global community in light of Franciscan values.
  4. Students will develop an ability to discuss deeply-held personal beliefs with sensitivity and openness toward others with differing perspectives.

PHIL 104. Introduction to Ethics

Ethics enquires into the fundamental perspectives and principles that bear on the evaluation of human conduct. It examines prominent theories about what constitutes a good life, articulates relevant principles of right action, poses basic questions about the nature of morality and engages with various moral problems that confront the individual and society. This course endeavors to acquaint students with traditions of moral inquiry and to equip them with key concepts by which to exercise their own moral reflection.

This course fulfills Goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the St Bonaventure University Undergraduate Learning Goals and Objectives.

Course Learning Objectives: In PHIL 104, students will

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of major ethical theories.
  2. Demonstrate a comprehension of basic (meta-)ethical issues.
  3. Demonstrate a capacity to engage arguments on contemporary ethical problems.

ENG 101. Writing I

A composition course emphasizing writing foundations, including the development of a writing process with attention to generating content and addressing concerns of structure, style, syntax, and mechanics. Course assignments emphasize critical reading, writing, and argumentation skills, as well as professional and oral communication. This course is a prerequisite for ENG 102.

This course fulfills Goal 3 of the St Bonaventure University Undergraduate Learning Goals and Objectives.

Course Learning Objectives: Students who successfully complete the course will be able to

  1. Demonstrate a writing process involving multiple drafts and strategies for research, invention, drafting, revision, editing, peer review, and reflection;
  2. Understand writing as a conversation with other writers;
  3. Analyze texts in terms of argument, structure, style, and audience;
  4. Adequately document sources and develop an understanding of the significance of different types of sources and the function of documentation;
  5. Produce writing that meets accepted standards of style, syntax, and mechanics for academic and professional writing;
  6. Deliver content through both formal papers and formal presentations.

ENG 102. Writing II

A composition course emphasizing the development of a writing process, contextual awareness, and knowledge of conventions of academic and professional discourse. Course assignments foreground advanced communication challenges grounded in research, discipline-specific writing, and multi-model communication, as well as style, syntax and mechanics.

This course fulfills Goal 3 of the St Bonaventure University Undergraduate Learning Goals and Objectives.

Course Learning Objectives: Students who successfully complete the course will be able to

  1. Demonstrate an advanced writing process with attention to academic research, argumentation, structure, and style;
  2. Understand writing as a disciplinary endeavor;
  3. Analyze texts in terms of disciplinary conventions;
  4. Document sources in standard academic formats;
  5. Produce writing that addresses different audiences and purposes and makes use of different modalities;
  6. Deliver content through advanced digital media and modes.

II. Learning Objectives for the Seven Distributions

Franciscan Studies/Theology

  1. Identify, explain and analyze various aspects and issues associated with an understanding of God.
  2. Identify, explain and analyze a theological understanding of the nature of the universe, what it means to be human, and/or how humans should conduct their lives individually and socially before God.
  3. Discuss and explain different types of theological or Franciscan source materials used in this course.
  4. Explain how the material covered in this course has been relevant to them.
  5. Identify and apply a theological or Franciscan studies approach to contemporary social problems.

Historical Studies

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the distinct perspectives and values of past societies.
  2. Explain the evolution of one or more aspects of human society over time.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the key dates, names, events and dominant themes of one or more historical periods.
  4. Evaluate, analyze, and/or comprehend primary source material(s) within its historical context.

Literature and the Visual and Performing Arts

  1. Students can describe the relationship between form and content in literary, visual, or performing artworks.
  2. Students can identify some of the primary concepts, theories, and techniques developed by scholars or artists in literary studies, the visual arts, or the performing arts.
  3. Students can apply some of the primary concepts, theories, and techniques to specific examples of literary, visual, or performing artworks.
  4. Students can formulate arguments of their own about specific creative works using some of the primary concepts, theories, and techniques of literary studies, the visual arts, or the performing arts.

Natural Science with a Lab

  1. Examine the mode of inquiry in the natural sciences
  2. Apply investigatory skills of the natural sciences in a problem-solving context
  3. Investigate discoveries that illustrate the ongoing scientific process
  4. Analyze data and observations within the scientific process


  1. Students can accurately describe some unified subset of the concepts, theories and techniques developed by philosophers past and present to address philosophical questions.
  2. Students can accurately describe philosophers’ application of those concepts, theories and techniques to philosophical questions.
  3. Students can use the concepts, theories and techniques of philosophy to conduct independent philosophical inquiry
  4. Students can critically assess the process and product of their inquiry by engagement with alternative positions and perspectives.

Quantitative Literacy

  1. Interpretation: Provides accurate explanations of information presented in mathematical forms, such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics. Makes appropriate inferences based on that information.
  2. Representation: Competently converts relevant information into an appropriate mathematical portrayal—which may be symbolic, visual, numerical, or verbal—in a way that contributes to a further understanding.
  3. Calculation/estimation: Identifies what calculations are required to solve a problem and correctly performs those calculations.
  4. Application/analysis: Competently uses arithmetical, algebraic, or geometric methods and/or interprets statistical results to solve problems.
  5. Assumptions/limitations: Explicitly describes assumptions and provides rationale for why each assumption is appropriate. Shows awareness that all mathematical and statistical methods have limits.
  6. Communication: Expresses pertinent quantitative evidence in support of work or reasoning. Presents this evidence in an effective format.

Social Science

  1. Identify components of the scientific method used to explore social phenomena including hypothesis development, measurement and data collection, experimentation, evaluation of evidence, and analysis.
  2. Identify the differences between rigorous and systematic thinking versus unscientific thinking about social phenomena.
  3. Identify major concepts, models and issues in at least one discipline in the social sciences.

III. Learning Objectives for the Two Designations


  1. Student can explain differences found in human cultures and societies with particular reference to historical antecedents of current problems or injustices.
  2. Student is conversant with the modes of inquiry within the discipline
  3. Student is s a thoughtful/responsible consumer of information when taking a position on issues related to diversity.

Intensive Writing

  1. Students identify and respond to contexts using appropriate processes and modes of delivery.
  2. Students use effective content and approaches to organization, style, and design that are appropriate for the discipline and genre of communication.
  3. Students demonstrate control of syntax and mechanics by using language that communicates with clarity, fluency, and minimal errors.