• Shared Capacities Initiative

  • Shared Capacities underlie The New School’s distinctive approach to general education. More than a set of course requirements, Shared Capacities are the competencies or skills that undergraduates develop over the course of their education. Rather than isolating these abilities in core or distribution requirements, we weave them into every student’s course of study throughout their undergraduate education, linking them with specific outcomes that students are expected to achieve in their coursework. This ensures that students develop the capacities that will enrich their lives intellectually and prepare them for the demands of the 21st century.

    The university community has identified 11 Shared Capacities, which range from basic skills, such as writing and oral communication and quantitative and scientific literacy, to competencies that are particularly emblematic of The New School, such as creative making, cross-disciplinary thinking, and flexibility and resiliency.

    • Critical Analysis
    • Communication
    • Quantitative Reasoning
    • Research Literacy
    • Scientific Literacy
    • Authorship
    • Creative Making 
    • Cross-Disciplinary Thinking
    • Flexibility and Resiliency
    • Working in Complex Systems
    • Ethical Reasoning

    Each of these capacities has its own learning outcomes.

    These skills serve the University’s intellectual mission, with its historic strengths in design and social research, as well as its commitment to sustainability, civic engagement, and social justice.

    Research, Resources & Best Practices

    General education at The New School is based on our Mission and Vision Statements, which were developed by the president, provost, and deans and are supported by current research and best practices in undergraduate education.

    Useful guides to the development of Shared Capacity definitions include research conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), particularly its Liberal Education and America’s Promise Initiative and Essential Learning Outcomes.

    Further discussions regarding the nature and scope of liberal education can also be found at AAC&U.

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    Phone: 212.229.8947
    Fax: 212.229.8583

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