Recognition for Core

Numerous accolades, high praise

Throughout its history, the Core Program has received numerous accolades and external recognition for its innovative approach to general education. Additionally, the thousands of alumni of Saint Joseph's College who have participated in the Core Program attest to its impact in their personal and professional lives. Below is a sampling of some of this recognition.

"Best in the Midwest" and "Best Value"

Saint Joseph's College is one of the institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its "Best in the Midwest" section of its website, Students surveyed by The Princeton Review described the College's unique Core Program as "broad and deep" and a "great alternative to education classes that encourages students to think, write, speak, and think again." Saint Joseph's College has been named the 7th Best Value College in the Midwest and the 27th Best College in the Midwest by US News Media Group in 2014.

Leader in developing student character

Saint Joseph's College has been recognized for leadership in the field of student character development in the Templeton Guide: College that Encourage Character Development. The Templeton Guide profiles 405 colleges and universities in ten categories for their record of commitment to inspiring students to lead ethical lives. The Core Curriculum was recognized in the "Faculty and Curriculum" section as one of 45 programs to achieve this honor roll standing. The Guide notes, "...the Core Curriculum provides an intellectual challenge through courses in the liberal arts and sciences. It also includes various assessment strategies that appraise intellectual and affective development throughout the students' four years."   To read more about The Templeton Guide, go to the College and Character website.

"A model curriculum"

"Less common is the true Core Curriculum, where all students take the same general education courses. At these schools, undergraduates complete as many as 10 or more core classes, usually in the same order. Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana, has a model core curriculum. In fact the whole sequence of required general education classes is simply called "Core." There, all students complete 10 required courses, spread over all four years of study. Together, students and faculty examine, in a carefully organized sequence, history, science, philosophy, and different cultures. The curriculum stresses how each influences the other and how this knowledge can be applied to the student's major."   - Ernest L. Boyer, Smart Parent's Guide to College (Peterson's Guide, 1996, page 62).

"Exciting" and "imaginative"

"Of the institutions whose efforts toward liberating education are refracted in this volume, the only one that embraces the whole undergraduate curriculum is the Core at Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana. That program is known to those who follow imaginative educational efforts outside the brand-name colleges and universities. I found its program as described in this book particularly exciting since it is a rare example of a Catholic institution where the consequences of Vatican II have not been a further fragmentation of Church-related tradition, but a structured renewal."  - Zelda F. Gamson and Associates, Liberating Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1984, page 220).

"In our national survey of academic deans we asked them to identify a college or university in the nation where, in their opinion, general education is succeeding. The five most frequently cited institutions were, in the order named: Harvard University, University of Chicago, Alverno College (Wisconsin), Saint Joseph's College (Indiana), and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. In a review of these widely approved and yet greatly varied programs, we found many courses-both discipline based and interdisciplinary-that focused on the core fields of language, science, social institutions, history, the arts, and the rest."  - Ernest Boyer, College: The Undergraduate Experience in America (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987).

What do alumni say about Core?

"The Core Program is what makes SJC unique; it has allowed me to develop critical thinking and writing skills that will help me with my future career as well as shape me into a better individual." - Joe Karpiak '13

"Because of Core, my writing and reading skills have improved tremendously. These are the skills I will take with me to law school and that I believe will help me succeed in my future endeavors." - Yara Mroueh '13

"The strengths of the Core Program lie in its intercollegiality and ability to interweave the student's major and general education classes into a combined curriculum.  The benefit to the student is that they have the opportunity to work on their major for four years along with a continued and consistent look at the world around them.  Ideas introduced in Core 1 are not simply abandoned after the student has completed that section; rather, those lessons and skills developed will be used in later sections. In order to prepare students for the Core 10 presentation and further their abilities and understanding of oral communication, the Core Program introduces oral communication in the foundational Core classes and builds upon these skills leading up to the Core 10 presentation."  - Nicholas T. Schafer '03

"The Core Program has challenged me to view the world around me in a different way. The connections between history, religion, science and literature that Core stresses has allowed me to think critically at graduate school." - Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S. '98

"Core is such a well balanced course that it gives a person a wider variety of  information to study than just taking focused courses. I learned everything from history, to science, to religion...which a person comes into contact with  everyday." - Brian P. Jakelski '90

"Core broadened our horizons and forced us to look beyond our majors. The program also encouraged us to be better Christians." - William '89 and Heather (Dunbar) Paschal '89

Events Calendar

Explore the Core
  • SJC Education Students in the field

    Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Professor Fred and Sally Berger at Graduation


    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

  • High Quality Academics

    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Visiting Chinese Students


    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Hoop House student workers

    Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Images of Students

    Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Images of Students


    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • Images of Students

    High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.


  • Images of Students


    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Images of Students

    Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.