To educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care, for other people, for their communities, and for the Earth

One of the hallmarks of a PLU education–exemplified by our mission statement–is its emphasis on a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education. Every student, regardless of their major, must complete a range of ‘general education requirements’ as a part of PLU’s liberal arts core. Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we have launched a three year pilot program (Fall 2016 to Spring 2019) for a single cohort of students to fulfill their PLU general education requirements in a new way and to help us rethink what general education might mean. We call this pilot the PLU Cornerstones Program.

PLU Cornerstone Elements

  • Four “Cornerstones” courses – one class each semester during the freshman and sophomore years.
  • A Distributive Core of five classes providing students with an opportunity to explore a variety of liberal arts disciplines within the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Creative Arts.
  • A Minor in Anthropology, English, History, Languages, Philosophy, Religion, or one of our Interdisciplinary Programs.

Cornerstones is intentionally focused on PLU’s mission

The Cornerstones courses are designed by professors to emphasize the University’s mission via disciplinary and cross-disciplinary methods of inquiry, effective communication, citizenship and community engagement, vocational understanding, and reflection on questions of diversity, justice, and sustainability. Further, the program offers students opportunities to apply their interests and passions in ways that help them meaningfully align experience with coursework.

  • The First-Year Cornerstones classes include a Fall-semester theme-based seminar focusing on academic writing, and a Spring-semester seminar grounded in a particular discipline.
  • The Sophomore-Year Cornerstones classes are two courses linked from Fall to Spring where students investigate, alongside their professor and classmates, big questions from multiple perspectives.
  • The Distributive Core courses, offered by faculty from across the university, allow students to explore new ideas and to make important connections between disciplines.
  • The minor gives students opportunities to study what they love, and to make deeper connections between general education and discipline-specific interests and methods.

Throughout the program, students will reflect on their experiences via a integrative and holistic ePortfolio designed in WordPress.


This copy is modified from the PLU Office of Admissions.