What is Essential Education at Graceland?

Graceland's Essential Education curriculum is designed to prepare students for a life of inquiry, analysis, discovery, problem solving, effective communication and innovation.

It is designed for students and faculty to engage the "big questions" and far-reaching issues - contemporary and enduring - in science and society, cultures and values, global interdependence, the changing economy, and human dignity and freedom.

This curriculum seeks to connect knowledge with choices and action and seeks to prepare students for citizenship and work through engaged and guided learning on "real-world" problems.

The curriculum is also designed to foster civic, intercultural and ethical learning emphasizing personal and social responsibility and a commitment to transformational justice.

The new curriculum seeks to engage the "big questions" by focusing on five specific themes. Students may choose to complete their Essential Education requirements by focusing on one of the curriculum's five themes.

Graceland University faculty have endorsed the Essential Learning Outcomes developed by Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) as a document that would inform the direction of this new curriculum, and LEAP's "Principles of Excellence" also are reflected and embodied in this curriculum.

While the new Essential Education curriculum was put in place to replace the existing general education requirements, Essential Education is designed to be something students will encounter across the University, both inside and outside the classroom.

Dr. Brian White, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


"What makes our approach to a student's core curriculum so radical is a shift to understanding that the core is Essential Education. These are the skills that employers are clamoring for in college graduates."

~ Brian White
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences