School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at IVC
An education must include training in the scientific/empirical method of inquiry used in the social and behavioral sciences, as well as the fundamental principles that govern these disciplines. These principles influence the processes of human interaction, human behavior, and social institutions and help to define us individually and collectively as a society. An understanding of the principles of the social and behavioral sciences, combined with critical thinking, enhances an individual’s ability to make responsible political, moral, and social decisions in the modern, everyday world.
Courses that fulfill this requirement explore the nature of individual and collective human behavior; the political, economic, social, and psychological structures/institutions of human beings; and the challenges of developing and sustaining interpersonal and intercultural relationships. These courses should provide instruction in the fundamental principles of the scientific method and the subsequent body of knowledge accumulated through its proper application—data collection, synthesis, and analysis. Such courses should encourage students to develop a healthy skepticism of “explanations” of human behavior, human interaction, and social institutions which lack rigorous examination by qualified social scientists and/or are based upon faulty scientific methodology or unclear thinking. Thus, courses that fulfill the social and behavioral sciences requirement should engage in a high level of critical thinking so that students develop the skills required to make informed political, ethical, moral, and social decisions as participants in a successful democracy.