The primary purpose of general chemistry, biology, or physics is to teach the fundamental principles of that science -- that is, the content of the science. The science major is exposed to applications of those principles repetitively in upper-division courses; therefore, they become meaningful within the framework of his or her chosen profession. (Conversely, principles that are not applied are not retained, in keeping with how the brain functions: facts that aren't significant to us are forgotten.)
The non-science major will not use content in a meaningful way in daily experience; therefore, we defeat our own purpose if content is our goal. Instead, we will teach the process of science through the application of scientific principles to real-world situations, which should have a greater chance for being retained since scientific literacy can be of immediate importance to the student. (One important learning objective within the course structure will be to demonstrate to students that scientific, technological, and mathematical literacy is of practical significance to them.)
There are two other points worth making concerning this instructional objective.
For this curriculum, we will accept the current adage, "less is more". However, certain principles may be covered in-depth in order to demonstrate to the student how science actually works.
Each student will simply be expected to progress in his or her level of scientific literacy in an objective and measurable way.
Waycross College has a larger vision than just either preparing students for further study at a four-year school or job training and preparation. As educators, we recognize that there are basic academic skills that transcend specific subject matter. This instructional objective recognizes that science by its nature is able to broaden overall academic skills, especially those related to critical thinking.
There is a world of difference between learning about science and doing science, just as there is a world of difference between reading good literature and writing good literature, or watching a football game and playing in a football game. The best way to appreciate the role of the scientist and the importance of science in the modern world is to experience a real scientific investigation.