General Education

General Education Assessment

Assessment of Courses

The General Education Program identifies particular courses offered by academic departments to be listed in Distribution Areas and in Natural Sciences. Students choose to take one course from each Distribution Area and two courses from Natural Sciences as part of the General Education Program’s graduation requirements. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee certifies the list of courses in these areas.

In order to be listed in a Distribution Area or as a Natural Science, courses offered by academic departments must meet a series of curricular standards set by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Furthermore, the listed courses are designed to meet the learning goals of each area. The lists are reviewed every three years and courses are recertified or not and new courses are certified.

The following description was provided to department chairs by the Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee on September 28, 2009:

Distribution courses are 100- and 200- level courses without prerequisites that have full-time staffing and meet at least three of the following skills development criteria:

      1. writing intensive assignments
      2. oral expression
      3. scientific literacy
      4. critical thinking, including artistic analysis
      5. data analysis/quantitative reasoning
      6. library/database/information literacy

Distribution courses must also satisfy the content objectives and goals of one of the following seven areas.

Area 1: Individuals and Society. A systematic study of individuals, their impact on society, society’s impact on them how individuals are constituted within a social context. Goal: To introduce students to modes of inquiry and systematic ways of thinking about individuals and their positions in societies.

 Area 2: Socio-Political Structures. A systematic study of the organizations, institutions and systems of society. Goal: To introduce students to typical modes of inquiry and a systematic way of thinking about the organizations and institutions of society.

 Area 3: Literature.  Close readings of literary texts. Goal: To increase students’ understanding and appreciation of literature.

Area 4: The Arts. Introduction to art, music, dance, or theatre and the terminology, techniques, or tools of each. Goal:  To familiarize students with a medium of creative/artistic expression and enable them to participate actively in individual aesthetic and creative experiences.

Area 5: Comparative Culture. Systematic ways of thinking about similarities and differences among cultures. Goal: To develop students’ understanding and appreciation of cultural dynamics from a comparative perspective. 

Area 6:  Historical Studies. A systematic study of the way historians and other scholars interpret the past through documents, artifacts, and other primary source materials to understand the past and the present in historical context. Goal: To develop students’ reading, critical thinking, and writing by locating and evaluating traditional and Internet sources, forming an interpretation based on these sources, and communicating one’s ideas and conclusions orally and in writing. Also, to encourage students’ understanding of and critical thinking about major events, ideas, institutions, personalities, and changes of the past.

Area 7: Knowledge, Self, and Values. The critical examination of systematic ways of conceiving the world through myth, politics, religion, morality, logic, and philosophy. Goal:  To develop an ability to reflect critically on systematic modes of thought.

Recommendations by Area:

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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