General Education Program

Knowledge and Skills Goals

The General Education Program teaches the skills and knowledge needed to intelligently participate in public discourse. Mastery of critical content and the development of skills occur concurrently in all General Education courses.

Knowledge Goals:

1. The major areas of human investigation and accomplishment - the arts, the humanities, the mathematical sciences, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.

A generally educated person is able to understand a variety of disciplinary perspectives, their respective contributions to the growth of human knowledge, and the various approaches through which knowledge is generated, tested, and used.

2. An understanding of one's own culture and the cultures of others.

A generally educated person is able to comprehend and respond constructively to the world's diversity, a diversity manifested not only in ideas and ways of knowing but also in populations and cultures. As citizens of the United States, students should be familiar with our pluralistic heritage. As citizens of the world, students should be knowledgeable about cultures and perspectives different from their own.

3. An understanding of how academic study connects to issues in the world.

A generally educated person is able to think in broad terms and see connections in the world. Preparing for responsible citizenship requires that students become conscious of both complementary and competing viewpoints and recognize that any issue or problem can be viewed from multiple perspectives.

Skills Goals:

1. Collaboration is the process of working together and sharing the workload equitably to progress toward shared objectives, learned through structured activities that occur over a significant period of time. 

People with a general education work collaboratively with others on both small and large projects. Effective collaborators are interdependent, interactive, accountable, and reflective. That is, they work interdependently within a group, interact productively with group members, demonstrate accountability for their own contributions to the work of the group, and reflect on the success of the group, including their own contributions and the contributions of others. 

2. Critical and creative thinking uses systematic reasoning to examine and evaluate ideas, leading to new ways of thinking or doing.

People with a general education think logically and creatively. Expressiveness, imagination, and originality are needed for innovation. Innovative ideas must be subject to critical evaluation, which involves distinguishing information, judgment, and assumption; evaluating evidence and the logic of arguments; identifying and assessing differing perspectives and assumptions; and reasoning systematically in support of arguments.

3. Ethical reasoning is a decision-making process based on defining systems of value.

People with a general education recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings and contexts, identify different systems of ethical reasoning (including disciplinary and professional ethical systems), and assess the consequences of those choices in different contexts. This enables them to understand and evaluate different systems of ethical reasoning.

4. Information literacy is the process of locating, evaluating, and using multiple forms of information.

People with a general education work with many forms of information: text, data, images, and multimedia. Becoming information literate is a multistep, iterative process that includes articulating the need for information, finding information efficiently, thinking critically about resources, managing the abundance of information available, using information ethically, synthesizing and incorporating information into one’s knowledge base, and creatively expressing and effectively communicating new knowledge.

5. Integration is the process of synthesizing and applying existing knowledge, past experiences, and other perspectives to new, complex situations.

People with a general education correlate and synthesize facts, basic concepts, and disparate knowledge for application within and beyond the campus to make sense of a variety of data and experiences, to address issues in a more effective way than can be accomplished from only one field of study or perspective, and to reflect on their own learning.

6. Oral communication is the practice of effectively communicating verbally with a public audience across a variety of contexts.

People with a general education are able to synthesize their knowledge of a subject with their speaking and listening skills to effectively craft a verbal presentation appropriate for a specific situation, purpose, and audience. They understand that effective verbal communication involves a dialogue between speaker and audience and use this knowledge for decision-making about the organization, development, and presentation of appropriate material. They understand that oral communication skills are essential for a knowledgeable speaker to inform, persuade, and inspire audiences.

7. Problem solving is the process of designing and evaluating strategies to answer open-ended questions or achieve desired goals.

People with a general education define and solve problems by seeking and identifying relevant contextual information, formulating strategies, and proposing and evaluating potential solutions.

8. Quantitative literacy is a competency and comfort in working with numbers.

People with a general education apply mathematical and statistical methods to solving problems in everyday life. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, and mathematical equations as appropriate).

9. Written communication is the practice of creating and refining messages that educated readers will value.

People with a general education use thoughtful writing processes to develop effective written materials for a variety of audiences and purposes, entering larger discussions by using formats and conventions that are important to their readers.


Page last modified April 4, 2014