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Viewing: 4: Revise the General Education Program's Student Learning Outcomes

Last approved: Wed, 09 Dec 2015 19:09:16 GMT

Last edit: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 22:00:59 GMT

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Revise the General Education Program's Student Learning Outcomes

The General Education Review Committee proposes to replace the current General Education goals, which date back to 1992, with a new set of learning goals and assessable outcomes that better align with the university's recently adopted baccalaureate (LEAP) Essential Learning Outcomes.  The proposed new Gen Ed learning outcomes are detailed in the first of the attached documents. Once these new learning outcomes have received campus approval, the General Education Review Committee will use them in place of the old general education goals when recommending courses for general education elective designation. 

The current General Education goals (available online at ) were created in the early 1990s as part of the comprehensive revision of the general education program that also created the core curriculum. While these goals continue to be important and relevant, much has changed in the university and the world at large over the past 25 years. These proposed new General Education learning outcomes reflect the ever increasing importance of thinking, communication, quantitative, and information literacy skills for students in the 21st century while also highlighting the importance of the dispositions and competencies that are foundational for citizenship and work in a rapidly changing and diverse world. These revised outcomes also reflect the evolution within the Gen Ed core curriculum towards more emphasis on skill development and fostering enduring understandings of human cultures and the natural world. And the revised Gen Ed learning outcomes are clearly aligned with the framework of the baccalaureate (LEAP) essential learning outcomes, which will help everyone on campus better understand and assess how general education supports our students’ overall development.

This proposal is accompanied by two supporting documents. The first of these documents lays out the proposed new Gen Ed learning outcomes (GELOs for short) along with explanatory text that provides rationales for the choice of these goals and specific objectives. The second document maps the proposed GELOs to both the existing Gen Ed goals and to the baccalaureate (LEAP) ELOs. It should be noted that all of the current goals of the general education program have been retained in some form in the proposed new GELOs. And the specific student learning objectives in each of the seven goal areas reflect, where possible, the campus consensus on student learning that has emerged from projects such as Writing Matters, Speaking Well, and Critical Thinking initiatives.

The process of revising the general education goals has been led by GERC, the faculty oversight committee for the general education program. GERC members began this process in 2012, upon the university’s adoption of the baccalaureate (LEAP) Essential Learning Outcomes and in response to a recommendation from a ten-member team of UW-W faculty and staff who attended the 2012 AAC&U General Education and Assessment Summer Institute. In Spring 2013, a one-day workshop brought 40 faculty and staff members together from across campus to begin the process of revising the current program goals into assessable outcomes clearly aligning with the baccalaureate ELOs and representing our 21st century vision of the purpose and value of general education. GERC members worked for 18 months to produce a draft version of the outcomes. During the Spring 2015 semester, GERC collected feedback from faculty, staff, and students through LEARN Center workshop and presentations to UCC and Faculty Senate; GERC used this feedback to guide the final revisions that were made in September 2015.

As required by the procedures laid out in the Curriculum Handbook, this proposal has been reviewed by each of the four college curriculum committees and the signed consultation forms are also attached to this proposal.
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