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Proposing a General Education or I-Series Course

For your course to contribute to the General Education program, it must meet the learning outcomes for one or more General Education category

General Education course proposals are reviewed by faculty groups familiar with the course category; each General Education category has a distinct Faculty Board.  If you propose your course to meet more than one General Education category, the course will be reviewed by each faculty board, with the exception of courses proposed as I-Series courses. The Boards will review proposals, often providing feedback and suggestions.

Important notes about proposing an I-Series course: question mark in a cartoon bubble

  • I-Series (link to I-Series page) courses are the signature of the General Education Program. Faculty who develop new I-Series courses will receive a stipend of $5,000.  The funds will be transferred to the instructor’s college after the course is scheduled during a regular (Fall or Spring) semester.
  • Courses designed for the I-Series category should also address the learning outcomes for a Distributive Studies category. Students will receive credit for meeting both I-Series and the Distributive Studies category when enrolled in courses with this intentional design. 
  • Courses designed for I-Series are reviewed by the I-Series Faculty Board. Approval of Distributive Studies and Diversity categories are also handled by the I-Series Faculty Board.

For your General Education proposal you will need a complete syllabus and responses to the General Education proposal questions.

General Questions

1. Please give a brief description of the course.

2. Please list any pre- or co-requisites for this course

3. If there are pre- or co-requisites, please justify them with respect to their appropriateness for a General Education course

4. Please list any restrictions (e.g. majors only) placed on this course

5. What is the approximate course size (students/academic year)?

6. Please describe how student learning will be assessed (i.e. exams, homework, papers, group projects, etc.)

7. Comments on the course that you feel may be useful for the review process.

Also, if this is an existing course that you are planning on making changes to via VPAC (i.e. changing the title), please list those proposed changes here

 

Category Specific Questions

I-Series

1. I-Series courses should be framed around a "Big Question." What is the "Big Question" that drives your course?

2. Please list the instructor(s) who will be teaching this course

3. Please write 2 or 3 sentences that can be used to advertise your I-Series course to students

4. Describe the approaches to be used in this course to engage students

5. What role will teaching assistants (graduate or undergraduate) play in the active engagement of students?

Questions about how your course allows students to meet the General Education learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be able to…”

Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:

  1. give students the ability to meet the learning objective
  2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning objective.

Courses in the I-Series must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

On completion of an I-Series course, students will be able to:

1. Identify the major questions and issues in their I-series course topic.

2. Describe the sources the experts on the topic would use to explore these issues and questions.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of basic terms, concepts, and approaches that experts employ in dealing with these issues.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the political, social, economic, and ethical dimensions involved in the course.

5. Communicate major ideas and issues raised by the course through effective written and/or oral presentations.

6. Articulate how this course has invited them to think in new ways about their lives, their place in the University and other communities, and/or issues central to their major disciplines or other fields of interest.

 

Natural Sciences

Questions about how your course allows students to meet the General Education learning outcomes (Courses in Natural Sciences must address at least 4 Learning Outcomes).

Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be able to…”.

Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:

  1. give students the ability to meet the learning objective
  2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning objective. Courses in the Natural Sciences must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes in bold are required.

On completion of a Natural Sciences with Lab course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of scientific principles and the ways scientists in a particular discipline conduct research.
  2. Apply quantitative, mathematical analyses to science problems.
  3. Solve complex problems requiring the application of several scientific concepts.
  4. Look at complex questions and identify the science and how it impacts and is impacted by political, social, economic, or ethical dimensions.
  5. Critically evaluate scientific arguments and understand the limits of scientific knowledge.
  6. Communicate scientific ideas effectively.
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in experimental science by: making observations, understanding the fundamental elements of experiment design, generating and analyzing data using appropriate quantitative tools, using abstract reasoning to interpret data and relevant formulae, and testing hypotheses with scientific rigor.

In addition to the Learning Outcomes above, on completion of a Natural Sciences course with a laboratory experience students will be able to:

 Demonstrate proficiency in experimental science by: making observations, understanding the fundamental elements of experiment design, generating and analyzing data using appropriate quantitative tools, using abstract reasoning to interpret data and relevant formulae, and testing hypotheses with scientific rigor.

 

Humanities

Questions about how your course allows students to meet the General Education learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be able to…”.

Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:

  1. give students the ability to meet the learning objective
  2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning objective. Courses in the Humanities must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes in bold are required.

On completion of a Humanities course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate familiarity and facility with fundamental terminology and concepts in a specific topical area in the humanities.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the methods used by scholars in a specific field in the humanities.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking in the evaluation of sources and arguments in scholarly works, or in the evaluation of approaches and techniques in the visual, literary, or performing arts.
  4. Describe how language use is related to ways of thinking, cultural heritage, and cultural values.
  5. Conduct research on a topic in the humanities using a variety of sources and technologies.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to formulate a thesis related to a specific topic in the humanities and to support the thesis with evidence and argumentation.
  7. Demonstrate understanding of the creative process and techniques used by practitioners in a specific field of the visual, literary, or performing arts.

 

History and Social Sciences

Questions about how your course allows students to meet the General Education learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be able to…”. Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:

  1. give students the ability to meet the learning objective
  2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning objective. Courses in History and Social Sciences must address at least 4 of the 7 Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes in bold are required.

On completion of a History and Social Sciences course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts and ideas in a specific topical area in history or the social sciences.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the methods that produce knowledge in a specific field in history or the social sciences.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking in evaluating causal arguments in history or in the social sciences, analyzing major assertions, background assumptions, and explanatory evidence.
  4. Explain how culture, social structure, diversity, or other key elements of historical context have an impact on individual perception, action, and values.
  5. Articulate how historical change shapes ideas and social and political structures.
  6. Explain how history or social science can be used to analyze contemporary issues and to develop policies for social change.
  7. Use information technologies to conduct research and to communicate effectively about social science and history.

 

Scholarship in Practice

  1. Describe the body of scholarship that will be put into practice
  2. Describe how this body of scholarship will be applied Questions about how your course allows students to meet the General Education learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be able to…”.

Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:

  1. give students the ability to meet the learning objective
  2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning objective.

Courses in Scholarship in Practice must address at least 4 of the 5 Learning Outcomes. Learning Outcomes in bold are required.

On completion of a Scholarship in Practice course, students will be able to:

  1. Select and critically evaluate areas of scholarship relevant to the practice of the discipline.
  2. Apply relevant methods and frameworks to the planning, modeling, and/or preparing necessary to produce a project or participate in the practice in a manner that is authentic to the discipline.
  3. Critique, revise and refine a project, or the practice of the discipline, according the authentic manner of the discipline.
  4. Effectively communicate the application of scholarship through ancillary material (written, oral, and/or visual).
  5. Collaborate in order to bring about a successful outcome.

 

Understanding Plural Societies

Courses in Understanding Plural Societies must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

On completion of an Understanding Plural Societies course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the basis of human diversity and socially driven constructions of difference: biological, cultural, historical, social, economic, or ideological.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of fundamental concepts and methods that produce knowledge about plural societies and systems of classification.
  3. Explicate the policies, social structures, ideologies or institutional structures that do or do not create inequalities based on notions of human difference.
  4. Interrogate, critique, or question traditional hierarchies or social categories.
  5. Analyze forms and traditions of thought or expression in relation to cultural, historical, political, and social contexts, as for example, dance, food ways, literature, music, and philosophical and religious traditions.
  6. Use a comparative, intersectional, or relational framework to examine the experiences, cultures, or histories of two or more social groups or constituencies within a single society or across societies, or within a single historical timeframe or across historical time.

 

Cultural Competence

Courses in Cultural Competence must address at least 3 of the 5 Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes in bold are required.

On completion of a Cultural Competence course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand and articulate a multiplicity of meanings of the concept of culture.
  2. Explain how cultural beliefs influence behaviors and practices at the individual, organizational, or societal levels.
  3. Reflect in depth about critical similarities, differences, and intersections between their own and others' cultures or sub-cultures so as to demonstrate a deepening or transformation of original perspectives.
  4. Compare and contrast similarities, differences, and intersections among two or more cultures.
  5. Effectively use skills to negotiate cross-cultural situations or conflicts in interactions inside or outside the classroom.

Once you have your materials ready, the General  Education proposal is created in the CIM curriculum management system


If you are proposing a NEW course with a NEW number, i.e. it doesn’t already appear in the CIM course management system, you must create a course proposal before you can create a General Education proposal. Once a course proposal is created you may begin to create a General Education proposal. The course proposal does not have to complete its workflow (VPAC approval, see below)  before starting the General Education process.

Review Process

In CIM, the proposal will go through three stages of review:

  • Department level
  • College level
  • General Education Faculty Board level

In some colleges and departments the PCC committees will be involved in reviewing the proposals and this may take some time. Contact your department and college representatives to alert them to your course submission and to find out the time required for department and college level review.

aerial view of a committee meeting tableOnce the General Education proposal is approved at the department and college level it will be available to the appropriate General Education Faculty Board to review.

The Faculty Boards will review proposals on a rolling basis during the fall and spring semester. You are encouraged to submit a General Education proposal early in the academic semester one year prior to when the course will be offered. General Education proposals received by Faculty Boards by October 1st in the fall and March 1st in the spring are guaranteed to be reviewed by the board in that academic semester.

Results of the Faculty Board review will be communicated in CIM. The Faculty Board may provide comments regarding the proposal review that will require your attention. Please check the CIM system for the status of your General Education proposal.

Faculty Board chairs are available to discuss the board comments and provide assistance. You are encouraged to address any feedback and resubmit in a timely fashion such that the approval process may move forward quickly. Boards will review resubmitted proposals on a rolling basis during the Fall and Spring academic semesters. See Tips for Successful Gen Ed Course Proposal.

Once your course receives final approval for all course categories you will receive an email from CIM.

After General Education Approval

Once the course is approved by the Faculty Board it will be marked in Testudo with the appropriate General Education category and students in the course will receive the appropriate General Education credit.

New Courses Approval

If you are creating a new course or making changes to an existing course including course name, number, or description changes, these must be submitted through the VPAC process. Contact your department VPAC representatives for procedures. The General Education course review process only relates to the applicability of the course to General Education. The General Education review process is independent of the VPAC process. New courses may be submitted for General Education review before, after or at the same time as the VPAC process. For courses approved for General Education, once VPAC approval has been granted, the Registrar will link the appropriate General Education category with the course.