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Tips for Gen Ed Course Proposals

The Faculty Board will provide feedback for courses that are not approved upon the initial review. Common reasons that courses are returned for revision: 

Syllabus: binders and paper labeled syllabus

• The proposal is missing a syllabus. 

• Student expectations aligned with General Education learning outcomes are not articulated in the course syllabus. 

• The syllabus does not describe how learning is assessed (i.e., the components that lead to the final grade). 

• The submitted syllabus includes no weekly plan or course schedule. 



• The responses to the learning outcomes questions in the application do not delineate student activities related to the learning outcome. 

• The responses to the learning outcome questions in the application do not describe how the instructor will know that the students are making gains in the outcome (how student learning will be measured/assessed is not indicated). 

• The student activities described in the application are not mentioned in the syllabus. 

• The student activities described in the application are not given significant mention in the syllabus and/or weight in the course grade. 


question mark in a cartoon bubbleFor I-Series: 

• There is no ‘Big Question’ driving the course design and content, or the Big Question is not clearly articulated. 

• The delivery format is too traditional (i.e., lecture/discussion/exam format). The I-Series Faculty Board expects an approach that includes active student-faculty and student-student engagement (group projects, poster sessions, team work, visiting speakers, field trips, etc.). 

For Scholarship in Practice: 

• The scholarship/discipline addressed in the course is not clearly defined or articulated. 

• How the scholarship will be applied is not evident in student activities. 

• There is no evidence in the course schedule (or other syllabus section) that students will have opportunities to develop skills and insights related to learning outcomes in a manner that represents how work is completed within the discipline (for example, that projects are completed in stages that require time, discussion, revision, critique, collaboration, etc.). 

• For learning outcome 5 (“Demonstrate an ability to collaborate in order to bring about a successful outcome”) there is mention of group work in the application and syllabus; however, there are no guidelines/expectations/assessments related to how a particular student will make gains in an ability to collaborate. 

• The course design does not emphasize practice (student engagement) in meeting the learning outcomes. For example, the course is lecture based and the focus is on students learning content of the discipline, rather than practice. 

• Scholarship in Practice activities do not seem central to the course design. Rather, a project is added at the end of the semester where students have no opportunity to receive feedback and refine their work.


collage of people photosFor Cultural Competence: 

• Actual negotiation strategies and practices that cross cultural boundaries are not a fundamental aspect of the course. It is not enough for students to simply learn about cross-cultural negotiation; they must experience hands-on negotiation practice throughout course. 


For Understanding Plural Societies: 

• There is no clear emphasis on the dynamics of the various groups that comprise a pluralistic society (the focus cannot be solely on, for example, one single group’s literature or history unless that group’s interaction with others, and the consequences thereof, is a primary focus of the course. 

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