interior header
 

New General Education Program:
Components & Guidelines for Implementation Report

OU General Education Program Requirements

COMPONENTS
Foundational Skills
Breadth of Knowledge
Perspectives
Research and Creative Activity

I. FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS

To participate actively in our society individuals must be able to communicate clearly, effectively and appropriately in a variety of settings and modes and to employ reasoned analysis to interpret and structure arguments. The "Foundational Skills" requirements ensure that all Ohio graduates have the opportunity to develop these skills.

Students fulfill these requirements through dedicated courses, whose subject matter is the skill and enriched courses, which use the skill in support of learning of a different subject matter. Dedicated courses carry two learning units; enriched courses carry one learning unit.

A. Written Expression Graduates should be able to write fluently and coherently for a variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of learning units and their make-up:
A minimum of eight learning units is required, including two from a freshman composition course. The remaining learning units are taken through a combination of dedicated and enriched courses. 
 
Criteria for dedicated courses: Dedicated courses provide a vocabulary and focus on topics such as the writing process, discourse conventions, persuasion, argumentation, critical writing, the power of language, analysis and critical discourse.

Criteria for enriched courses: Writing is a significant method for understanding and communicating course content. Students have multiple writing opportunities, receive feedback on their writing and some opportunity for revision. The quality of writing instruction and assignments are more important than quantity. However, as an approximate measure, engagement with written expression may involve a quarter of the course work: a student in a writing enriched course may be expected to produce approximately 5,000 words or the equivalent of 20 typed pages, some of which may be informal (e.g., journals, notes, reactions to speakers or reading) and some of which may be peer- rather than instructor- critiqued.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee, composed of faculty who have developed writing-enriched courses, the English Department's freshman composition director and the Writing Across the Curriculum director who report their recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

B. Oral Expression Graduates should be able to speak fluently and coherently for a variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of learning units and their make-up:
A minimum of three learning units is required.

Criteria for dedicated courses: Dedicated courses provide a vocabulary for further coursework and focus on topics such as discourse conventions, delivery, persuasion, argumentation, and practice of expression.

Criteria for enriched courses:  Students speak regularly through combinations of the following: a) answering questions and participating in discussions, b) taking positions and arguing those positions in class, c) debating other students, c) making formal and informal presentations of course material. Videotaping may be used. Students have multiple speaking opportunities and receive feedback on their speaking. The quality of instruction and assignments in the area of oral expression are more important than quantity. However, as an approximate measure, engagement with oral expression may involve a quarter of the course work.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

C. Logical and Mathematical Thinking  Graduates should be able to interpret and manipulate mathematical and graphical information and use data and logic to support arguments and reach conclusions.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of learning units and their make-up: 
A minimum of four learning units is required, including two from a dedicated course.

Criteria for dedicated courses: Dedicated courses include those in public numbers, college-level mathematics, analytical and quantitative thinking, logic, and statistics.

Criteria for enriched courses:  The quality of instruction and assignments in the area of logical and mathematical thinking are more important than quantity. However, as an approximate measure, a quarter of the course work may require students to use symbolic, numerical, graphical or mathematical methods for formulating and solving problems or for making decisions.

Approval process:  Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

II. BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE

To function effectively in society, individuals require breadth as well as depth of knowledge. Graduates should be familiar with diverse bodies of knowledge, specifically those in the following three domains: (1) Fine Arts and Humanities; (2) Science, Mathematics and Technology; (3) Social Sciences. The “Breadth of Knowledge” requirement introduces students to areas of knowledge outside of their majors through rigorous courses that engage them actively and provide opportunities for discourse, critical reading, and critical thinking.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of credit hours and their make-up: Students are required to take a minimum of six courses, two from each of three broad domains of knowledge for a minimum of 8 credit hours in each domain: (1) Humanities and Fine Arts; (2) Science, Mathematics , and Technology; (3) Social Sciences. Each course must be from a different department and no course can be from the department of the student’s primary major.

Criteria for Breadth of Knowledge Courses:

(1) Breadth of Knowledge courses should require students to be active learners. Pedagogy in these courses should require students to demonstrate active knowledge of what is to be learned, through activities such as application, critique, or synthesis of the course materials. Active learning ought to be reflected in student evaluation. As a guideline, approximately half the grade in a Breadth of Knowledge course should be based on assignments, examinations, class projects, laboratory, studio and other activities that require active mastery of the course materials.1

1Strategies that promote active learning might include, but are not limited to, the following: discussion sessions or break-out groups, assignments that require students to synthesize course material, the use of interactive technologies, increased discourse between students and instructor and/or between students, service learning, laboratory exercises, participation in the fine arts, and collaborative research projects.  

(2) Breadth of Knowledge courses should be academically rigorous. As a general rule these courses should require at least two hours of work per week outside the classroom for each credit hour. 
(3) Breadth of Knowledge courses should have no or limited prerequisites and introduce a significant aspect of the discipline.

Course approval process: The General Education Council reviews courses with reference to the above criteria and reports to the University Curriculum Council.  

III. PERSPECTIVES

The Breadth of Knowledge component of the General Education program exposes Ohio University students to the range of human knowledge as it is articulated in traditional academic disciplines. However, exposure to the breadth of disciplines alone does not guarantee our students exposure to other areas of knowledge necessary for a well-rounded education and the life of an intellectually engaged citizen. These areas include an understanding of Aesthetics, of different Cultures, of Ethics, and of Science and Technology. We call these areas of knowledge “Perspectives” because educated persons are informed by such perspectives as they seek to apply their education to questions in life.

The study of these Perspectives is the province of no single department or school at Ohio University. Thus, Ohio University students may be able to complete the Perspectives requirements by taking courses in a range of disciplines, including their own major department.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of learning units and their make-up: Students are required to take a minimum of three learning units from each of four Perspectives: Aesthetics, Culture, Ethics, and Science and Technology. Learning units may be earned in both dedicated and enriched courses.

Aesthetics

Study in Aesthetics provides students at Ohio University with a foundation for developing an appreciation for art and the value of art for individuals and for a society. Study in Aesthetics allows students to learn how art can express, interpret, and clarify our world. This study is an important element in the development of a student as a well-rounded, educated person.

Criteria for dedicated courses(two learning units): Dedicated courses lead students, as the central focus and main work of the course, to engage in such activities or topics as: (a) the process of making art; (b) the understanding and appreciation of an art form; (c) the understanding and appreciation of the historical development of art forms and aesthetic concepts; (d) the philosophy of art.

Criteria for enriched courses(one learning unit): Enriched courses will lead students to engage in the same activities or topics indicated for dedicated courses in Aesthetics, but not as the central focus and main work of the course. The quality of instruction and assignments in Aesthetics are more important than quantity; however, as an approximate measure, engagement with the study of aesthetics related topics may involve a quarter of the work for a four-credit hour course.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise, who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

Culture

Contemporary society is diverse in race, ethnicity, languages, religions, and sexual orientation, and our society will grow ever more diverse in the future as the global economy and technological advances bring the world closer. Graduates of Ohio University must be prepared to understand and succeed in this diverse world through courses that examine issues of culture. Experience in the analysis of problems from a cultural perspective in an academic setting can be of value in preparing an individual to understand such issues in life.

Criteria for dedicated courses(two learning units): Dedicated courses lead students, as the central focus and main work of the course, to engage in such activities or topics as: (a) the study of distinctive cultures and their practices within national or international contexts; (b) the experience of various cultures within the context of a broader culture; (c) the understanding and appreciation of the historical development of cultures and cultural concepts.

Criteria for enriched courses(one learning unit): Enriched courses will lead students to engage in the same sorts of activities or topics indicated for dedicated courses in the study of Culture, but not as the central focus and main work of the course. The quality of instruction and assignments in the study of Culture are more important than quantity; however, as an approximate measure, engagement with the study of culture related topics may involve a quarter of the work for a four-credit hour course.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise, who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

Ethics

All graduates, no matter what careers they choose, will face personal and professional decisions that require ethical judgment. Often “common sense” is not a sufficient guide in making such decisions. Experience analyzing problems from an ethical perspective in an academic setting can be of value in preparing an individual to understand and resolve ethical questions in life.

Criteria for dedicated courses(two learning units): Dedicated courses lead students, as the central focus and main work of the course, to engage in such activities or topics as: (a) the definition and evaluation of different types of problems from an ethical perspective; (b) the understanding and appreciation of the historical development of ethics and ethical concepts.

Criteria for enriched courses(one learning unit): Enriched courses will lead students to engage in the same sorts of activities or topics indicated for dedicated courses in Ethics, but not as the central focus and main work of the course. The quality of instruction and assignments in Ethics are more important than quantity; however, as an approximate measure, engagement with the study of ethics related topics may involve a quarter of the work for a four-credit hour course.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise, who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

Science and Technology

Science and Technology play an increasingly direct role in today’s world. All graduates, no matter what careers they choose, will face decisions both in their personal lives and in their capacity as citizens, that will call for an understanding of scientific and technological issues. Increased experience in analyzing questions from the point of view of Science or Technology will help our graduates deal with these issues later in life.

Criteria for dedicated Courses(two learning units):dedicated courses lead students, as the central focus and main work of the course, to engage in such activities or topics as: (a) the study of a core physical or natural science with its laboratory applications; (b) the understanding and appreciation of science and technology with its applications to today's world; (c) the process of investigating a problem using the scientific method of inquiry: developing and testing reasonable hypotheses, and making decisions based on primary data

Criteria for enriched courses (one learning unit): Enriched courses will lead students to engage in the same sorts of activities or topics indicated for dedicated courses in Science and Technology, but not as the central focus and main work of the course. The quality of instruction and assignments in Science and Technology are more important than quantity; however, as an approximate measure, engagement with the study of science and technology related topics may involve a quarter of the work for a four-credit hour course.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by an advisory committee of faculty with relevant expertise, who are designated by and who report recommendations to the General Education Council, which reports to the University Curriculum Council.

IV. RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY

In addition to the study of what previous thinkers and artists have already accomplished, a generally educated person should gain experience in the processes by which knowledge and works of art are created in disciplines selected by the student. These processes may include: a) an inquiry into, and a critical evaluation of, the information, ideas, and creative works and approaches that are central to that discipline; b) the study of the particular methods of scholarly research or artistic creation used by faculty in that discipline; c) a personal experience of the process of synthesis resulting in the creation of knowledge or examples of artistic expression.

Means of Attaining Goals

Number of learning units and their make-up: Students are required to take a minimum of four learning units in Research and Creative Activity. Learning units may be earned in both dedicated and enriched courses. Dedicated courses carry two learning units; enriched courses carry one learning unit.

It is expected that many students will complete the Research and Creative Activity requirement within their own majors. However, since all departments and schools at Ohio University engage in research and creative activity, students may be able to complete some portion of these requirements through coursework in other disciplines.

Criteria for dedicated courses(two learning units): Dedicated courses lead students, as the central focus and main work of the course, to engage in the processes of research or creative activity as they may be defined by a particular discipline.

Criteria for enriched courses (one learning unit):Enriched courses will lead students to engage in one or more of the processes involved in Research or Creative Activity as they may be defined by a particular discipline; however, Research or Creative Activity is not the central focus and main work of the course. The quality of instruction and assignments in research and creative activity are more important than quantity; however, as an approximate measure, engagement with the research or creative activity may involve a quarter of the work for a four-credit hour course.

Course approval process: Courses are reviewed by the department or school curriculum committee and evaluated according to the unit’s faculty-approved policies. The department or school then reports its recommendations to the General Education Council, which, reports to the University Curriculum Council.

GUIDELINES

The General Education Council offers the following guidelines to schools and departments as they begin the process of planning for the new general education program.

A. General
1. A given course must be consistent in its general education identity. All sections of a given course must be enriched in the same way. For example, if the Classics Department decides to enrich "CLAS 333" for Writing and the Ethics perspective, the department commits itself to offering "CLAS 333" with those enrichments whenever the class is taught. The rationale for this guideline is predictability in curriculum choices for students and clarity in advising.
2. The Council will be flexible regarding the enrichment of courses that do not follow the four-credit norm. The Council will focus on what the course aims to achieve for the general education goal in absolute terms.
3. Research courses that are repeatable for additional credit are repeatable for additional learning units in Research and Creative Activity.

B. Enriched Courses
4. Breadth of Knowledge courses cannot be enriched for more than one learning unit. The Breadth of Knowledge courses are introductions to their disciplines. These courses also require students to demonstrate active mastery of what has been learned. Breadth of Knowledge courses have been limited to one enrichment unit to keep the focus on the courses' introductory function and the goal that students be engaged in active learning.
5. Any course that is not a Breadth of Knowledge course may be enriched with two learning units. These learning units should come from different components of the program; e.g., one learning unit in Writing (a Foundational Skill) and one learning unit in Aesthetics (a Perspective). The rationale for the limit on total enrichment units is to avoid the creation of a super-enriched general education course that promises more and delivers less. We suggest the enrichment focus on a single Foundational Skill or Perspective out of a similar concern for quality. In some instances the nature of a course may allow for two Foundational Skills learning units; e.g. one in Writing and one in Oral Expression. Other courses may allow for two Perspective enrichments; e.g., one in Culture and one in Aesthetics.

C. Dedicated Courses
6. Dedicated Foundational Skills courses may not be enriched. The rationale for this guideline is two-fold: (1) To focus the dedicated skills class on the teaching and learning of the skill; (2) To help thread the student¹s attainment of general education goals throughout the entire undergraduate career. More on (2): One of the principles of the new program is to help Ohio University students better assimilate the goals of general education through repeated exposure to them over time. The design of the new program seeks to thread the student¹s completion of general education goals throughout the undergraduate career rather than to focus this effort in a student¹s first two years. Dedicated Foundational Skills courses are likely to be taken in the freshman year. The further enrichment of these courses with other general education goals would set a preponderant amount of the student¹s pursuit of general education goals in the freshman year and discourage the pursuit of these goals later on.
7. A dedicated Research and Creative Activity course may be enriched for a Foundational Skill.
8. A dedicated Perspective course may be enriched for a Foundational Skill.

 

University College
Chubb Hall 140
Athens, Ohio 45701
(740) 593-1935
All Rights Reserved