Academic Goals and Learning Outcomes - General Education

GENERAL EDUCATION ACADEMIC GOALS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Western State Colorado University General Education program provides you with the foundation for a Liberal Arts education and the opportunity to develop important and necessary skills for your future. The philosophy behind a Liberal Arts education is the idea that a truly educated person should develop a base of knowledge that is characterized by not only depth but breadth giving the student the skills and knowledge to help him/her understand the complexities of the world around him/her.

 If you think that the General Education program is just a bunch of unrelated courses and requirements that you are forced to undertake before you can immerse yourself in your major, you should stop and think again. 

      To help you understand the importance and the purpose of Western State Colorado University's General Education Program, here is a list of our institutional goals that we hope you will achieve by the time you finish the General Education program and your degree at Western:

 

INSTITUTIONAL GOALS FOR WESTERN STATE COLORADO UNIVERSITY:

  • Western assists students to connect their learning among the sciences, liberal arts, and professional programs.
  • Western helps students develop skills to become lifelong learners. 
  •  Western State Colorado University's graduates will be prepared to assume constructive roles in local, national and global communities with a foundation for a professional career or graduate study.

These three institutional goals provide the basic foundation for Western’s General Education program.  In addition to the broad institutional goals, there are specific academic goals and essential skills which are embedded in the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences and the Arts and Humanities and found within the specific disciplines included in those areas.  Many of your assignments in your General Education courses are intended to provide you with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and capability to demonstrate your achievements towards mastering these goals.

INTENDED GOALS FOR GENERAL EDUCATION SOCIAL SCIENCES COURSES

  • Students gain insight into the methods and reasoning of the social sciences.
  • Students understand how historical, political, economic, cultural or social contexts shape  the human environment. 
  • Students understand how individuals relate to the social world, past and present.

 

INTENDED GOALS FOR GENERAL EDUCATION NATURAL SCIENCES COURSES 

  • Students demonstrate knowledge of scientific viewpoints.
  • Students use the scientific method.
  • Students evaluate the impacts of science and technology on society. 
  • Students demonstrate scientific literacy.

  

INTENDED GOALS FOR GENERAL EDUCATION ARTS AND HUMANITIES COURSES

  • Students enhance their appreciation of the modes of creative expression.
  • Students ask fundamental questions of value and meaning.
  • Students survey a variety of ways humans have perceived their world. 
  • Students explore the ways in which the human environment is shaped by social, cultural, linguistic, religious, philosophical, and historical circumstances. 
  • Students gain increased awareness of the moral and ethical dimensions of the human condition.

  

ESSENTIAL SKILLS EMBEDDED IN GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES 

Six essential skills have been identified by the state of Colorado and Western State Colorado University for emphasis in General Education courses:

  • REASONING
  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
  • SPEAKING
  • READING
  • MATHEMATICS
  • TECHNOLOGY &/or INFORMATION  LITERACY

These characteristics are the FOUNDATIONS OF ANALYSIS for almost every field of study. Your ability and willingness to strengthen these forms of analysis and expression will build up your intellectual fitness for not only the Life of the Mind but for whatever role(s) you ultimately chose beyond college.

EVERY General Education course must select and emphasize at least three of these characteristics. It is important to understand that not all courses and individual assignments will emphasize every one of these components but rather that over the course of the semester; you will be introduced to at least three.

 As you undertake General Education classes across disciplines and fields of study, you will be given opportunities to improve in all six areas as well as encouragement to make connections between your courses  as you develop these methods of learning and expression.

Reasoning

 

  • Understanding how the impact of issues and information in the discipline relate to other disciplines and to society
  • Recognizing a problem, finding questions about the problem, and identifying arguments about the problem
  • Using appropriate methods of reasoning to state and support a position and to recognize other points of view
  • Considering different points of view and basic ideas in those points of view
  • Drawing an appropriate conclusion based on reliable evidence.

 

Written Communication

 

  • Reading and writing in different disciplines using vocabulary, formats and documentation for that discipline
  • Using a variety of research tools to select appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Applying knowledge of syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Focusing on a main point
  • Finding and using knowledge and evidence according to the principles of individual disciplines
  • Applying the methods of communication used by experts in individual disciplines
  • Revising drafts to develop more effective communication, organization, clarity, and grammatical suitability in individual disciplines

Speaking

 

  • Using speaking skills that are appropriate in both formal and informal situations
  • Developing ideas according to the vocabulary and formats of different disciplines
  • Developing speaking presentations that are appropriate for a specific audience and purpose

 

Reading

 

  • Reading descriptive, persuasive, imaginative and technical writing
  • Researching topics and demonstrating learning about the topics in a written report, oral presentations, and/or group discussion
  • Finding main points in written material
  • Evaluating information, author’s point of view, and other points of view
  • Summarizing, paraphrasing, and citing written sources

 

Mathematics

 

  • Selecting data from information provided that are relevant to solving a problem
  • Using various methods, such as algebraic, geometric, numerical, graphical, or statistical reasoning to solve problems within the discipline
  • Interpreting and drawing inferences from mathematical models, such as formulas, graphs, and tables
  • Generalizing from specific patterns and phenomena to more abstract principles
  • Proceeding from abstract principles to specific applications
  • Representing mathematical information symbolically, graphically, numerically, and verbally
    • Estimating and verifying answers to mathematical problems to determine reasonableness, comparing alternatives, and selecting optimal results, recognizing that mathematical and statistical methods have limitations

 

Technology and/or Information Literacy

 

  • Developing a working knowledge of different electronic technologies and choosing appropriate technologies for different tasks
  • Identifying the appropriate questions to find suitable information and understanding the ways of using information in different disciplines
  • Using sources from a variety of research tools, both print and electronic, to find appropriate information
  • Evaluating print and electronic sources appropriate for different needs and according to accepted methods in various disciplines
  • Organizing information form a variety of sources for practical application (essay, research paper, oral presentation, etc.) and integrating information into a body of knowledge
  • Citing sources appropriately and avoiding plagiarism