Mission, Vision, & Outcomes

The new General Education program emphasizes interdisciplinary thinking, perspective-taking, and reflection. By considering ideas, challenges, and issues from various perspectives, students will learn to communicate more effectively, show empathy, and work together across areas of expertise and cultures to solve problems.

Mission

To guide students as they develop into critical, innovative thinkers who are ready to lead cooperatively with interdisciplinary thinking & perspective-taking.

Vision

To build and sustain a General Education program that emphasizes and facilitates:

  • Student agency & exploration;
  • Connected & scaffolded student learning;
  • Relevance to & flexibility for a changing world;
  • Ways of thinking & ways of knowing to contextualize content;
  • Reflection on learning across the curriculum;
  • Collaboration across disciplines;
  • High quality teaching & engaged learning;
  • Holistic assessment & periodic review of courses.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Program Learning Outcomes below demonstrate how the new curriculum satisfies UArizona's General Education Program Student Learning Outcomes and the Arizona Board of Regents' (ABOR) Competencies and Knowledge Areas. For a list of Student Learning Outcomes and ABOR Competencies and Knowledge Areas, please see the Assessment page on this website. 

In the new program, course categories are defined by perspective-taking and Attributes rather than traditional disciplinary distinctions. These innovative course categories are meant to make student experiences more relevant and transferable, to encourage connections between between courses and students' professional and academic goals, and to provide more student autonomy. For more information about the elements of the curriculum, please see the At-A-Glance page on this website.

The new American Institutions ABOR Knowledge Area is embedded throughout the GE curriculum. Readers are encouraged to visit Course Outcomes 3 and 4 within this collapsible menu for detailed information.

In addition to a robust offering of GE courses designed to engage students in meaningful learning experiences including politics, histories, and debates necessary for civic engagement, the Civics Assessment asks incoming students to reflect on what they know already about US history and government, using the content areas from the ABOR GE policy. The Civics Assessment will also identify students’ interests while pinpointing areas of needed growth. The results of the assessment will include recommended Gen Ed courses to fulfill the requirements in Exploring Perspectives and Building Connections that also cover areas of need in the students’ civic knowledge. The assessment will also identify co-curricular opportunities related to civic engagement that align with their interests, fostering student autonomy and agency in their academic pursuits.

Learning ePortfolios, which incorporate Signature Assignments submitted throughout the General Education experience, will be assessed for ABOR Knowledge Areas, including American Institutions.

To meet this outcome, students will complete Foundations Writing courses (English Composition I and II) and Writing Attribute courses in Exploring Perspectives (EP) and Building Connections (BC) courses. Additionally, many EP and BC courses have oral communication components. GE courses fulfilling the Writing Attribute promote engaged learning, critical thinking, and greater facility with written communication across rhetorical situations and genres. The Writing Attribute designates courses sharing these common goals:

  • Teach writing as a process in course activities and assignments;
  • Identify previous writing experiences and transfer writing practices to different genres of writing across academic disciplines; and
  • Define various disciplinary or field-specific writing expectations.

Lastly, students will complete non-GE Writing Emphasis courses within their major programs. These courses and subsequent assessments will be included in part of the larger written assessment plan for GE developed with the other two universities.

ABOR Competencies, Knowledge Areas, and Skills (ABOR Policy 2-210): Composition, communication, and rhetoric; written and oral communication; teamwork; time management; information and data literacy; differentiating between fact, inference, and judgement; civil discourse.

Assessments: Students complete a writing self-placement where they include writing artifacts as incoming students. These artifacts will be evaluated using a rubric and provide an opportunity to assess student learning over time. This is one aspect of the ABOR Written Communication Assessment. Additionally, Writing Attribute Signature Assignments, an annual assessment of the writing program by department, as well as other learning artifacts such as exams, papers, projects, presentations etc. will be collected to assess learning across the student curricular experience. The comparison of these two data sets should give a sense of student learning in this area.

Students will complete Foundations Mathematics (1 course, 3 units) and courses within Exploring Perspectives and Building Connections with the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Attribute.

GE courses that carry a QR attribute aim to apply the ability to interpret mathematical data to questions, ideas, challenges, and/or problems that are relevant to students, society, and/or the world. QR Attribute courses all share these common goals:

  • Teach and practice the process of quantitative reasoning in course activities and assignments;
  • Define disciplinary or field-specific expectations around quantitative reasoning, and
  • Identify previous experiences with quantitative reasoning and transfer those practices across a variety of questions and contexts.

In addition, students will complete the second course of Foundations Writing (English Composition II), which requires that students:

  • Employ a variety of research methods, including primary and/or secondary research, for purposes of inquiry.
  • Evaluate the quality, appropriateness, and credibility of sources.
  • Synthesize research findings in development of an argument.
  • Compose persuasive researched arguments for various audiences and purposes, and in multiple modalities.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the concepts of intellectual property

ABOR Competencies, Knowledge Areas, and Skills (ABOR Policy 2-210): Critical thinking; teamwork; mathematics and quantitative reasoning; time management; written and oral communication; information and data literacy; differentiating between fact, inference, and judgement; civic knowledge (civil discourse and civic engagement); intellectual integrity; understanding reasoning and evidence.

Assessment: Students will complete Signature Assignments for each of the Core Courses in the GE curriculum which will be rubric scored as a part of the ABOR Critical Thinking assessment. Courses with the Quantitative Reasoning course attribute will also include signature assignments that demonstrate the QR learning outcome and can include reports, projects, presentations, as well as other learning products. These will be included as a component of the ABOR Quantitative Reasoning assessment. Additionally, courses with the Writing course attribute will include signature assignments that demonstrate the writing learning outcome, and they will be included as a component of the ABOR Writing assessment.

Students will complete Exploring Perspectives (EP) and Building Connections (BC) courses as a part of the General Education (GE) Core Curriculum (7 courses total). In EP courses, students will encounter and practice the varied approaches (ways of questioning / thinking / reasoning / doing) of Artists, Humanists, Natural Scientists, and Social Scientists. In BC courses, students will explore the unique contributions of knowledge, skills, methodologies, values and perspectives from varied disciplines and social positions. Students in these courses will practice higher-order learning activities such as conceptual thinking, problem solving, innovative design, critical analysis, evaluation of ideas, and creation of knowledge/products. Additionally, these Core Courses carry Attributes, which provide multiple opportunities to continue to engage with critical thinking skills, providing a scaffolded learning experience that we believe will result in growth in all of these fundamental areas. The First-Year Civic Knowledge Assessment in Introduction to the General Education Experience (UNIV 101) will provide recommendations to students for which courses they should take to supplement areas of needed growth in EP and BC.

Competencies, Knowledge Areas, and Skills (ABOR Policy 2-210): Literature, fine arts, humanities; natural sciences; social and behavioral sciences; American Institutions (Economic theory, US History); critical thinking; teamwork; mathematics and quantitative reasoning; written and oral communication; diversity and inclusion; intercultural competency; applying ideas to real-world situations; civic knowledge (civil discourse and civic engagement)

Assessments: Students will complete signature assignments for each of the Core Courses in the GE curriculum which will be evaluated with rubrics as a part of the ABOR Critical Thinking assessment. Courses with the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) course Attribute will also include Signature Assignments that demonstrate the QR learning outcome and can include reports, projects, presentations, as well as other learning products. These will be included as a component of the ABOR Quantitative Reasoning assessment. Additionally, courses with the Writing Attribute will include Signature Assignments that demonstrate the Writing Learning Outcome, and they will be included as a component of the ABOR Writing assessment. Students’ civic knowledge will be assessed through the First-Year Civic Knowledge Assessment and the ABOR Civic Knowledge Assessment at the end of their GE experience (still to be developed). Lastly, select assignments from the Entry and Exit courses will include critical thinking, teamwork, time management, and other competencies designed for self-assessment and student growth.

Understanding and valuing differences is a central component of the General Education (GE) curriculum and our responsibility as a land grant, Hispanic-Serving, as well as an American Indian and Alaska Native-Serving Institution that sits on the Indigenous lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Understanding how the history of the United States continues to shape the present helps us become civically engaged people. Diversity and equity are foundational components of a constitutional democracy.

To demonstrate our commitment to student learning and valuing differences, students will complete courses with the Diversity & Equity Attribute, many of which will be focused on U.S. contexts. Additionally, diversity and inclusion will be embedded throughout the GE curriculum beyond these courses. To understand and respect societies outside the United States, students are also required to complete a course with the World Cultures & Societies Attribute.

Competencies, Knowledge Areas, and Skills (ABOR Policy 2-210): Critical thinking; teamwork; American institutions (economic theory, US history); time management; intercultural competency; civility; civic knowledge (discourse and engagement); open-mindedness; diversity and inclusion

Assessments: Students will complete Signature Assignments for each of the Core Courses in the GE curriculum which are designed to address the Attributes associated with the course. These assignments will be evaluated with rubrics as a part of the ABOR Civic Knowledge assessment. Signature Assignments that demonstrate the Diversity & Equity or the World Cultures &Societies attributes can include reports, projects, presentations, as well as other learning products, and these will be assessed in a university assessment of Diversity & Equity in the GE curriculum.

First Year Civics Assessment. In addition to a robust offering of GE courses designed to engage students in meaningful learning experiences including politics, histories, and debates necessary for civic engagement, we will design a self-assessment for incoming students to reflect on what they know already about US history and government, using the content areas from the ABOR GE policy. The Civics Assessment will also identify students’ interests while pinpointing areas of needed growth. The results of the assessment will include recommended Gen Ed courses to fulfill the requirements in Exploring Perspectives and Building Connections that also cover areas of need in the students’ civic knowledge. The assessment will also identify co-curricular opportunities related to civic engagement that align with their interests, fostering student autonomy and agency in their academic pursuits.

Every first-year student admitted to the new general education program will complete the General Education ePortfolio course, where they will develop their General Education learning ePortfolio. ePortfolios are designed to promote the "achievement of deep learning, significant engagement gains, and positive differential impact on historically underserved student populations” (Kuh, 2008). These ePortfolios will include the signature assignments that students create within each of the Exploring Perspectives and Building Connections courses that they take, which they will then reflect on based on their GE experience. Samples of ePortfolios will be evaluated using a portfolio rubric (revised from the AAC&U VALUE rubrics and using their method for assuring validity and reliability), and they will aid in our assessment of the GE program. Additionally, every student will complete an Exit survey to self-assess their level of attainment of the GE learning outcomes as a part of their participation in the General Education Portfolio course.

Every 5-7 years each approved GE course will be reviewed to be recertified as a GE course offering. This review will include submission of learning assessments that demonstrate one or more GE learning outcomes. We will collect course level data during the course re-approval process and/or Academic Program Review annually with key reviews at times of course recertification. University-wide findings from ABOR assessments will be measured annually with rotating outcomes.