Glossary

Attribute: A significant skill or context that frames the perspective or interdisciplinary thinking that provides the foundation for the course. Essentially, the tools used to maneuver throughout the course. These are not course add-ons but instead a fundamental way for students to engage in the course content.

Building Connections: In these courses students will draw on multiple perspectives, disciplinary and otherwise, to explore complex questions, ideas, and problems. By bringing together the unique contributions (e.g., knowledge, skills, methodologies, values and perspectives) of two or more bodies of knowledge or social positions students are encouraged to develop a more comprehensive understanding of multi-faceted topics. Building Connections courses are inspired by a broad and inclusive conception of interdisciplinarity, and emphasize multi-perspective taking. Students will practice higher-order learning activities such as conceptual thinking, problem solving, innovative design, critical analysis, evaluation of ideas, and creation of knowledge/products. Students must take three BC courses.

Course Objectives: Describe what students can expect to engage with during the course and should highlight the unique pathways students will take in your course to reach desired learning outcomes.

Exploring Perspectives: These courses introduce students to ways of thinking, knowing, and doing in different disciplines or fields, giving students the opportunity to explore the ways in which people form questions and ideas, the methodologies and techniques they use, and how they create knowledge and/or works. Students must take one course each from the Artist, Humanist, Natural Scientist, and Social Scientist perspectives.

Interdisciplinary Instruction: A mode of instruction in which faculty and students use and integrate methods, data, techniques, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of knowledge to examine a theme, issue, question or topic. The goal of interdisciplinary instruction is to advance students’ capacity to understand issues, address problems, and create new approaches and solutions that extend beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of instruction. As such, emphasis is generally placed on what students can do, rather than what they know (i.e., the acquisition of specific knowledge).

Office of General Education: The Office of General Education is part of the Office of the Provost and is made up of faculty, staff, and graduate students. The GE office advocates for student agency and exploration, connects and scaffolds student learning across the curriculum, designs curriculum that is relevant to and flexible for a changing world, communicates GE principles and practices across the campus, collaborates across disciplines, facilitates high quality teaching and engaged learning, designs holistic assessment and periodic review of courses, and honors diversities of perspectives and ways of knowing.

Signature Assignments: A Signature Assignment is an assignment that demonstrates at least one key learning outcome from a Gen Ed Refresh course. These assignments emphasize students’ meaning-making and connect their learning to perspective-taking and interdisciplinary thinking. These assignments will also be included in the learning ePortfolio.

Student Learning Outcomes: Detailed, measurable description of what students should be able to do and/or demonstrate upon completing your course. These outcomes are uniform across courses and align with the curriculum categories (EP/BC) and the Attributes.

Perspective-Taking: Perspective-taking involves viewing an issue, problem, object, or phenomenon from a particular standpoint other than your own. These are the cognitive and social skills required to understand how other people think and feel, and are essential in appreciating and taking on conflicting points of view. Perspective-taking at the disciplinary level (Exploring Perspectives) will focus on how people working within broadly conceived disciplines think - the types of questions they ask, the methodologies and techniques they use to approach those questions, and how disciplinary knowledge informs their ways of reasoning and doing. At the interdisciplinary level (Building Connections), perspective-taking entails drawing on multiple perspectives, disciplinary and otherwise, in order to develop  a more comprehensive understanding of complex questions, ideas and artifacts. Through perspective-taking practice students can increase their ability to understand the differences between disciplines, become more aware of academic and personal biases, and engage in the type of role-playing that allows us to recognize and appreciate the contributions of alternate perspectives. 

ePortfolios: These are students’ websites that connect their learning from across the curriculum, highlighting growth, metacognition, and meaning making. These will include signature assignments, learning goals, and reflections. 

University-wide General Education Committee (UWGEC): UWGEC is charged with the review and approval of all curriculum changes in general education across the University, assessment of the program, and disseminating General Education information to the campus community and its partners. All instruction and curriculum action items approved by the UWGEC are forwarded to the Undergraduate Council for review and submission to the Faculty Senate for approval.