Each department or program may offer up to five General Education courses may be offered per department/program. If one of these courses fulfills the Diversity (DV) requirement, a sixth course may be offered. Courses are restricted to the 100 and 200 levels and should have minimal prerequisites. Each General Education course should be offered at least once a year; each department/program should offer one General Education course in evening or weekend format at least every third semester.

To certify a course as counting for General Education credit, departments must submit a copy of the syllabus and any relevant assignment instructions to the General Education Director at generaleducation@uwp.edu. Each General Education course must address one learning goal in each of three categories: Communication, Reasoned Judgment, and Social and Personal Responsibility. Different sections of the same course should meet the same learning outcomes, but may use different assignments to do so. If all sections of a course use the same assignments, a single syllabus may be submitted for all sections. If different assignments are used in different sections, a separate syllabus must be submitted for each section. The learning goals for every General Education course and the assignments that achieve these goals must be listed in a General Education statement in the syllabus. A checklist of course requirements, including a sample syllabus statement, is provided below.


General Education Minimum Course Expectations Communication |  Literacy

Literacy | Reading and writing for understanding and effective communication

At the 100-level, instructors may opt to emphasize reading within a discipline over writing. Assignments should be constructed so that feedback occurs at least 6 times throughout the semester.

At the 200-level, instructors are expected to include both reading and writing components. Assignments should be constructed so that feedback occurs at least 4 times throughout the semester.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus.

Requirement. For traditional first-year students, new to the discipline/topic, the time spent per week should be approximately two hours per credit-hour. Therefore for a 3-credit class, students are expected to complete 6-hours of reading. In some disciplines that might be equivalent to 100-pages per week, in others 30-40.

Evidence of the requirement should be measured by a minimum of two of the following:
1. Comprehends vocabulary appropriately to summarize or paraphrase the information.
2. Applies knowledge to a variety of reading assignments.
3. Identifies aspects of a text to respond to questions posed in assigned tasks.
4. Comments on texts in ways that preserve the author’s meanings and link them to the assignment.

Requirement. Students should write a minimum the equivalent of 12-16 pages typed, doublespaced, normal 12-point font (such as Times or Times New Roman). Examples of some ways in which a course might meet this minimum:
1. Four 3-4-page papers
2. Six 2-page papers 
3. Fourteen 1-page papers 
4. Two essay exams and five papers (sufficient to achieve the minimum equivalent) 
5. Weekly in-class writing assignments which are revised and collected into a portfolio.

These are only examples; instructors are free to design their own "road" to the minimum amount of writing in keeping with best practices of the individual disciplines.

Evidence of writing quality should be based on control of syntax and mechanics plus a minimum of two of the following:
1. Demonstrates attention to context, audience, purpose, and to the assigned task(s)
2. Uses appropriate content to develop ideas 
3. Consistency of organization and presentation
4. Use of sources to support ideas in writing 

Approved by the UW-Parkside Faculty Senate on May 7, 2013.

Oral Communication | Listening, Speaking, and Presenting Effectively

The AAC&U defines oral communication as: “prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.” At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, oral communication is recognized as consisting of three components: listening, speaking, and presenting effectively. Courses addressing oral communication must include all three components.

Listening is a specific communication skill that is separate albeit interconnected with effective presentation. According to the National Communication Association, Listening is the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages. People listen in order to comprehend information, critique and evaluate a message, show empathy for the feelings expressed by others, or appreciate a performance. Effective listening includes both literal and critical comprehension of ideas and information transmitted in oral language. (pp. 10-11)1

Students should be explicitly assessed on their listening skills, and there should be documentation provided of the students’ comprehension, critique, or aesthetic appreciation through listening.

Students should apply criteria while listening that is appropriate for the subject matter of the course disciplinary background.

Evidence of effective listening should be documented through a product such as written assignment, orally-presented assignment, or examination performance.

Effective listening should be evaluated by some of the following specific criteria:2

  • Recognition of main ideas
  • Identify supporting details
  • Recognize explicit relationships among ideas
  • Recall basic ideas and details
  • Attend with an open mind
  • Perceive the speaker’s or performance purpose and organization of ideas and information
  • Discriminate between statements of fact and statements of opinion
  • Distinguish between emotional and logical arguments
  • Detect bias and prejudice o Recognize speaker’s attitude
  • Synthesize and evaluate by drawing logical inferences and conclusions
  • Recall the implications and arguments
  • Recognize discrepancies between the speaker’s verbal and non-verbal messages
  • Employ active listening techniques when appropriate
  • Apply appropriate aesthetic criteria when assessing an artistic performance

Speaking out loud in a formal situation can be a stressful and difficult and it combines a number of skills. Students should be encouraged to think about the speaking part of a presentation as separate from the content. The ways in which one presents the content are a specific communication skill.

Speaking is about communicating effectively through volume, enunciation, pace, rhythm, and pitch. An effective presentation will involve clear and effective speaking to communicate those ideas.

Speaking should be evaluated based on some of the following criteria:

  • Rate – is the speaker taking time and emphasizing important ideas?
  • Volume – can the speaker be heard?
  • Enunciation – can the speaker be understood?
  • Rhythm – is there variation in the presentation of ideas, heightening the most important and allowing for pauses where listeners can absorb important points?
  • Pitch – Is the speaker using a pitch range that is pleasant to listen to as opposed to being strident or monotone?

While speaking is only one facet of oral communication, speakers should be aware of the very basic mechanisms of good speaking in order to make their presentations as effective as possible.


  • Minimum of 2 oral presentations
  • Presentations in total should be for a minimum of 10 minutes (these could be distributed in various ways such as a 3-minute and 7-minute presentation, two 5-minute presentations, a 2-minute, 2-minute, and 6-minute presentation).
  • Only presentations that are 2-minutes in length or longer will count toward fulfilling this criterion.
  • Should be based on research or material appropriate for specific disciplinary nature of course
  • Should utilize an organizational structure appropriate for the disciplinary background(s) of the course subject material (i.e., problem solution, story/narrative, sequential/chronological)
  • Should be delivered extemporaneously or with minimal use of script or notes
  • Should use nonverbal communication to project confidence and establish a connection with the audience by maintaining eye contact with the audience and good posture
  • In cases of group presentations, part of the student’s grade should be based on his/her individual performance during the group presentation
  • Present ethically by using language that is respectful of diverse groups and giving proper attribution to source material

2 Most of these criteria are drawn from the National Communication Association’s report on Speaking and Listening Competencies for College Students.

Information Technology Competence

Current Description | Using modern information technology to retrieve and transmit information

Proposed Description | Using modern technology to enhance communications. This description includes understanding the environment and vocabulary of the technology and any related software.

Functional expertise: Expertise in using a computer software tool to enhance communications, including basic and advanced features of the tool and common usage of the tool. Software tools may include, but are not limited to presentation, publishing, spreadsheet, database, web development, graphics, artistic software, and at the 100 level, D2L proficiency. Capabilities shall include basic and advanced (or beyond basic) abilities. The student may demonstrate proficiency in one (or more) tools.

Computer Savvy: Assesses comprehension of the language of computing and its integration into an environment; for example, identifying how computing fits into an organization’s operations and/or society; or uses the appropriate vocabulary when describing the use of technology to achieve the desired product.

Use of English: Appropriate use of English in the final product(s) is expected.

A course shall address at least two of these areas. These skills should be assessed in at least three assignments, so that techniques may be practiced and improved upon.

(Skills such as programming, algorithms, and computer system configuration may be assessed as part of Reasoned Judgment versus Communication.)

  Assessment 100-level 200-level
Functional Expertise Technical ability in expression: Basic and Advanced features Basic features or capabilities 3-5 advanced features or capabilities
Computer Savvy Technical comprehension Knowledge and usage-level Comprehension, application and/or analysis levels
Use of English Functional area: Appropriate application Format, organization, appearance, spelling 100-level plus: grammar, style, delivery






Creative Expression

Current Description: Communicating through artistic statement.

Proposed Description: Communicating through or about artistic statement.

At all levels: Students will experience and also demonstrate that they understand the centrality of 'creative expression' to the discipline and art that forms the basis for the coursework as defined by the instructor.

At the 100-level, the course should have at least three of the 100-level expectations. At the 200- level, the course should incorporate at least two of the 100-level expectations and at least two of the 200-level expectations. These skills should be assessed in at least three assignments, so that techniques may be practiced and improved upon.

Students will develop, practice, and apply creative expression through original communication skills1 in writing, visual art, and/or performing arts, using a common vocabulary.

Students who are creating new artistic works will experience the responsibility of contributing original, sometimes subjective material, open for public and professional critique for which they may be asked to defend or explain.

Students will critically reflect on experiences in and/or with “performance,” “exhibition,” or “publication” situations.

Students will demonstrate understanding of the importance of critique to the creative process.

Students will articulate the value of creative expression for individuals, communities, and/or humanity as a whole.

Students will share their work through “exhibition”, “publication”, and/or “performance”.

Students will apply the fine arts as a means to understand diversity and the experiences of those who are different from oneself.

Students will examine creative works both structurally and within larger contexts.

1 This expectation applies to students communicating through drawing, writing, painting, sculpting, or other original expressions as required by a particular discipline.


Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking | Applying logic and reasoning to problems solving

Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. There are four major components of Critical Thinking:

Exploration: Students will articulate an issue by explaining ambiguity and identifying boundaries of the issue and relevant context.

Evidence: Students will interpret and evaluate information from relevant and reliable sources.

Influence of points of view: Students will identify their own and others’ point of view when presenting a position on an issue.

Conclusions: Students will make conclusions which acknowledge complexity. These skills should be assessed in at least two assignments, so that techniques may be practiced and improved upon.


  • Students will fully state, describe, and clarify an issue or problem.
  • Students will analyze and interpret information from at least two relevant and reliable sources.
  • Students will identify their own and others’ assumptions when presenting a position on an issue.
  • Students will make conclusions that are tied to a range of information.


  • Students will fully and concisely state, describe, and clarify an issue or problem and deliver relevant information necessary for understanding of the issue or problem.
  • Students will analyze, interpret, and synthesize information from multiple relevant and reliable sources.
  • Students will identify their own and others’ assumptions and several relevant contexts when presenting a position on an issue.
  • Students will make conclusions that are tied to a range of information, including alternative viewpoints.

Ethical Thinking

Ethical Thinking | Recognizing and analyzing ethical issues and actions

At the 100-level, instructors should address a minimum of 2 of the learning outcomes. At the 200-level, instructors should address a minimum of 3 of the learning outcomes from at least two categories.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus.


1. Describes their own core beliefs and articulate the origins of these beliefs.

2. Compares and contrasts their beliefs with others objectively in various social contexts.

3. Compares and contrasts the consequences/ramifications of actions that have multiple implications.


1. Applies ethical perspectives/concepts in multiple scenarios.

2. Applies ethical perspectives/concepts using an alternative perspective in multiple scenarios.

3. Evaluates ethical issues from multiple perspectives.

Approved by the UW-Parkside Faculty Senate on May 7, 2013.

Scientific Thinking

Scientific Thinking | Understanding and applying the scientific method.

At the 100-level: Instructors should emphasize at least two expectations from the skills category.

At the 200-level: Instructors should emphasize at least two expectations from the skills category and one from the attitudes/behaviors category.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus.

KNOWLEDGE (embedded)
All general education courses addressing scientific thinking are expected to identify relevant content knowledge in terms of the appropriate principles, theories and methods.


  1. Recognizes the application of the scientific method in solving contemporary problems.
  2. Critically evaluates information and sources.
  3. Converts relevant information into various forms (e.g. charts, graphs, tables, figures).


  1. Considers alternate, divergent, or contradictory perspectives or ideas.
  2. Includes novel or unique approaches to problems or ideas.

Supporting Information | The criteria presented above were developed through conversations with department chairs/directors in the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and by using the AAC&U Value rubrics for quantitative literacy and creative thinking (www.aacu.org/value/rubrics).

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills: Understanding how to produce and interpret quantitative and qualitative information.

In an effort to sustain the emphasis on qualitative and quantitative information and the two-fold emphasis of interpretation and production of the information, this expectation is framed around three criteria: identification, analysis and conclusion. Therefore, the skill cannot be separated from the issue/problem that the information represents. It was our intent to provide a framework that would allow instructors to develop course specific outcomes. Furthermore, it is important to realize the natural overlap of this outcome with critical thinking and communication. The expectation was developed from three AAC&U Value Rubrics Inquiry and Analysis, Problem Solving and Quantitative Literacy.

Courses at the 100-level are expected to address one sub-point under each criterion; courses at the 200-level are also expected to address all the criteria, but should address at least one additional sub-point under one of the criteria. In an effort to ensure that students receive feedback on developing their analytical skills and to accommodate courses where the associated assignment is a final, end-of-semester project/report, the Committee requires that students receive feedback at least 3 times during the semester. This will require that instructors focussing on an end-of-semester project/report create milestones throughout the semester.

Syllabi should identify GE learning goals and outcomes using approved language. For this expectation, syllabi should also identify the relevant sub points, but the outcomes should be stated in the form appropriate to the course.

Identifying the Issue/Problem – Students construct a clear statement of the issue/problem.


  1. Students can identify evidence needed to examine an issue or problem.
  2. Students represent the issue/problem in appropriate forms (e.g. charts, graphs, tables, figures, narratives, etc). 
  3. Students can convert data/information from one form to another.
  4. Students appropriately address the complexity of the issue/problem.

Analysis of the Issue/Problem – The analysis indicates the appropriate comprehension of the issue/problem. The analysis is clearly presented and well organized.


  1. Design Process - Students incorporate the appropriate elements of methodology/theory in approaching the analysis. This sub-point may also include addressing contextual points associated with the problem/issue.
  2. Analysis/Calculations - Are correct and presented appropriately for intended purpose.
  3. Conclusion – The conclusion is clear, well supported, and logical.

Sub points

  1. Students recognize the implication and limitations of their analysis. Students identify and address assumptions. This may overlap with how the analysis is presented.
  2. Students recommend, identify, or implement action(s) that address(es) the problem and is supported by the analysis.
  3. Students identify how the analysis (information) may be applied to new issues/problems.


Aesthetic Skills

Aesthetic skills | Critiquing and appreciating the fine arts

At the 100-level | Instructors should address a minimum total of 3 of the learning outcomes from at least two categories.

At the 200-level  | Instructors should address a minimum total of 4 of the learning outcomes from at least two categories.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus, and expectations should be assessed with 3 or more assignments.

Student will:

  1. Explain their visceral and/or intellectual reaction to artworks in a given media.
  2. Contrast their personal reactions and those of another to one or more artworks on the basis of their formal, material, and procedural elements.
  3. Evaluate multiple artworks on the basis of formal, material and procedural considerations.
  4. Evaluate the quality of an artwork in the context of a set of aesthetic criteria.

CRITICISM (Cognitive)
Students will:

  1. Describe the formal, material and procedural elements in two or more works of art in a given medium, as defined by the instructor. 
  2. Identify the criteria involved in assessing artwork in a given medium and aesthetic criteria generally.
  3. Analyze a work of art or their own personal reactions and the reactions of others, in light of aesthetic criteria.
  4. Interpret an artwork on the basis of symbolic, historical, socio-political or philosophical considerations.

A list of the works consulted in preparing this expectation is available upon request.


Individual Accountability

Individual Accountability | Understanding what a responsible choice is and that one’s present education and lifelong learning is a personal responsibility.

At the 100-level: Instructors should address one expectation from “Responsible Choice” plus a minimum of one other component from each of the remaining sections.

At the 200-level: Instructors should address one expectation from “Responsible Choice” plus a minimum of three other components using both of the remaining sections.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus. Responsible choice assumes that all required work is completed with evaluation based on the listed components.


  1. Identifies opportunities to expand knowledge, skills, and abilities as part of completing required work.
  2. Identifies multiple approaches for solving the problem. Approaches may be elementary in scope.
  3. Conducts an introductory evaluation of solutions including: history, logic, reasoning, feasibility and impact. Introductory implies that key elements of depth may be missing.
  4. Implements the solution in a manner that addresses the problem statement but may ignore relevant contextual factors.


  1. Applies previous knowledge and skills to demonstrate comprehension and performance in novel situations.
  2. Compares life experience and academic knowledge to infer differences, as well as similarities, and acknowledges perspectives other than own.
  3. Uses skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation in a new situation to contribute to understanding of problems or issues.


  1. Evaluates prior learning (past experiences inside and outside of the classroom) with some depth, revealing slightly clarified meanings or indicating a somewhat broader perspective about educational or life events.
  2. Articulates strengths and challenges (within specific performances or events) to increase effectiveness in different contexts (through increased self-awareness).
  3. Evaluates results relative to the problem defined with some consideration of need for further work.

Approved by the UW-Parkside Faculty Senate on May 7, 2013.

Social Justice

Current Definition
Social Equality | Understanding and questioning social, political, economic and historical conditions that construct diversity and inequality

Proposed change to Social Justice with the following definition
Social Justice | Understanding and questioning values and beliefs about social, political, economic and historical contexts that construct diversity and inequality

At the 100-level: Instructors should address a minimum of 2 of the learning outcomes.

At the 200-level: Instructors should address a minimum of 3 of the learning outcomes from at least two categories.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus and guidelines for respectful academic interaction in the classroom should be established.


  1. Identifies privilege (dominant culture, effects on others, etc.) and its relationship to social justice issues in community life, politics, and government.
  2. Expresses how their own attitudes and beliefs differ from those of other cultures.
  3. Compares and contrasts various values and beliefs in the context of historical and geopolitical events.
  4. Examines identity and race as a social and cultural construct from multiple perspectives with a focus on self-awareness.


  1. Examines research on race and culture.
  2. Analyzes social justice from the perspectives of human rights, dignity and freedom.


  1. Recognizes how personal agency and individuals can impact social change through organized and personal activism.
  2. Demonstrates the ability to collaboratively work in community contexts and structures

Approved by the UW-Parkside Faculty Senate on May 7, 2013.

Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement |  To prepare educated, engaged citizens, strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility, address critical societal issues, and contribute to the public good.

At the 100-level: Students will demonstrate a responsibility to a civic good, and identify intentional ways to contribute to a civic good, and demonstrate the ability to work actively within community contexts and structures to achieve a civic good.

At the 200-level: Students will also work collaboratively with others in the community to achieve a civic good.

Global Perspective

Global Perspective | Acquiring the knowledge and skills that provide an understanding of international/global issues and processes

At the 100-level: Instructors should address a minimum of 2 of the learning outcomes.

At the 200-level: Instructors should address a minimum 3 of the learning outcomes from at least two categories.

Criteria addressed should be identified on the syllabus.


  1. Identifies major global concepts, issues, processes, and systems.
  2. Recognizes that his/her culture is one of many diverse cultures and that alternate perceptions and behaviors may be based in cultural differences.
  3. Explains how human actions modify physical environments and vice versa.


  1. Demonstrates empathy and tolerance for ambiguity in a global context.
  2. Collects valid and reliable data and information on international issue.
  3. Applies strategies to work effectively with those who are from other cultures and places.
  4. Uses knowledge of diverse cultural frames of reference and alternate perspectives for problem-solving.


  1. Expresses openness to most, if not all, interactions with culturally different others.
  2. Recognizes interconnected nature of the world and the importance of global citizenship.
  3. Identifies positive aspects of different cultures from around the globe.
  4. Reflects on how their national and cultural identities have been shaped.

Approved by the UW-Parkside Faculty Senate on May 7, 2013.


Background |  The approved description of teamwork within UWP’s General Education Program is working effectively with others for a common goal. The outcome is housed under Social and Personal Responsibility and therefore reflects behavior more than the product. The academic value of the product would likely be addressed by some combination of outcomes under Communication and Reasoned Judgment.

For teamwork to be a viable learning outcome, the following conditions must be met:

  • The team or group interactions should result in a specific product or products such as research projects, papers, presentations, or performances.
  • The product(s) should contribute at least 20% toward a student’s overall grade in the course and at least 15% of the course grade should reflect the process of teamwork. The ratio between product and process does not have to be maintained.
  • Feedback must occur at a minimum of three times during the semester and at intervals that allow for significant gains in student development.

The criteria, explained below, are based on the AAC&U Teamwork VALUE rubric https://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics. As such, the following definition of teamwork is adopted: Teamwork is behaviors under the control of individual team members (effort they put into team tasks, their manner of interacting with others on team, and the quantity and quality of contributions they make to team discussions).

The four criteria that must be addressed are:

  1. Contributions to team meetings
  2. Facilitation of contributions of other team members
  3. Individual contributions outside of team meetings
  4. Contributions to team climate

Instructors may wish to add responds to conflict, present in the value rubric, as a criterion. It is important to note that these criteria should include the quality of contribution in addition to the process of contribution.

At a minimum, 100-level courses should seek to reach level 2 in terms of performance and 200- level courses should seek to reach level 3.


Contributes to Team Meetings Offers new suggestions to advance the work of the group. Offers alternative solutions or courses of action that build on the ideas of others
Facilitates the Contributions of Team Members Engages team members in ways that facilitate their contributions to meetings by restating the views of other team members and/or asking questions for clarification. Engages team members in ways that facilitate their contributions to meetings by constructively building upon or synthesizing the contributions of others
Individual Contributions Outside of Team Meetings Completes all assigned tasks by deadline; work accomplished advances the project. Completes all assigned tasks by deadline; work accomplished is thorough, comprehensive, and advances the project
Fosters Constructive Team Climate

Supports a constructive team climate by doing any two of the following:

  • Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication.
  • Conveys a positive attitude about the team and its work.
  • Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it. 
  • Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members.
  • Supports a constructive team climate by doing any three of the following:
  • Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication. 
  • Conveys a positive attitude about the team and its work.
  • Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it.
  • Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members.

Evaluation of each criterion should be based on at least two of the following sources and various combinations may be employed:

  • Self-assessment of student’s work in the group
  • Peer assessment of student’s contributions to the group
  • Instructor observation of group process
  • Instructor assessment of group product with focus on coordination
  • “Fourth” party evaluation such as professional or audience feedback


The following checklist may be used when preparing a course for certification for General Education credit. The checklist includes a sample of what a General Education syllabus statement should look like.


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