General education at APSU is a diverse curriculum of related ideas and experiences to prepare students to live and work in a global society. The general education core aims to facilitate the development of foundational knowledge, skills and values that empower students to realize their full potential and inspire them to make positive contributions in a global society.
All undergraduate students complete the General Education Core, which includes required courses in communication, history, humanities and/or fine arts, mathematics, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. By taking courses in the General Education Core, students develop foundational knowledge in a variety of disciplines, as well as skills and awareness in communication, quantitative reasoning, inquiry and analysis, reflection and connection, critical reasoning, and global perspectives.
Read more about the specific knowledge and skills students gain in each required general eduation subject area here: Subject Area Knowledge and Skills
Assessment of General Education
Together, the General Education Core requirements help students develop the skills, abilities, and values articulated in the General Education Pillars. The skills, abilities and values described in the Pillars are not aligned with one particular course or set of requirements, but instead are developed throughout a variety of courses across the general education curriculum. Each Pillar is aligned with a rubric that is used to assess student learning across the curriculum.
Information on the general education assessment process for department chairs and faculty can be found here: General Education Assessment Process
General Education Pillars and Rubrics
Oral Communication is prepared, purposeful, presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners’ attitude.
Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing. Written communication involves learning to work in many genres and styles. It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images. Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum.
Quantitative Reasoning is a “habit of mind,” competency, and comfort in working with numerical data. Individuals with strong quantitative reasoning skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and in a variety of formats.
Connection and reflection is an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum. Connection and reflection can also be understood as integrative learning. This includes making simple connections among ideas and experiences and synthesizing and transferring learning to new complex situations within and beyond campus.
Through global learning, students should 1) become informed, open minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences, 2) seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities, and 3) address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably. Global learning is a critical analysis of and an engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as natural, physical, and social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.
Inquiry is a systematic process of exploring issues, objects, or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgements. Analysis is the process of breaking complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them. Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion of conclusion. Information Literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibility use and share that information. These concepts are inter-related.
Critical reasoning is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, and evaluating information gathered from observation, experience, or communication as a guide to drawing conclusions formulating beliefs and taking action.
General Education Assessment Cycle
General Education Assessment Plan
Each academic year, the General Education Committee and Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment will create an assessment plan for General Education. The General Education Assessment Plan will be available on the IEA website and disseminated to faculty, staff, and administrators.
General Education Standing Committee
Audrey Bullock, Mathematics, co-chair 2020-2021
Kristen Sienkiewicz, Music, co-chair 2020-2021
Amanda Wornhoff, Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, committee advisor