General Studies Learning Outcomes

For a full list of the learning outcomes see: GS section of Undergraduate Catalog

PROGRAM-LEVEL OUTCOMES

The UNK General Studies program helps students acquire knowledge and abilities; to understand the world; to make connections across disciplines; and to solve contemporary problems. The GS program is intentionally structured to allow students to build necessary skills in the Foundational Core classes while making the transition to college level coursework and forming critical thinking skills in the Portal class. Students then explore a broad cross-section of academic topics in the Distribution Area and finally finish their GS program in the Capstone course that is designed to help students synthesize, through interdisciplinary instruction, their knowledge, skills, and experiences across the curriculum.

Across the range of disciplines and courses offered, the General Studies Program is designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Evaluate information appropriate to the task.

  2. Apply principles of critical thinking to demonstrate integrative learning.

  3. Communicate effectively in spoken form.

  4. Communicate effectively in written form.

  5. Analyze cultural issues within a global context.

  6. Evaluate in context significant concepts relating to democracy.

I. Foundational Core

The purpose of the foundational core is to ensure students have a basic skill set in written and oral communication, mathematics, and democracy that build into the critical thinking techniques introduced in the portal courses. These skills are necessary both for continued success in the Distribution Area of the GS program as well as within each student’s major.

  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Discern a writer’s argument or purpose.
    2. Use appropriate sources responsibly.
    3. Use context-appropriate conventions of written English.
    4. Form and support a coherent position on an issue.
    5. Write in a manner appropriate to the audience and context.
  • MATH
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Apply mathematical logic to solve equations.
    2. Describe problems using mathematical language.
    3. Solve problems given in mathematical language using mathematical or statistical tools.
    4. Interpret numerical data or graphical information using mathematical concepts and methods.
    5. Construct logical arguments using mathematical language and concepts.
    6. Use mathematical software effectively.
  • ORAL COMMUNICATION
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Evaluate appropriate sources.
    2. Utilize effective verbal and non-verbal expressions.
    3. Deliver effective speeches appropriate to the context.
    4. Orally present a coherent position on an issue.
    5. Assess oral argumentation as a critical consumer.
  • DEMOCRACY IN PERSPECTIVE
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Explain the roles that democratic concepts, including individual rights, play in a just democracy.
    2. Analyze how citizens engage in democracy.
    3. Evaluate democratic practices across different contexts (such as settings, time, socioeconomic conditions, cultures, and political boundaries).

II. Portal Course

The primary purpose of the portal course in the GS program is to help students develop their critical thinking skills by engaging in a disciplinary themed course analyzing critical issues in that discipline as it affects both the individual and society with a unique global perspective. The portal course helps students to make the transition from high school to college level expectations in critical thinking and analysis of argumentation through written and/or oral discourse.

The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Analyze critical issues confronting the individual and society, including a global context.
  2. Interpret an argument through engaged discourse within the discipline.
  3. Construct a cogent argument pertaining to the course topic.

III. Distribution

Building on the fundamental skills developed in the Foundational Core and the critical thinking skills of the Portals, courses within the distribution area give students a broad exposure across a variety of disciplines in Aesthetics, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Analytical & Quantitative Thought, and Wellness. True intellectual development is a powerful combination of the general and the specific - students need to explore multiple perspectives across disciplines and build a strong general foundation.

  • AESTHETICS
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Aesthetics course to their general education.
    2. Explain the significance of a work of art within its context (i.e. cultural, historical).
    3. Identify the structure of a work of art by describing its elements.
    4. Interpret a work of art using concepts appropriate to its medium.
    5. Distinguish between works of art from various time periods and cultures.
  • HUMANITIES
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Humanities course to their general education.
    2. Analyze primary sources using methodologies appropriate to disciplines in the Humanities.
    3. Create coherent positions based on the interpretation of primary sources.
    4. Communicate effectively using the modes of discourse appropriate to the discipline.
    5. Evaluate primary sources in cultural, historical, literary, or philosophical contexts.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCES
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Social Science course to their general education.
    2. Describe basic concepts and methods used in a social science discipline.
    3. Demonstrate how basic concepts and methods from a social science discipline explain individual or group behavior.
    4. Evaluate the connection between social science research and social or political policy.
    5. Apply concepts and methods from a social science discipline to social science research.
  • NATURAL SCIENCES
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Natural Science course to their general education.
    2. Explain how knowledge of natural science is applicable to their lives.
    3. Apply appropriate scientific methodology within one of the natural sciences.
    4. Evaluate the validity and limitations of scientific theories and claims.
    5. (Required for lab courses only) Analyze scientific data acquired through laboratory experiences in one of the natural sciences.
  • ANALYTICAL & QUANTITATIVE THOUGHT
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Analytical & Quantitative Thought course to their general education.
    2. Express formal relationships using various forms of analytical reasoning.
    3. Define problems using techniques appropriate to the discipline.
    4. Solve problems using techniques appropriate to the discipline.
    5. Draw appropriate inferences from data in various forms.
    6. Evaluate analytical results for reasonableness.
  • WELLNESS
    The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
    1. Articulate the relevance of the Wellness course to their general education.
    2. Describe components of wellness.
    3. Recognize the potential consequences of personal choices.
    4. Analyze the roles of society in wellness promotion.
    5. Develop an action strategy for wellness.

IV. Capstone Course

The GS Capstone course serves as the culminating experience in the GS Program allowing students to participate in an interdisciplinary course requiring students to use their critical thinking skills developed from the beginning of the GS program in the Foundational Core, strengthened in the Portal course, and broadened in the Distribution Area.

The courses in this category are designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Evaluate information from more than one academic discipline.
  2. Formulate logical connections between disciplines as they relate to the topic.
  3. Employ the approach of more than one academic discipline in completing a Capstone project.
  4. Synthesize knowledge related to the topic in completing a Capstone project.
  5. Communication effectively in the medium chosen for the Capstone project.