STREAMLINING FOR SUCCESS: REVITALIZING GENERAL EDUCATION AT SIUE

Proposal Submitted to the BRIDGE Committee
Dr. Eric Ruckh, Chair

Design Team Members:
Dr. Marcus Agustin (Mathematics and Statistics)
Dr. Christienne Hinz (Historical Studies)
Dr. Michael Moore (Historical Studies)
Dr. Matthew Paris (Library Services)
Dr. Jennifer Rehg (Anthropology)
Dr. Cory Willmott (Anthropology)

Abstract

Our General Education curriculum design provides a framework for ensuring students are both educated in key fundamental skills and are exposed to a diversity of subject areas and ways of knowing. Our curriculum is structurally organized around a required set of Core Competency courses, and a streamlined selection of Distribution Requirements. The Core Competencies we have identified are Logic and Argumentation, Quantitative Literacy, Analytical Writing, and Analytical Reading. We have suggested administrative procedures for these courses along with a system for evaluating student performance that would promote consistency in expectations for student achievement in these fundamental skills. These include oversight committees for each of the core competencies to design criteria and guidelines for courses fulfilling these competencies. Procedures also include competency tests for students wishing to exempt themselves from these courses, whether these students are transfer students, incoming traditional freshman, or nontraditional students. Our Distribution Requirements include a course from each of four discipline areas: Natural Sciences and Math, Social Sciences, Fine Arts and Humanities, and Professional and Technical. The addition of the Professional and Technical area as a discipline is intended to integrate the professional schools into the General Education curriculum, as these schools are strengths of SIUE and can make an important contribution in producing well-educated students. Our guidelines for fulfilling these Distribution Requirements have been simplified to focus on the goal of exposing students to different subjects and ways of knowing, without unnecessary complexity. We have also incorporated requirements for Freshman Seminar, Inter-group Relations, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Senior Assignment into our proposal. Our curriculum model results in an overall reduced number of required courses, thus providing for a more flexible and efficient program that may be better directed toward individual student needs and goals. We have allowed more overlap between required courses and specific program curricula for majors and minors; in this way we encourage development in fundamental skills while directing student specialization in specific career fields. Our proposal addresses the needs of a diverse student community, and provides a framework for all types of students to develop needed basic skills and receive an education that will prepare them for their future careers. We have worked with existing SIUE structures and resources to build upon its strengths in order to meet the needs of a diverse student community in a premier metropolitan university.

I. Introduction

One of SIUE’s challenges as a premier metropolitan university is the need to serve diverse student populations, both in providing an education in fundamental analytical skills as well as in providing instruction and training towards specific career goals and professions. A general education curriculum cannot in and of itself produce well-educated graduates in these respects, but it can provide a framework that is conducive for quality learning to occur in individual courses that are integrated over a student’s degree program. Given these challenges, and concerns discussed in the 1994 report of the Review of the General Education Program at SIUE, we have identified four key elements that a revised general education curriculum should address. The general education curriculum should provide quality education in fundamental analytical abilities, which are important for individual success as well as contribution to a productive society. The curriculum should integrate with training toward future career goals and professions, and demonstrate the relevance of these fundamental analytical abilities to specific careers. The curriculum should expose students to varied subjects and ways of knowing outside students’ determined majors or intended professions. The curriculum must be efficient and flexible to apply to traditional four-year students, transfer students, and nontraditional students who vary in terms of educational background, experiences, and life responsibilities.

Our proposal addresses these challenges, and provides a framework for ensuring students are both educated in key fundamental skills and are exposed to a diversity of subject areas and ways of knowing. To do this, we build on existing SIUE resources and programs throughout the university. Our curriculum is structurally organized around a required set of Core Competency courses, and a streamlined selection of Distribution Requirements. The Core Competencies we have identified are Logic and Argumentation, Quantitative Literacy, Analytical Writing, and Analytical Reading. In this way, we address concerns in the 1994 report about student skill levels in writing, reading, thinking, and quantitative reasoning. We have suggested administrative procedures for these courses along with a system for evaluating student performance that would promote consistency in expectations for student achievement in these fundamental skills, addressing a need for “quality control” of such courses. These procedures include establishment of faculty committees for each of the Core Competencies to oversee criteria and guidelines for courses fulfilling these competencies. Procedures also include administration of competency tests for students wishing to exempt themselves from these courses, whether these students are transfer students, incoming traditional freshman, or nontraditional students. In this way we also demonstrate integrity in our commitment to educate all types of students. Our Distribution Requirements include a course from each of four discipline areas: Natural Sciences and Math, Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, and Professional and Technical. The addition of Professional and Technical as a discipline area is intended to integrate the professional schools (Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing) into the General Education curriculum, as these schools are strengths of SIUE and can make an important contribution in producing well-educated students. Our guidelines for fulfilling these Distribution Requirements have been simplified to focus on the goal of exposing students to different subjects and ways of knowing, without unnecessary complexity. We have also incorporated requirements for Freshman Seminar, Inter-group Relations, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Senior Assignment into our proposal. Critiques of existing Inter-group Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies requirements in the 1994 report were focused on “quality control” issues and problems with ensuring the courses functioned as intended, not the concept of the courses. Together, all these courses have great potential to further the goals of providing a diverse educational experience and in-depth training in particular skills or subjects.

Our curriculum model addresses the need for an efficient and simplified curriculum by reducing the overall number of required courses. In addition, we have allowed more overlap between required courses and specific program curricula for majors and minors; in this way we offer a more flexible curriculum and also encourage development in fundamental skills while directing student specialization in specific career fields. This framework allows students to design programs that may be better directed toward individual needs and goals. Our proposal provides a framework for all types of students, not just traditional four-year resident students, to develop needed basic skills and receive an education that will prepare them for their future careers.

II. Core Competency Requirement

There will be four proposed areas of Core Competency necessary for evaluating the critical thinking of an undergraduate SIUE student. The areas are Analytical Reading, Quantitative Literacy, Logic and Argumentation, and Analytical Writing. This is based on the argument that basic core and analytical competencies are necessary in order to produce educated and informed citizens (see Robert Newton, “Tensions and Models in General Education Planning,” The Journal of General Education, (Vol. 9, No. 3, 2000), pp.176). Moreover, the 1994 report of the Review of the General Education Program at SIUE suggests that the opinion among SIUE faculty and staff across disciplines has been that our students matriculate as poorly trained critical thinkers. Thus, we believe that every SIUE student, regardless of their discipline, will be required to successfully complete the core competency requirements. We will discuss how each area will be satisfied and present the proposed administrative implementation for each area. For a more detailed description on the specific structure and implementation of each of the Core Competencies, please see Appendix A.

For each area, there will be an academic department from which a faculty director will be responsible for coordination of the whole program, including the implementation of the competency exam and future improvements to the core. In addition, the faculty director should have taught one of the approved courses that will satisfy the core competency requirement in a period of four semesters. Due to the enormous responsibility associated with the position of the faculty director, there will be an accompanying one course release per academic year. At the same time, the faculty director should not have more than 50% administrative responsibility. The department from which the course(s) will be taught will have the primary responsibility of providing the course instruction but it may be possible for faculty from other disciplines to teach these courses.

There will be a competency committee that will oversee the implementation of the guidelines for each area. Courses meeting the competency requirement(s) may be proposed by different academic departments and approved by the competency committee. The members of the committee will come from the major areas of study/schools in the university. Each school, namely, Business, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, and Pharmacy; and the three main disciplines in the Arts and Sciences, namely, Arts and Humanities, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences; will have a representative to the committee, in addition to the faculty director responsible for coordination of the whole program. Membership in the competency committee will rotate from department to department to ensure that the needs of each discipline are taken into account. In addition, the term of each member is two years. To ensure continuity, membership appointments/elections during the even-numbered years will involve faculty from the following schools/disciplines: Business, Education, Pharmacy, and Natural Sciences and Math. Membership appointments/elections during the odd-numbered years will involve faculty from the following schools/disciplines: Dentistry, Engineering, Fine Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences.

In order to satisfy the 4 core areas, a student must take at least one of the listed courses and finish with a grade of ‘C’ or better. A student must complete all 100-level requirements before declaring a major. A student may request to take a competency exam prepared by the competency committee. The student must obtain at least 80% in the competency exam (equivalent to getting at least a grade of B in a course) in order to get the required credit. It is appropriate that students taking the competency exam are held at a higher standard compared to those who took the course at SIUE. This will include students transferring from another institution, including those with an Associate’s Degree from an accredited two-year college or a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution. This is not in disagreement with the Illinois Articulation Initiative. By making all students fulfill SIUE core requirements, we are making sure that all students are treated equally. Moreover, we are proposing that every SIUE graduate fulfill the basic core. This proposal would require an expanded role of the University Testing Services.

III. Distribution Requirements

This model of a General Education curriculum includes a Distribution Requirements component. Exposing students to diverse subjects and multiple approaches to acquiring knowledge and solving problems should be a feature of a university education. There are different methods of acquiring knowledge, and formulating and addressing problems that are inherent to different subjects and discipline areas. A well-developed and managed set of distribution requirements can achieve the goal of exposing students to subject diversity, while enhancing their abilities to learn in multiple ways.

We recommend that students fulfill Distribution Requirements in four discipline areas. These four proposed discipline areas are Fine Arts and Humanities (FAH), Natural Sciences and Math (NSM), Social Sciences (SS), and Professional & Technical (PT). We have retained discipline areas currently in use for Distribution Requirements of the General Education curriculum at SIUE, and added a new area, Professional and Technical. While the fields within each of these discipline areas are diverse, there are some unifying features of each area in methods for the acquisition and integration of knowledge, and problem-solving approaches. Additional requirements include an Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) course, an Inter-group Relations (IGR) course, and Freshman Seminar.

A novel feature of our Distribution Requirements component is the addition of the Professional and Technical (PT) area. Specific fields of study in this discipline area include Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing (perhaps Pharmacy as well). The reasoning behind inclusion of this discipline area as part of a Distribution Requirements component is two-fold. First, it includes these professional schools in the General Education curriculum, and allows them to contribute to the preparation of students as part of General Education, not just receive students after the completion of a General Education program of which the schools are observers. Secondly, these fields have much to offer students as part of General Education, regardless of whether students pursue a degree or career in these professions. The knowledge and skills that could be provided as part of General Education courses offered in Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing would be important contributions to any student’s general education. Existing courses, or courses that could be designed specifically for General Education by these schools, which relate to health, financial issues, and educational issues, would be very useful for students in their post-university lives.

We have streamlined the Distribution Requirements component of our General Education model relative to the existing structure at SIUE. Our Distribution Requirements component improves on the existing system for several reasons. The model we propose offers increased flexibility for students in terms of selecting courses to fulfill requirements. In addition, we have reduced the overall number of requirements for students and simplified the criteria for fulfillment.

Distribution Requirements – Discipline Areas:
Students will be required to take one course in each of the discipline areas, FAH, NSM, SS, and PT. Courses that may fulfill the General Education Distribution Requirements may be at any level (100, 200, 300, 400), as long as the department or school offering the course has designated it as fulfilling a General Education requirement. We think that most students will likely still opt to take 100 level courses to fulfill these requirements. In addition, in many cases prerequisites for upper-level courses will not allow students to select courses above the 100 level. However, by eliminating restrictions on the course level for fulfillment of the requirements, we allow students more choice in selecting courses that are of interest to them, and that may better fit their personal programs of study.

Furthermore, students would be allowed to apply courses taken for their Distribution Requirements to fulfillment of their major or minor requirements in cases for which these courses are designated by departments as courses that apply to the major or minor. For example, a student who took a course in History in order to fulfill the requirement for a Fine Arts and Humanities course, and later declared a History Major would not need to take another FAH course as a distribution requirement. The justification is that the student majoring in the Humanities is likely to get sufficient exposure to the knowledge acquisition methods and problem-solving approaches of this discipline area through the major, without requiring additional FAH courses. This allows for “double-dipping” to satisfy distribution and major/minor degree requirements. For a number of SIUE students, this may result in a reduction of the required course loads, and a more efficient degree program.

Distribution Requirements – Interdisciplinary Studies & Inter-group Relations:
Our model of a General Education curriculum retains the requirement for an Interdisciplinary Studies course. This course complements the Distribution Requirements in the four discipline areas described above, by potentially allowing students to experience an integration of the ways of acquiring knowledge and problem-solving approaches of different discipline areas. We have no specific recommendations regarding changes to the current IS course format; however, it might be useful to consider developing an administrative structure for oversight or a set of criteria to ensure the IS courses are serving their intended function.

As the Inter-group Relations course is an Illinois state-mandated requirement, we have retained this in our model. In addition to this IGR course, SIUE currently also requires an International Issues/International Culture (II/IC) course. As courses dealing with cultures and issues that extend beyond the USA are intrinsically linked to intergroup relations, broadening the IGR courses to include those currently serving the II/IC requirement would also increase flexibility for students in meeting this distribution requirement. We have no specific recommendations regarding changes to the current IGR course format. Again, development of an oversight structure or specific criteria for these courses may also help ensure they are successfully fulfilling their intended function.

Freshman Seminar:
Currently the criteria for the Freshman Seminar include small class sizes (20-25 students), faculty instruction, inclusion of activities outside the classroom, and inclusion of activities that educate students in the culture and services of the university.

According to the New Student Seminar Task Force Report and Recommendations, June, 2004:
     
     “Regardless of form, the new student seminar courses would share the following common goals: to assist new freshmen
            in making the transition from high school to college level work and expectations, to orient the students to the services 
            and culture of the University, and to engage students in an intellectual community of students and faculty. The intent of 
            the final goal includes involving students in activities that build a spirit of community and that enable them to become 
            well acquainted with each other as unique individuals. The intent also includes the opportunity for new freshmen to get
            to know at least one faculty member in their first term, a positive factor in student persistence.” 

To this end, we make no specific recommendations in terms of requiring a particular format for the Freshman Seminar, beyond the existing stated criteria. Options considered during the production of our proposal included the use of Core Competency courses to fulfill Freshman Seminar, and the development of a standard course along the lines of University 112 to serve as Freshman Seminar for all freshman students. Courses that would fulfill the Core Competency requirements in our model for the General Education curriculum would be ideal courses to offer as Freshman Seminars. A requirement of the Core Competency component of our model is that students complete the 100 level core courses before declaring a major. Thus, allowing students to fulfill a Core Competency requirement and the Freshman Seminar with a single course during the first semester at SIUE also promotes flexibility and efficiency in the curriculum. Alternately, a standardized course, like University 112 in which all incoming students would have a similar, shared experience, would help develop a more integrated cohort. In addition, such a course—offered for perhaps only one or two credits—that focused on the transition to university life and the world beyond the university, including ethics, study techniques, information resources, time management, financial responsibility, etc. rather than academic material would provide the student with important skills; ensuring the consistency in student education on these topics across academic courses of many disciplines would be much more difficult.

Senior Assignment:
We propose no changes to the current format for Senior Assignment. In its present form, the Senior Assignment represents the culmination of an undergraduate experience at SIUE. Individual departments should continue to maintain ownership of Senior Assignment for their majors, and be able to determine the guidelines and structure for Senior Assignment that best meet departmental goals and prepare students for careers in their disciplines.

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences Degrees:
In addition to the Distribution Requirements detailed previously, students would be required to complete two courses in a foreign language in order to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. In place of the foreign language courses, departments or schools that offer a Bachelor of Science degree would be allowed to determine two courses required for students to earn a Bachelor of Science in the discipline(s) offered by that department or school. Those courses could be in foreign languages, as students with a science-based degree still benefit from the ability to communicate in a non-English language. However, this option allows departments offering a Bachelor of Science degree to select courses that will best benefit students in their program working toward that degree.

A summary of the proposed General Education requirements is presented in Appendix B. In addition, Appendix C contains a summary of the proposed General Education requirements for students transferring with an Associate’s degree.

IV. Proposal Justification: Links to SIUE Objectives

Our proposed curriculum seeks to work with existing SIUE resources, build on its strengths, and serve its diverse student population more effectively and more efficiently. More specifically, while new courses may be developed to satisfy required components of our curriculum (in particular, the Core Competencies), our proposal would also allow the integration of existing courses into the required components, in many cases perhaps with little modification. The professional schools of Business, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Pharmacy are strengths of SIUE and we have provided a framework that would better integrate the professional schools into the General Education curriculum. We have streamlined the General Education requirements in terms of overall number, as well as in allowing for courses to simultaneously apply to the General Education as well as departmental curricula for majors and minors. We have incorporated transfer students into our curriculum model, by providing a framework to restrict the likelihood that these students may graduate from SIUE with abilities and a learning experience less than that of traditional four-year students. Given SIUE’s student population—diverse in educational background, including traditional and nontraditional students, transfer and full-term students—a program that is flexible and efficient is critical.

At this stage of development, our proposed General Education curriculum is structured to enhance the ability of faculty and staff to meet SIUE’s Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree in the following ways:

Analytic, Problem-solving, and Decision-making Skills
Our proposed curriculum addresses this objective with the Core Competencies of Logic and Argumentation, Analytical Writing, and Analytical Reading. In particular, our model requires that all students attending SIUE successfully complete a course (grade of ‘C’ or better) that satisfies goals and guidelines determined for the Logic and Argumentation competency. This objective is also extended into our competencies in Analytical Writing and Analytical Reading—competencies so titled to demonstrate that there should be a continued emphasis on analysis in conjunction with reading and writing skills development. It is not possible to solve problems or make decisions without the ability to evaluate information (Analytical Reading), or communicate to others (Analytical Writing).

Oral and Written Communication Skills
Our proposed curriculum emphasizes the importance of communication skills, in particular written communication skills, with the Core Competencies of Analytical Writing and Analytical Reading. Due to the importance of reading and writing across disciplines, we have included a requirement for an entry-level course (100-level) in each of these competencies, as well as an advanced course (200 level or higher) in each of these competencies as part of a system that encourages students’ to continue to develop these skills beyond basic levels. We have maintained a foreign language as a requirement for a Bachelor of Arts degree because we recognize the importance of oral and written communication in non-English languages. The ability to communicate in a non-English language is useful in terms of the professional development of students, as foreign language skills are desired in many career areas, and also in terms of exposing students to cultural diversity.

Foundation in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Our proposed curriculum addresses this objective by maintaining distribution requirements in different traditional discipline areas (Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts and Humanities), and better integrating the professional programs into the General Education curriculum. In this way, students will continue to be exposed to types of knowledge and ways of knowing that go beyond the scope of their major or professional areas of study.

Appreciation of Cultures & A Sense of Ethics
Of SIUE’s Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree, these may be the most difficult to evaluate or be affected through curriculum reorganization because they represent the internalization of values from processes that extend beyond simply the structure and content of a set of coursework. As a whole, our curriculum provides a supportive framework for the internalization of these values to occur, including our emphasis on requirements that students take courses outside their discipline areas and the inclusion of the Inter-group Relations course requirement (as mandated). At the heart of satisfying these objectives, however, is a good learning environment for students, good instruction by responsible and caring instructors, and an attempt to integrate these objectives in various ways in individual courses offered by individual instructors.

Scientific Literacy
The framework of our proposed curriculum supports this objective in two ways. First, we require that students successfully complete the Core Competency in Quantitative Literacy. Quantitative skills are central to natural and social sciences, in connection with the development of theoretical models, data collection, statistical analysis, and evaluation of others’ work in these regards. Requirement of basic competency in quantitative literacy is a component of scientific literacy. In addition, our Distribution Requirement framework necessitates that students complete at least one course in a Social Sciences discipline, and one course in a Natural Sciences discipline, to ensure that students are exposed to the sciences.

Preparation in an Academic or Professional Discipline
Our proposed curriculum addresses this objective in part by returning some control of students’ programs of study to their major departments. For example, our second-level requirement in the Core Competencies of Analytical Reading and Analytical Writing are designed to be in the student’s major discipline (or perhaps a related discipline). For example, while basic writing skills are necessary for any profession, specific techniques for writing business reports, scientific research papers, short stories, and news articles may be very different. We want to emphasize the importance of writing, and at the same time encourage development of the specific writing skills appropriate to students’ future professional directions. In addition, by streamlining the General Education requirements overall, we also give students more options in designing individual programs that may best serve their future career goals.

V. Anticipated Challenges

Our proposal for a revised General Education curriculum works with the existing structure and resources of SIUE. As a result, the challenges we anticipate in implementing this proposed model are primarily related to temporary adjustments to allocating resources, especially faculty and staff, in order to effectively administer the curriculum at multiple levels.

We predict the following specific issues would be concerns or challenges in transitioning from the current curriculum to our proposed model:

1) Determining desired criteria, such as specific goals, instructional techniques, and learning outcomes (“benchmarks”) in the Core Competencies, and maintenance of these criteria in courses that satisfy these competency requirements.
It is necessary to determine what specific skills must be evaluated in each of the Core Competencies, how students will be instructed in these skills, and how student acquisition of these skills will be evaluated. In order to ensure that the four Core Competencies are actually facilitating student acquisition of the skills each is intended to support, it is necessary that some basic guidelines for the courses in terms of content and structure be developed. For example, courses satisfying the “Analytical Writing” component may have in common a certain number of writing assignments, a certain portion of evaluation based on writing assignments, or some similarity in terms of writing assignment structure (these are offered only as suggestions of possible criteria). The challenge of establishing effective and measurable guidelines for our proposed Core Competencies is not substantively different than this same challenge for required courses in the existing curriculum, such as ENG 101 and 102. Moreover, it is also similar to the challenge of ensuring 111 courses in the existing system serve as “writing intensive” courses. However, perceived shortcomings of the current General Education curriculum are related to the challenge of setting and administering such guidelines. In order to address this problem in part, we propose the establishment of oversight committees for each Core Competency and more extensive use of testing (see below).

2) Administrative oversight of the structure and content of the Core Competencies.
In order to help set the desired criteria for Core Competencies and ensure some consistency in structure and content among courses that are used to satisfy each of the four competencies, we propose the establishment of a faculty director and “Competency Committees” for each of these areas (as described in section II). We further propose assignments to these committees that would rotate among departments, to ensure mid to long term input and participation by all departments in all schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. The faculty director position and membership on these committees are administrative service obligations that would be placed on departments in addition to existing service obligations, and as such represent an obvious challenge.

3) Increased utilization of testing services.
As described in section II, we propose that evaluation of student abilities in the four Core Competencies be evaluated via some form of standardized tests, as are currently used to evaluate students for placement in Academic Development courses. This necessitates increased use of Instructional Services, and may require expansion of existing capabilities of that office. It may also be necessary to develop new techniques and tests to evaluate student capabilities in the four competencies we have proposed.

4) Meeting capacity requirements for Core Competencies courses.
As part of our model we propose that students must complete the 100-level courses in each of the four Core Competencies before declaring a major (as described in section II). For most traditional students matriculating as freshman, this means that courses would be completed in their first two years at SIUE. Currently there are no university-level restrictions on when distribution requirements must be satisfied. Thus, from the current system, students may take ENG 101 and 102 during their senior year. As a result of our suggested restriction, we anticipate there will be a period of perhaps several years during which students who matriculated in the current system and students who are matriculating under our proposed curriculum might need to enroll in some of the same courses. For example, this might be the case if a version of ENG 101 or 102 (currently required for all students to satisfy General Education requirements) was used to satisfy the Core Competency of Analytical Writing under our proposed curriculum. Moreover, by requiring transfer students to demonstrate satisfactory skills in the four competencies, and not automatically allowing students to transfer credit from other institutions to satisfy these requirements, it is also possible that more students may need to enroll in certain required courses. This could result in problems in sufficiently accommodating student enrollment. It may be necessary to reallocate instructional responsibilities of existing faculty, or employ additional non-tenure track faculty temporarily or long-term to help satisfy course demand.

5) Unexpected changes in course demand and enrollment.
It is not possible to anticipate how changes from current requirements to new requirements will affect demand for existing courses. It is very likely, however, that the current patterns of student demand and enrollment will change, resulting in decreased demand for some courses and increased demand for others. This is likely to cause logistical problems in the short to mid-term in terms of scheduling, use of space, and allocation of instructional responsibilities of faculty. In the long-term, this may also impact financial contributions of departments to SIUE via student enrollment.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

APPENDIX A
Logic and Argumentation (3 Credit Hours)

1. Implementation of the core requirement
      a. The Department of Philosophy will have oversight of the Logic and Argumentation requirement. 
      b. In order to satisfy the logic and argumentation core requirement, a student must get a ‘C’ or better in one of the 
          following courses. 
             i. Philosophy 106 – Critical Thinking
            ii. Philosophy 213 – Deductive Logic
           iii. Mathematics 106 - Deductive Reasoning and Problem Solving
           iv. Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering 106 – Engineering Problem Solving
      c. Students can test out of this requirement. The test will be administered at the University Testing Services. The test will 
          be formulated by a team headed by the faculty coordinator/director. 
2. Objectives
      a. Students should exhibit competence in using logical arguments.
      b. A student should be well equipped to make an effective critical argument of others and themselves.
Quantitative Literacy (3 Credit Hours)
1. Implementation of the core requirement
     a. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics will have oversight of the Quantitative Literacy requirement. 
     b. In order to satisfy the quantitative literacy core requirement, a student must get a ‘C’ or better in one of the following 
         courses.
            i. Mathematics 120 – College Algebra
           ii. Mathematics 125 – Pre-Calculus Mathematics with Trigonometry
          iii. New math course on Quantitative Literacy (Currently under development)
          iv. Statistics 107 – Concepts of Statistics
     c. Students can test out of this requirement. The test will be administered at the University Testing Services. The test will be
         formulated by a team headed by the faculty coordinator/director. 
2. Objectives
     a. Students must achieve functional quantitative literacy required by various professional and academic programs at the
         university.
     b. Students should be able to exhibit basic mathematical computational skills that will be necessary in pursuing any career
          interest. 
Analytical Writing (6 Credit Hours)
1. Implementation of the core requirement
     a. The Department of English Language and Literature will have oversight of the Analytical Writing requirement. 
     b. In order to satisfy the analytical writing component, a student must get a ‘C” or better in a redesigned English 101 that
         is a combination of the present English 101 and English 102 and a ‘C’ or better in a 200 level or higher writing-intensive
        class that is geared towards an intended area of specialization. Some of the courses currently listed in the catalog 
        that are writing-intensive are as follows. 
            i. English 491 – Technical and Business Writing (Note: This is geared towards the science, engineering, or 
               business majors.)
           ii. English 201 – Intermediate Composition (Note: This is presently in the course catalog. This is geared towards the 
               non-science, engineering, or business majors.) 
     c. Students can only test out of the English 101 requirement. The test will be administered at the University Testing Services. 
         The test will be formulated by a team headed by the faculty coordinator/director. 
2. Objectives
     a. Students should exhibit the basic writing competency expected for a college-educated individual.
     b. Writing competency for individuals going to different disciplines should be addressed. 
Analytical Reading (6 Credit Hours)
1. Implementation of the core requirement
     a. The Department of Historical Studies will have oversight of the Analytical Reading requirement. 
     b. The requirements will be met by getting a `C’ or better in one course at the 100-level, which is proposed by a department
       as a reading-intensive course; and by getting a `C’ or better in a reading-intensive course at the 200-300 level that is 
       geared towards an intended area of specialization (two courses total). 
     c. Students can only test out of the 100-level requirements. The test will be administered at the University Testing Services. 
         The test will be formulated by a team headed by the faculty coordinator/director.
2. Objectives 
     a. Students should exhibit the basic reading competency and understanding expected for a college-educated individual.
     b. Reading competency for individuals going to different disciplines should be addressed. 


_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix B
Proposed General Education Requirements (15 courses- equivalent to 45 credit hours)

I. Core Competency (6 courses- equivalent to 18 credit hours)


Logic and Argumentation (3 credit hours)
        Choose 1 from the following: PHIL 106
                                                    PHIL 213
                                                    MATH 106
                                                    IME 106
Quantitative Literacy (3 credit hours)
         Choose 1 from the following: MATH 120
                                                      MATH 125
                                                      New math course on quantitative literacy
                                                      STAT 107
Analytical Writing (6 credit hours)
         English 101 (redesigned as a combination of current ENG 101 and 102)
         Choose 1 from a 200 level or higher course designated as writing-intensive 
Analytical Reading (6 credit hours)
         Choose 1 100-level course designated as reading-intensive 
         Choose 1 from a 200-300 level course designated as reading-intensive 
II. Distribution Requirements (7 courses- equivalent to 21 credit hours)
Discipline Areas (12 credit hours)
         Choose 1 course from each group
                 FAH                                          NSM                                         SS                                          PT
   (Fine Arts & Humanities)           (Natural Science & Math)              (Social Sciences)                (Professional & Technical)
 
IS (Interdisciplinary Studies)
 
IGR (Inter-group Relations)
 
Freshman Seminar
III. Additional Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree (2 courses- equivalent to 6 
      credit hours)
Bachelor of Arts                                                                                 Bachelor of Sciences
Option A (6 credit hours)                                                                   Option B (6 credit hours)
Choose 2 courses in a foreign language                                                  Choose 2 courses in consultation with department 
                                                                                                             or school


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Appendix C
Proposed General Education Requirements for a Student with an Associate’s Degree
I. Core Competency (may take up to 6 courses- equivalent to 0-18 credit hours)
Logic and Argumentation (0 or 3 credit hours) - Needs to take competency exam


Quantitative Literacy (0 or 3 credit hours) - Needs to take competency exam
 
Analytical Writing (0-6 credit hours)
        English 101 - Needs to take competency exam
        Choose 1 from a 200 level or higher course designated as writing-intensive
                 (may be replaced by an approved transfer course)
 
Analytical Reading (0-6 credit hours)
        Choose 1 100-level course designated as reading-intensive - Needs to take competency exam
        Choose 1 from a 200-300 level course designated as reading intensive
                 (may be replaced by an approved transfer course)
 
II. Distribution Requirements (1 or 2 courses- equivalent to 3-6 credit hours)
IS (Interdisciplinary Studies)
 
IGR (Inter-group Relations) (may be replaced by an approved transfer course)
 
Note: Students who are seeking to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree must show evidence of having taken 2 courses in a 
foreign language. Moreover, for those seeking a Bachelor of Science degree, the two courses that may be transferred courses
must satisfy requirements provided by the appropriate school or department. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proposal Overview: Self-Assessment

1. How does your proposal support the values of SIUE (citizenship, excellence, integrity, openness and wisdom)?
Our proposal supports SIUE values with its framework of required skills courses (Core Competencies) and discipline area Distribution Requirements. Our proposal provides a structure which encourages these values; although, we note that key to the fulfillment of these values is instruction within individual courses. Excellence and wisdom are supported via Core Competencies, which are designed to promote high quality student learning and focus on fundamental approaches to acquiring knowledge. Our enhanced use of testing promotes excellence and integrity, by ensuring that students possess a minimum level of skills, and SIUE is accountable by setting consistent, objectively measurable standards across diverse student populations. Openness and citizenship are supported with Intergroup Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies course requirements, as well as distribution requirements intended to expose students to different subjects and diverse ways of knowing.
2. How does your proposal support the stated objectives of the baccalaureate degree (oral/written communication 
skills, analytic/problem-solving skills, value of diversity, scientific literacy, ethics, foundation in the liberal arts 
and sciences, preparation in/for a discipline)?
Our proposal addresses SIUE objectives in part by requiring students to successfully complete a set of courses in four Core
Competencies that relate to communication skills, analytic skills, and scientific literacy (Logic and Argumentation, Quantitative 
Literacy, Analytical Writing, and Analytical Reading). Our proposal provides a liberal arts and sciences foundation and 
promotes valuing of diversity by maintaining Distribution Requirements in different discipline areas (Natural Sciences, Social 
Sciences, Fine Arts and Humanities, and Professional). Our proposal provides for preparation in a discipline by better 
integrating the professional programs into general education, and by returning more control of students’ programs of study to 
their major departments, through the incorporation of required skills courses into individual program (department) curricula.
3. Does the proposal support the diverse range of needs of SIUE’s student body and the special needs of the 
various professional and academic programs at SIUE?
Our proposed curriculum would serve traditional four-year students, nontraditional students, and transfer students, effectively 
and efficiently. We have streamlined the requirements in terms of overall number of courses, and in allowing courses to 
simultaneously apply to the General Education as well as departmental curricula for majors. Our proposal supports more 
widespread testing to ensure proper student placement in courses and evaluate skills of all types of students. Our proposal 
builds on current SIUE resources and would also allow the integration of existing courses into the required components. We 
have also provided a framework that would better integrate the professional schools into the general education curriculum, for 
example, by including them on committees that would be responsible for the management of Core Competencies.
4. Does the proposal respond to and address the ‘emerging concerns’ of the faculty for general education to be 
relevant it must address (integration, information, communication, application)?
Our proposal is a design for general education that would make it relevant to students’ lives and career goals in part through 
increased integration of professional schools, such that students can experience the ways of acquiring knowledge from specific 
professional disciplines as a part of general education experience. Our required Core Competencies focus on skills that are 
fundamental to life generally, and any career; however, our design for these requirements still allows students opportunities to 
select courses that best fit their individual career goals and academic programs. For our diverse SIUE student community,
relevance is related to flexibility—our proposal provides a framework to promote acquisition of key skills, while ensuring 
students choices to design individual programs that best suit individual needs.
 
RETURN TO FINAL PROPOSAL INDEX PAGE