Enhancing Core Competencies in an Integrated General Education Curriculum:

It Takes a Seed Producing Fruit to Plant an Orchard

 

By

Emmanuel Eneyo

Marjorie Baier

Elaine Abusharbain

Gertrude Pannirselvam

Preston Williams

Michael Afolayan

Therese Poirier

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

During the review of the newly established Statement of Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree at SIUE in 2003, the university community raised some concerns and questions about the general theme of what it means to be an educated person in the 21 st century. One such concern is the fact that the current distribution model for SIUE general education curriculum was last revised in 1994 with a vast provision for a breadth of knowledge that served the needs of the Industrial Age. Given that the 21 st century student lives in an Information Age, the current SIUE model thus exhibits some shortcomings such as (i) lack of consistency on achieving the desired baccalaureate objectives, (ii) lack of accountability for the outcomes, and (iii) minimal integration resulting in inefficiencies. Prominent among the questions asked were (1) how best can institutions of higher learning prepare students for the 21 st century careers?, (2) how can SIUE blend its aim for knowledge, self-reflection and global awareness with the students' aims to be gainfully employed?

 

In response to these questions, the BRIDGE (Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education) committee was formed in 2005 to undertake a comprehensive supervision of the university-wide discourse on the renewal of the current general education curriculum at SIUE. This renewal process was triggered with a call for design proposals by the BRIDGE committee.

 

This design proposal, therefore, presents a high level competency-based integrative model with inner core and flexible outer core competencies as a solution to the current distribution model. The development of the proposed model centered around four key defining focuses: (i) identifying the core competencies for the general education, (ii) identifying the customers of the general education curriculum, (iii) achieving integration of competencies at various levels between the general education curriculum and the majors, and (iv) making assessment an integral part of the general education curriculum.

 

The resulting proposed curricular model comprises both an inner core component requiring a total of 23 credit hours and an outer core component requiring a total of 12 credit hours. The core competencies are addressed through inner core courses that all students would take as part of their general education requirement. Various outer core courses would allow students the flexibility to gain some breadth and depth into other areas beyond their majors. While the proposed model focuses on meeting the needs of citizen in the information age, its primary focus is on the development of a set of skills and values that prepare students to meet the requirements of the major area of study as well as helping them to develop into well-rounded citizens.

 

The proposed general education model is a definite paradigm shift for SIUE and presents numerous challenges. A shift to an integrated competency model will require diversity of pedagogical approaches including active and experiential learning. The emphasis of the general education courses is competency development and a transition from a focus on specific content. This approach also requires enhanced motivation for both students and faculty.

 

1.   INTRODUCTION

 

There is a growing consensus among leaders in higher education for the need to change the general education curriculum to meet the changes in society and technology (Rhodes 2001). For instance, recent reports by the National Academy of Engineering (2004, 2005) have made the compelling case that engineering education is at a crossroads: that our graduates will be called on to bear bold new technologies to address issues ranging from economic development to poverty, the environment, healthcare, and energy. This means that we must construct educational experiences that will prepare them for this pivotal role. As the demands on engineering education continue to grow, we find ourselves asking fundamental questions about how we will teach and how students will learn all that is needed for the twenty-first century careers. Today, new technology is affecting how professors teach and how students interact with them, and one another, both inside and outside the classroom. Industry, facing intense pressure from competitors around the world, is demanding engineers who have traditional technical expertise but who also have design experience and can work in teams, communicate ideas effectively, and perform in cultures other than their own and with colleagues different from themselves. This compelling case for engineering education is in many respects true for all other academic and professional programs in institutions of higher learning.

 

The current distribution model for SIUE general education curriculum shown in Table l provides a breadth of knowledge that served the needs during the Industrial Age. We now live in an environment that reflects the Information Age. The Information Age calls for an integrative curriculum that develops competencies that one can adapt for use in the rapidly changing business and societal needs. There is a consensus on key learning outcomes for a general education (Humphreys 2002).

 

General education at SIUE was last revised in l994. There are issues identified with the current distribution model for general education. These include a lack of consistency on achieving the desired baccalaureate objectives; lack of accountability for the outcomes; and minimal integration resulting in inefficiencies.

 

Table 1: Current SIUE General Education Curriculum

 

Skills:

 

15 – 17 credits including

 

 

•  6 hours written expression

•  Option A – 9 credits or Option B – 11 credits

 

Distribution:

 

24 credits including

 

 

•  Introductory – 15 credits

•  Advanced – 9 credits

 

Interdisciplinary Studies:

 

3 credits

 

Must also complete a course designated for Inter-group Relations and International Issues or Culture (could also satisfy skills or distribution credits)

 

The proposed model is a competency-based integrative model with core and non-prescribed flexible courses and thus could be referred to as a hybrid model. The model focuses on integrating core competencies across core courses. The resulting integrative core courses would retain the interdisciplinary studies concept of the present general education curriculum. It also allows for flexibility as it considers needs of the various academic and professional programs. The model retains commitment to the new freshman seminar, inter-group relations, and the senior assignment; it enhances the focus on assessment beyond the senior assignment; and also requires a component of service learning as it emphasizes citizenship. Thus, what we propose here is a paradigm shift in SIUE education which, rather than discards the old order, attempts to reform it.

 

 

2.   PROPOSED MODEL

 

The proposed model was inspired by competency-based programs ( Alverno College 1973), and outcomes-based integrative model (Bell and Lefoe 1998) with highly flexible delivery strategies for core programs and goals across the curriculum models. The high level model shown in Appendix A is competency-based integrative model with integration as a key attribute of the design where the pedagogical methods, course content, resources and assessment are a relational model. Each component influences the other rather than being developed in isolation from each other or in any particular order. The resulting curricular model shown in Table 2 comprises both an inner core component requiring a total of 23 credit hours and an outer core component requiring a total of 12 credit hours. The core competencies are addressed through inner core courses that all students would take as part of their general education requirement. Various outer core courses would allow students the flexibility to gain some breadth and depth into other areas beyond their majors. These courses are not necessarily prescribed and are very flexible. We hereby describe the philosophical underpinnings of the proposed models in terms of the inner and outer core competencies:

 

2.1   Focus of the Model

 

While the proposed model focuses on meeting the needs of citizen in the information age, its primary focus is on the development of a set of skills and values that prepare students to meet the requirements of the major area of study as well as helping them to develop into well-rounded citizens. The underlying philosophies of the proposed model are:

  1. Focus on competencies.
  2. Focus on customers of the general education program.
  3. Focus on integration.
  4. Focus on assessment and continuous quality improvement.

 

Focus on Competencies:

The first step in developing the model was to identify the competencies that should be developed throughout the general education curriculum. We identified these competencies by carefully studying three issues:

         a. Competencies that the students should possess to be successful in their major.

         b. SIUE's set of values that reflect the university's focus on excellence.

         c. The objectives of the baccalaureate education.

Table 3 outlines how the core competencies are addressed by courses. While Appendix B provides detail descriptions of the identified competencies, Appendix C provides the details on the suggested inner core courses.

 

Table 2: Proposed General Education Curricular Model for SIUE

 

CORE COMPETENCIES SUGGESTED COURSES INNER CORE OUTER CORE*
Option A

Option B

Communication (Written and Oral)

English I
3
.
.
English II
3
.
.
Speech Communication
3
.
.
Information Literacy  
v
v
v
Critical Thinking  
v
v
v
Quantitative Literacy Mathematics for Life
3
.
.
Scientific Literacy Integrated Sciences
3
.
.
Cultural Competency (inner-group relations) Integrated Liberal Studies
3
v
.
Ethics and Citizenship Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship (including service learning)
3
.
.
Lifelong Learning Freshman Seminar
2
.
.
Excellence (breadth and depth) Liberal Arts Foundations
.
12
.
Science & Technology Foundations
.
.
12
Teamwork
.
.
v
v
Global Perspective
.
.
v
v
TOTAL CREDIT HOURS = 35
23
12

                                                 * See Figure 2 for further details as pertaining to the academic and professional programs.

                                      v -> indicates integration of these competencies in both the inner core and flexible outer core courses.

 

 

 

Focus on Customers:

The model identifies two customers for the general education curriculum – the major and the larger society. This customer focus, we believe, helped us identify the competencies that will clearly lead to the success of our students as they progress to the major as well as in society. A lack of this focus might lead one to identify competencies that are either “pet projects” of a constituency or ones that are easy to achieve and assess, rather than ones that are important to student's transitioning into productive citizens.

 

Focus on Integration:

Integration of competency development through the various courses in the general education curriculum is essential to the model. The proposed model addresses integration at various levels.

           a. Within each course, multiple competencies will be integrated with the course content.

           b. Competencies and their development will be integrated through all the inner core and outer core courses.

           c. Competencies development will be integrated between the general education curriculum and the majors. The model

               accomplishes this integration by clearly identifying the majors as customers for the general education curriculum.

           d. SIUE values are integrated with the competencies that are developed in the general education program. Our

               attempt to achieve this integration is reflected in our use of SIUE values as one element in identifying the core

               competencies.

           e. The strong SIUE initiatives are integrated in this model for general education. We identified the Freshman Seminar

               and Interdisciplinary Studies as two initiatives that should be retained to enhance the value of the program. The

               model also supports the service learning initiative and deploys it more broadly to enhance the value of citizenship

              and community for all students.

 

Focus on Assessment and Continuous Quality Improvement:

No program design is complete without an assessment plan that measures the achievement of the objectives. The proposed model reflects this philosophy by making assessment an integral part of the general education curriculum. While SIUE has made a name for itself in assessment, most of the assessment of student learning focuses on the graduating or close to graduating student. The proposed model extends this assessment philosophy to the general education curriculum. Assessment of student skills will be performed at the end of the general education curriculum. This assessment will have two objectives: a. as a checklist to ensure that the curriculum meets the competency needs of the major programs and b. continuous monitoring and improvement of the general education curriculum through the analysis of student assessment results. Such a drive for continuous improvement also requires assessment at various course levels that can be related to the final assessment.

 

2.2   Flexibility Through Outer Core Courses

 

The outer core courses would allow great flexibility as students prepare for an academic or professional discipline. These courses would also develop the core competencies but would build on the levels of Blooms Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. The idea of Bloom's Taxonomy is a systematic 6-tier cognitive process developed by Benjamin Bloom where knowledge of the learner could be measured at the ascending levels of magnitude, ranging from memory, and all the way to comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Bloom 1956). For instance, some programs may require students to demonstrate beyond knowledge, comprehension and application even at an early stage. For example, Phil 106 – Critical Thinking - will most likely require students to utilize all of Blooms' 6 stages of cognition in order to pass. In introductory courses, knowledge, comprehension and application constitute the objectives. As students progress and further develop in the liberal arts or sciences foundations, analysis, synthesis and evaluation become the objectives.

 

Along with some discipline-specific competencies, the outer core highlights the importance and appreciation of liberal arts education and science education as the two flexible options designed to meet the needs of the various academic and professional programs. The competency requirement of the outer core as either the liberal arts education (Option A) or science education (Option B) for the respective non-affiliated academic and professional programs is an intentional premise of the model as illustrated in Figure 1 below. For example, of the 12 required credit hours for the outer core – while a student in Engineering, or Sciences, or Nursing, or Pre-Health is restricted to option A only; a student in Fine Arts, or Humanities, or Social Sciences is restricted to option B only; whereas a student in Business or Education will be expected to evenly split the requirements between the two options (such as 6 credit hours from each options A and B). Some specific examples of program-focused requirements are provided in Appendix D.

 

 

The model will allow for transfer students but requires a change in the Illinois articulation process. Whether a SIUE student or a transfer student, all would need to be able to demonstrate similar outcomes before they can move into a major. A committee analogous to Credit Articulation and Degree Audit (CADA) will need to be set up to assess outcomes for all students. The responsibility for ensuring that potential transfer students meet SIUE outcomes will lie with the feeder schools.

 

 

3.   ASSESSMENT

 

Assessment is a key component of the proposed general education model. Currently assessment at SIUE uses the senior assignment as the capstone assessment tool. The proposed general education model depends on enhanced formative and summative assessment measures for the core competencies. Understanding that the general education curriculum provides the input to curriculum in the majors, an assessment of achievement of these competencies will be performed as the students complete the general education requirements. In addition, course embedded assessment measures must be created to assess achievement of the primary objectives of each course. Relating these course embedded measures to the general education assessment and assessment at the graduation level, will help identify improvements that need to be made in the curriculum and the different courses. Such an assessment plan will foster continuous improvement of the curriculum. It is recommended that students maintain a reflective learning portfolio that not only serves for reflective integration but can be used to document achievement of core competencies. The portfolio should be maintained in an electronic format. The rubrics for the various core competencies would be developed using Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Faculty advisors and mentors should be responsible for evaluating the learning portfolios.

 

Table 3: Core Competencies and How Addressed by Courses

 

Competency
Inner Core
Outer Core
Communication
(Written and Oral) 
English I
English II
Speech Communication
Integrated Sciences
Integrated Liberal Studies
Information Literacy
English I
English II
Mathematics for Life
Freshman Seminar
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship
Liberal Arts Foundations
Science/Technology Foundations 
Critical Thinking
English II
Mathematics for Life
Integrated Sciences
Integrated Liberal Studies
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship
Freshman Seminar  
Quantitative Literacy
Mathematics for Life
Integrated Sciences
Ethics and Citizenship
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship
Freshman Seminar  
Cultural Competency (inter-group relations)
Integrated Liberal Studies
Freshman Seminar 
IGR course
Scientific Literacy
Integrated Sciences
Life long Learning
Freshman Seminar
Excellence (breadth and depth)
Liberal Arts Foundations or Science/Technology Foundations
Teamwork
Global Perspective

 

4.   CHALLENGES

The proposed general education model is a definite paradigm shift for SIUE and presents numerous challenges. A shift to an integrated competency model will require diversity of pedagogical approaches including active and experiential learning. The emphasis of the general education courses is competency development and a transition from a focus on specific content. This approach also requires enhanced motivation for both students and faculty. Students will need to be able to appreciate learning in the context of real life applications. Integration of competencies within courses will require enhanced collaboration among faculty. The model requires enhanced use of both formative and summative assessment techniques. This means increased documentation and accountability for outcomes. Here are some specific issues that need to be considered in implementing the proposed model:

 

 

The above challenges also demand additional or a redeployment of resources for implementation of the new general education curriculum especially in the area of faculty development. Even though SIUE already is an environment that supports faculty development, increased efforts would need to address the pedagogical culture shift. Faculty development efforts would need to provide insights into student learning styles and appropriate teaching approaches; identification of pedagogy that would foster achievement of competencies; and assessment techniques that would provide information on achievement of competencies and needed pedagogical changes. An environment that supports and rewards enhanced interdisciplinary collaboration would need to be fostered. Enhanced electronic library resources, peer-to-peer counseling, and increased focused workshops for supporting faculty development efforts require additional attention. The challenge would be to extend these strengths through a larger proportion of its faculty and at a deeper level. Faculty development should focus on the following:

 

5.   CONCLUSION

 

The proposed hybrid model for general education is a paradigm shift for SIUE. It retains elements of the current general education that are strengths of SIUE but enhances the focus on competency development, integration, and assessment. It allows for flexibility for the various academic and professional programs. The program requires a commitment to resources to support faculty development for new pedagogical approaches needed to support implementation of the model.

 

 

6.   REFERENCES

 

Alverno College (1973), Alverno's Ability-Based Curriculum,

( http://www.alverno.edu/about_alverno/ability_curriculum.html ) last accessed 3/9/06.

 

Bell, M. and Lefoe, G. (1998), Curriculum Design for Flexible Delivery – Massaging The Model, ASCILITE Conference Proceedings, Perth. www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/wollongong98/asc98-pdf/bell-lefoe0031.pdf

 

Bloom, B. S. (ed. 1956), Taxonomy of educational objectives: Book 1, Cognitive domain. New York: Longman

 

Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989, 1991). Towards a culturally competent system of care, volumes I & II,. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.

 

Freire, P. (1973, 1994), Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. Rev. ed. New York: Continuum.

 

Hirsch, Jr., E.D. (1987), Cultural literacy: what every American needs to know, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

 

Humphreys, D. (2002), Liberal Education and America's Promise: Excellence for Everyone as a Nation goes to College, Association of American Colleges and Universities. ( http://www.aacu-edu.org ) last accessed 3/13/06.

 

Loewen, J. W., (1996), Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Touchtone Books.

 

National Academy of Engineering (2004), The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press.

 

National Academy of Engineering (2005), Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press.

 

Rhodes, F.H.T. (2001), The Creation of the Future: The Role of the American University. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

Appendix A: Competency-Based Integrative Model

 


 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Appendix B: Core Competencies for General Education Curriculum

 

Communication

 

The student should develop oral and written communication skills and effectively demonstrate the following competencies:

Information Literacy

Critical Thinking

The student should be able to develop analytic, problem-solving, and decision making skills.

 

Quantitative Literacy

 

 

Ethics and Citizenship

 

General education should equip SIUE students to understand “basic information needed to thrive” ethically and as citizens of the world around them ( Hirsch, Jr., E.D. (1987)). We believe that understanding of their own world “is central to empowerment” for the learner (Freire, 1973, 1994). Such knowledge of ethics and citizenship should be the type that is balanced with objectivity, maturity and intellectual discernment ( Loewen, J. W., (1996). Therefore, students should . . .

 

 

Cultural Competency

 

Cultural competence is defined as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross–cultural situations (Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. 1989). To meet the minimum cultural competency requirement, then, we expect that all SIUE undergraduate students will be able to adequately demonstrate the following:

 

Scientific Literacy

 

Students should acquire the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity, where such competency will

 

Life long Learning

 

The student should develop life long learning abilities. This includes understanding the skills and habits that will help them evaluate professional and personal situations in an analytical framework. This competency also should reflect the view that participation in education should continue beyond college through participation in professional and cultural organizations. Where applicable students should be able to demonstrate

 

Excellence

 

The students should acquire breadth and depth in liberal arts and sciences.

 

Teamwork

 

Students should know how to get things done in committees, task forces, team projects and other group efforts. Elicit the views of others and help reach conclusions.

 

Global Perspective

 

Students should act with an understanding of and respect for the economic, social and biological interdependence of global life.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix C: Details on Suggested Core Courses

 

English I

 

Instruction and practice in expository writing, including the paragraph and short essay.

 

English II

This course would provide instruction and practice in writing for diverse audiences and subject areas which include, but are not limited to exposition, (e.g., essay and research paper), science, (e.g., laboratory report), engineering, (e.g. technical report), history, (e.g., historical analyses), and communication via email. Critical thinking skill will also be developed through writing assignments that require analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

 

Speech Communication

This course will provide theories, strategies, and techniques for researching, organizing, outlining, and delivering speeches. Emphasis would be on speaking skills in professional and academic contexts.

 

Mathematics for Life

 

The main purpose of a Math for Life course is to enhance mathematical literacy and increase students' appreciation for mathematics. The term mathematical literacy emphasizes mathematical knowledge put to functional use in a multitude of different situations in varied, reflective and insight-based ways. Fundamental mathematical knowledge and skills are needed, and such skills are the foundation of Mathematical Literacy. It involves the creative combining of mathematical terminology, facts and procedures in response to the demands imposed by the external situation of the students' lives.  Math will be learned by using and doing math in a variety of situations such as the student's personal life, school life, work life and leisure, and community and societal life.  Students will develop an appreciation for mathematics as a dynamic, changing and relevant discipline that may often serve their needs.  Areas of competency include: Thinking and Reasoning, Argumentation, Communication, Modeling, Problem Posing and Solving, Representation, Using symbols and operators, and Use of Aids and Tools.

 

Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship (including Service Learning)

 

The course could be one offered through Political Sciences, Social Sciences, or History. The focus of the course will be the role of citizens in a democracy. This could be discussed based on current events or past history and how this role of the citizens has changed. The students should be introduced to theoretical as well as empirical models that will help them effectively frame ethical issues for analysis. The understanding of the value of ethics and citizenship can only be enabled through active application of these theories to a real life community problem. For this reason, all the courses that can be applied to this requirement will have a service learning component that would help the students practice the role of citizens in a community and relate that role to the overall role of citizens in a democracy. The service learning component will be no less than 25% of the class time and evaluation of student performance.

 

Service Learning

 

All students will satisfy a service learning requirement. This will address cultural understanding, diversity and citizenship responsibilities.

 

Service learning is a structured learning experience with explicit learning objectives that combines performing service in the community with preparation, reflection and discussion. The follow are attributes of service learning:

 

 

Integrated Sciences

 

All students would achieve basic scientific literacy in this course through investigation of a topic or problem that crosses the boundaries of the sciences of biology, chemistry, geology, physics, environmental science and the science of engineering.  Some examples of topics are:

Students would learn the distinction between science and engineering.  A focus on human health would also be included.  Objectives of this integrated science experience would be to strengthen s tudent understanding of the methodology of science so as to foster logical thinking about and the ability to make complex scientific and social decisions, to increase awareness of the nature and limitations of scientific knowledge, to emphasize the impact of science on society and the impact of society on science, the role of technology in science and the impact on society and to consider the ethical dilemmas and moral consequences of research that may confront the scientist, to create an understanding of the differences between belief and scientifically testable or validated results, to place scientific advances and issues in a historical context and to stress collaborative work and problem solving techniques in providing the student with the opportunity to become actively engaged in conducting science.

 

Integrated Liberal Studies

 

Students would view literature, language, and history with a global perspective in this course through an integration of cultural and political movements of the world as expressed in literature, art and music. Courses might include (a) integrated music, art, and literature courses with a global focus, (b) political science integrated with music, art, and literature, (c) world religions integrated with art, music, language, and political science, and (d) foreign language courses integrated with history, cultural awareness, and political science. Students would put current issues into the perspective of historical studies. Worldviews of women, Hispanic/Latino cultures, African-American history would be included on an equal footing with traditional United States cultural views and cultures of the world. Courses would include experiential learning by interacting with diverse cultures in the local area as well as area museums and cultural institutions. Group work would capitalize on the diversity among students at SIUE and interactions with classes at other universities. Students would emerge from integrated liberal studies with an appreciation of language, history, music, art, and literature of their own culture, the diversity of cultures in the United States , and international cultures. Integrative liberal studies would address the core competencies of cultural competence, citizenship, and excellence in liberal arts and sciences.

 

Freshman Seminar

 

The goals for the freshman seminar are: 1) to assist new freshman in making the transition to college level work and expectations; 2) to orient students to the service and culture of the University; and 3) to engage students in an intellectual community of students and faculty. The structure for the freshman seminar should include these attributes:

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix D: Examples for Outer Core Requirements for Various Programs

 

Competency Inner Core Outer Core
Business
Education
Engineering
Nursing
Communication
(Written and Oral) 
English I
English II
Speech Communication
Integrated Sciences
Integrated Liberal Arts     
       
Information Literacy
English I
English II
Mathematics for Life
Freshman Seminar
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship  
CMIS 108 CMIS 108 CS 145 CMIS 108
Critical Thinking
English II
Mathematics for Life
Integrated Sciences
Integrated Liberal Arts
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship
Freshman Seminar
PHIL 106
ECON 111
ECON 112  
PHIL 106
MATH 112A
MATH 112B   
IME 106
CHEM 131
PHYS 211A
PHYS 211B  
PHIL 106
CHEM 120
BIOL 111  
Quantitative Literacy
Mathematics for Life
Integrated Sciences  
       
Ethics and Citizenship
Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship
Freshman Seminar  
  IS 322 PHIL 323 PHIL 320
Cultural Competency (inter-group relations)
Integrated Liberal Studies
Freshman Seminar 
  SPC 103 (IGR) SPC 103 (IGR) SPC 103 (IGR)
Scientific Literacy Integrated Sciences        
Life long Learning Freshman Seminar        
Excellence (breadth and depth)  

(6) Option A

(6) Option B

(6) Option A

(6) Option B

(12) Option A (12) Option A
Teamwork  
X
X
X
X
Global Perspective  
X
X
X
X
(#) -> indicates number of credit hours required from the two defined options A and/or B
(X) -> indicates integration of these competencies in the flexible outer core courses. 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

BRIDGE Proposal Overview - Self-Assessment

 

1. How does your proposal support the values of SIUE (citizenship, excellence, integrity, openness and wisdom)?

 

The proposed model is structured to embed, develop and assess the SIUE values in an integrated competency-based system with core and non-prescribed flexible courses. The model focuses on integrating core competencies across core courses. The resulting integrated core courses would retain the interdisciplinary studies concept of the present general education curriculum.

 

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)?

 

The model integrates seven required courses to develop and enhance oral and written communication skills, see Table 2, Proposed Curricular Model. For each of these objectives, competencies were developed and described. These competencies are the main learning objectives of courses required of all students. These skills, values and outcomes would be assessed in the first core courses and also in later courses and should be a part of the senior assessment.

 

The English I course would focus on grammar and other elements of language, English II would focus on further development of these skills and integrate information literacy and critical thinking. The Speech course would focus on communication in written and oral form also. For scientific literacy, we have proposed an Integrated Science course that will include human health, an understanding the ethical nature of scientific process, the inclusion of problem-solving inquiry-based experiences, and experiences in analytic reasoning. The focus of the Integrated Liberal Arts course is to provide a foundation in the liberal arts. .(include more specific about course) and also further expand communication skills within a critical thinking and inter-group relations format experience to promote further cultural competency. Cultural competency stresses the values, skills and information with which people can interact and work with people from varying ethnicities, religions, etc.

 

A Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship course would focus on the ethics and citizenship and further expand skills and values begun in the Freshman Seminar. The course on Foundations of Ethics and Citizenship will focus on the role of ethical citizens in a democracy and ethical principles in resolving decision making as an informed citizen would be addressed. A service learning component would help the students practice the role of citizens in a community and relate that role to the overall role of citizens in a democracy. By focusing on these competencies directly in an integrated system, students will be better prepared for their disciplines.

 

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?

 

The courses required of this model are fewer than the specified curriculum at this time. This model proposes a more efficient system allowing for more flexibility needed by the many and varied programs on campus. SIUE has a significant transfer student body, articulation agreements would need to be reexamined.

 

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 and application)?

 

This model proposes integrated courses to make learning more relevant while tying content knowledge to issues, experiences and topics that are relevant to students and to pertinent skills needed in their lives and workplaces. By focusing on these competencies, a longer term assessment plan can notify both the professors' responsible and the students themselves of deficiencies early on in the system. Students may seek out extra help perhaps at the writing center. Students will be more responsible for their learning. Faculty whose courses attend to specific competencies can vary methods of teaching or content topics to promote higher competency.

 

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