Information for Faculty and Advisors

Photo of five students sitting in a row in class

Signature Assignment Information

Please click here for end-of-semester assessment procedures

Every Gen Ed course covers two of the six University-wide student learning outcomes in the context of work on its (inter)disciplinary subject matter. Students are required to complete and submit, for a grade and for program assessment purposes, end-of-semester "signature assignments” that demonstrate their achievement of the two University-wide learning outcomes covered by your course.

These two learning outcomes are included in the approved course proposal for your course; they do not change from semester to semester. It is vital to know what learning goals are covered and assessed in your course, and to plan a weekly course schedule that helps students achieve these goals; and it is essential to assign students an end-of-semester signature assignment that covers these goals. For information on which University-wide learning outcomes are covered and assessed in your Gen Ed course, please view the file Gen Ed courses by Tier, Mode of Inquiry, and University-wide student learning outcomes.

Please note that starting in Fall 2017, students in Gen Ed courses no longer submit end-of-semester signature assignments to Tk20. Signature assignments are submitted to instructors only.

In addition, the assessment team no longer scores end-of-semester signature assignments. Instead, instructors assess their own students' signature assignments using online versions of the Gen Ed assessment rubrics.

Please click here for more information and to preview the online assessment rubric forms.

You may download the following printable versions of the rubric forms to be used in preparation for completing the online forms:

We believe these changes simplify the assessment process, underscore the relationship between assessment results and teaching practice, and improve faculty awareness of—and confidence in—assessment results.

The specific outcomes for each University-wide student learning goals may be viewed here in Word format for easy copying and pasting.

Transparent Assignment Design Enhances Student Success

Transparent teaching/learning practices make learning processes explicit while fostering students' metacognition, confidence, and sense of belonging in college. Transparent assignment design is a replicable teaching intervention that equitably enhances the success of high-achieving and underserved college students.

We encourage faculty to adopt the principles of transparent assignment design, developing clear statements of purpose (regarding both knowledge and skills), clearly articulating required tasks, and explaining criteria for success, in designing assignments in Gen Ed courses including end-of-semester signature assignments.

At an April 2016 workshop, Professor Mary-Ann Winkelmes reviewed educational research behind the concept of transparent teaching/learning, then applied that research to the design of course assignments and class activities. Participants prepared a draft assignment or activity for one of their courses and left with a concise set of straightforward strategies for designing transparent assignments that promote student learning. An abbreviated version of the workshop is available for anyone who missed the event:

Workshop on Transparent Assignment Design
You may also download the Transparency Workshop Handout.

About the presenter:
Mary-Ann Winkelmes is Coordinator of Instructional Development and Research and an Associate Graduate Faculty member in the Department of History at the University Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where her aim is to promote teaching and learning initiatives, student success, faculty development and instructional research in all the University's academic units. She also serves on UNLV's Path to Tier One Executive Committee. She is a Senior Fellow of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and a partner in the AAC&U's LEAP project—Transparency and Problem-Centered Learning. Dr. Winkelmes (Ph.D., Harvard, 1995) has held senior leadership roles in the campus teaching centers at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois. She has consulted and provided professional development programming for faculty through the Lilly Endowment's higher education grant-making and teacher training programs, and for teaching centers in the U.S. and abroad. She has also served as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Development Network in Higher Education (POD Network), and Chair of its Research Committee.



Gen Ed course proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. They must be submitted to department curriculum committees to begin the approval process.

Follow the Guidelines for Requesting New Course Approval and Course Changes as you write or revise course proposals for inclusion in General Education

The Cover Page Request for Permanent Course Approval or Course Change is a "fillable" PDF that can be saved. It serves as a "routing slip" as course proposals make their way through the approval process that begins with Department Curriculum Committees. This form must be submitted to the Department Curriculum Committee with the completed Course Proposal. Review proceeds from the Department Curriculum Committee to the Chair, the College Curriculum Committee, the Office of the Dean, the General Education Curriculum Committee, the Senate Curriculum and Instruction Committee, and the Office of the Provost.

The Temporary Course Approval Form may be used for one-semester approval of a course. Review of this form proceeds from the Department Curriculum Committee to the Chair, the Office of the Dean, and the Office of the Provost. Any General Education course planned as a permanent part of the curriculum (beyond one semester) must be submitted for permanent approval (using the correct form) according to the Senate approval process outlined above.

In order to save the "Cover Page" file with your information, you may need to follow these steps:

  1. in your browser, fill in the required information;
  2. select "Print" in your browser;
  3. in the "Print" window, under "Destination," select "save as PDF";
  4. then click "Save";
  5. in the "Save" window, change the filename to include your name, the course title, and the words "Cover Page" and change the intended location of the file to the location on your computer where you want to save it;
  6. attach the new saved file (the completed "Cover Page") with your course proposal when you submit it.

For information on which University-wide learning outcomes are covered and assessed in your Gen Ed course, please view the file Gen Ed courses by Tier, Mode of Inquiry, and University-wide student learning outcomes.


We will offer a few Tier 3 Capstone courses for the first time in Spring 2017. Many more Capstones will need to be offered to meet student demand in subsequent semesters.

Each department is encouraged to propose two capstone courses.

View the Tier 3 Capstone Course Proposal Guidelines for more information on Capstone course proposal requirements. Also, you may want to review this Sample Capstone Course Proposal.

In addition, feel free to use this Tier 3 Capstone Course Proposal Blank Template-Model as a helpful starting point for working on your own Capstone course proposal. It should significantly simplify the capstone course proposal process.


These Sample Learning Goals for the Modes of Inquiry may be useful in thinking about how to address the mode(s) of inquiry being taught in your course; it is not a list of required learning outcomes.



The General Education program was approved by the University Senate and SACC in May 2014. Click here to view the General Education proposal.

A revised General Education Committee Structure was approved by the University Senate in October 2015.

The Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements were revised in April 2016 to simplify the Gen Ed program while increasing flexibility.

Click here to view the assessment implementation plan approved by the Senate in Fall 2016 .

Please email with questions about any aspect of the General Education program.