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. The specific dimensions for each outcome appear on the program rubrics. These are the performance criteria for assessing the outcomes students develop throughout the semester and demonstrate on their signature assignments.
The two University-wide student learning outcomes are included in the approved course proposal for your course. It is vital to know what learning outcomes are covered and assessed in your course, and to plan a weekly course schedule that helps students achieve these outcomes; and it is essential to assign students an end-of-semester signature assignment that provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate these outcomes.
For information on Tier, Mode(s) of Inquiry, University-wide Student Learning Outcomes, and course descriptions for all Gen Ed courses, please access the General Education Course Checklist.
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 by students to instructors only.
In addition, the assessment team no longer scores end-of-semester signature assignments. Instead, instructors assess their own students' signature assignments by completing online versions of the Gen Ed assessment rubrics or uploading Excel files on which they have entered their students' scores.
You may download printable versions of the rubric forms to be used in preparation for submitting your scores:
Transparent teaching/learning practices make learning processes explicit while fostering students' meta-cognition, confidence, and sense of belonging in college. Transparent assignment design is a replicable teaching intervention that equitably enhances the success of high-achieving and under-served 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:
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
Note: In every Tier I and Tier II Gen Ed course, end-of-semester signature assignments must cover and assess two University-wide student learning outcomes. In Tier III Capstone courses, each student's capstone project must cover and assess two of the outcomes. Descriptors for performance criteria/dimensions must be included on course proposals for Gen Ed courses in Item 9 and cross-referenced by abbreviation in Items 10, 11, and 16. Please copy the performance descriptors and abbreviations for the two outcomes covered and assessed in your course from this list of Descriptors for Performance Criteria/Dimensions of the Six University-Wide Student Learning Outcomes and paste the outcomes, abbreviations, and performance descriptors where required on the course proposal.
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:
Each department is encouraged to propose at least two capstone courses.
In addition, feel free to use this Tier III 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 Outcomes 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 access the General Education proposal.
A revised General Education Committee Structure was approved by the University Senate in October 2015.
The Tier I and Tier II requirements were revised in April 2016 to simplify the Gen Ed program while increasing flexibility.
Click here to access the assessment implementation plan approved by the Senate in Fall 2016 .
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about any aspect of the General Education program.