What's wrong with our current GE?

  • Most crucially, our current GE does not provide a shared educational vision linked to the university mission. A GE program that articulates a clear set of ideas can help students and faculty carry these ideas forward into the rest of the curriculum and co-curriculum.
  • Our current GE assessment plan is unworkable. There is no way to link what students learn and what's happening in courses to our stated outcomes, short of devising a stand-study for WASC. Increasingly, both the CSU and WASC expect integrated, embedded assessment, and our current GE program makes that impossible. The new GE program will achieve such assessment without adverse impacts on faculty, particularly during the lead-in to accreditation visits. 
  • The current "distribution model" creates a chaotic experience for students in which they often fail to connect course work to essential learning.

What are the General Education Goals and Outcomes?

These are found in the Senate document “Revisions to SP 06-06 General Education Learning Goals and Outcomes” (http://senate.csuci.edu/policies/2007-2008/Revisions_to_SP-06_GE_Goals_and_Outcomes.doc). Note that this document is slightly different from SP 06-06.  In the revision, the General Education Goals were reordered.  There are 7 General Education Goals,  each with 2 to 4 outcomes.

The first Goal incorporates the mission pillars.  Goals 2, 3, and 4 reflect the need for CSU GE goals to include the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes framework. This is outlined in Executive Order 1065 CSU General Education Breadth Requirements (http://www.calstate.edu/eo/eo-1065.html).  Goals 5, 6, 7 incorporate outcomes that meet the A-E breadth requirements of the CSU.

Can current GE courses still be GE courses?

Yes.  In the new system, a General Education course identifies

    1. GE Learning Outcomes from Senate Policy 06-06,
    2. Student Evidence that demonstrates learning towards these outcomes, and
    3. Assessment Tools, such as rubrics,that will be applied to this evidence.

Existing GE courses will continue as GE courses, but the student learning outcomes may need to be revised to incorporate the SP06-06 GE Learning Outcomes.

What will happen to UDIGE courses?

Current UDIGE course are easily transitioned into the new system.  UDIGE courses are  writing-intensive and interdisciplinary.  They should already teach toward two of the new GE outcomes:

    • Outcome 1.1c: Integrate content, ideas, and approaches from integrative perspectives across disciplines, and
    • Outcome 4.2: Write effectively in various forms.

In order transition current UDIGE courses to the new GE system, course Student Learning Outcomes should be revised to incorporate these GE Learning Outcomes.

What happened to the Required Elements Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 courses in the GE Task Force proposal?

These levels were the first iteration of an attempt to build a system of scaffolded learning.  Parts of scaffolding are retained in the research sequence: UNIV 198, UNIV 298, UNIV 398, UNIV 498 and the first and second year seminar sequence UNIV 150 and UNIV 250.

In addition, the idea of different levels is now attached to student achievement, rather than Level 1, 2, and 3 courses.  For each of the General Education outcomes, there is a four point scale of achievement that a student will progress along within each.  It is expected that students will need two or more courses to move along this scale.  Lower-division General Educations courses should be designed to help students progress from the first level on the scale to the second.  Upper division courses should help students further advance along the scale.

What is the timeline for the new GE program?

Fall 09

    • Faculty feedback, refinement of vision.
    • Senate approved by resolution the new University Studies vision and direction

Spring-Fall 2010

    • Task force sought external funding and explored e-portfolio options together with other campus stakeholders.
    • Furlough suspended Taskforce activities. 

Spring 2011

    • ISLAS grant (awarded Fall 10) includes funding for a University Experience Director, who shepherds University Studies development.
    • Keck Foundation funds SPIRaL undergraduate research course series.
    • Development of UNIV curriculum that incorporate GE outcomes
    • Rubric development begun by faculty teams
    • Scheduling and staffing of new core classes for Fall 11
    • Faculty training for outcomes-based assessment and e-portfolio

Fall 2011

    • New core course (UNIV 150) launched, piloting rubric-based assessments of signature assignments for GE outcomes
    • Rubric development continuing

Spring 2012

    • Continued curriculum and outcomes-based assessment process work
    • New core courses (UNIV 250; UNIV 298) launched, piloting rubric-based assessments of signature assignments for GE outcomes
    • Existing GE courses piloting rubrics with assignments
    • Rubric development continuing
    • Vetting of existing piloted rubrics in workshops using student work from pilot courses

Spring 2012

    • Continued curriculum and outcomes-based assessment process work
    • New core courses (UNIV 349; UNIV 398) launched, piloting rubric-based assessments of signature assignments for GE outcomes
    • Existing GE courses piloting rubrics with assignments
    • Rubric development continuing
    • Vetting of existing piloted rubrics in workshops using student work from pilot courses
    • Existing GE courses revised to include SP06-06 outcomes
    • Systems integration between folioCI and PeopleSoft to record/track student progress with meeting outcomes and maintain an A-E classification of courses to facilitate transfer in and out.

When the faculty and records staff as a whole feels confident all rubrics have been piloted and vetted, that a norming process is institutionalized, and systems are in place to track earning of GE units earned through outcomes achievement, we can switch over to an outcomes-system for entering students.  The new catalog (12-13) lists the SP 06-06 outcomes, but also still has the 48 distributed units and the A-E categories lists of classes.  We'd need to reflect the new program (including a matrix of which courses align with which outcomes) in the catalog, which has a lag time.  If we wanted to make the transition Fall 14, we'd have to have the catalog information and system-integration ready by the end of Fall 13.

How will students know which courses will help them fulfill which outcomes?

The online portfolio system folioCI has the ability to track student achievement in the new GE system, and it can also display which courses teach towards certain outcomes.  Students looking for GE courses will use folioCI to display course offerings that meet the outcomes that students need.

How will it be determined that a student has met an outcome?

For courses identified with specific outcomes, the faculty member teaching the course will determine whether the particular product (i.e. paper, experiment, other assignment) has met the outcome. Students will be able to upload documents to folioCI, and course instructors will evaluate student work for GE credit within folioCI. Students may also petition to have accomplishments outside the classroom evaluated by a faculty committee for a particular outcome, using the rubric for that outcome. 

What if a particular assignment only partially fulfills an outcome? (for instance, the rubric won't only have meets/doesn't meet categories, but partially meets, etc) How can that be noted?

For the outcome rubrics that are developed, there is a 4-point scale of achievement: Initial, Emerging, Developing, Highly Developed. Each rubric has multiple dimensions that it measures on this 4-point scale. This 4-point scale is designed to reflect students development during their time at Channel Islands.  Level 1 is where most of our First Year student are.  Level 4 is where our exceptional graduates will be.

Some assignments may not reflect all the dimensions in one outcome.  Instructors can select "Not Applicable" in folioCI for one ore more of the dimensions if they do not want to use an entire rubric to assess an assignment.

It is expected that students will need multiple assignments to successfully progress along one of the General Education learning outcomes.  The e-portfolio will be the students’ record, and students can always access all of their General Education work.  There is a mechanism in folioCI for instructor to give written feedback on assignments.

Who will develop assessment tools for the GE Learning Outcomes?

There have been multiple calls for Faculty involvement in the development of assessment tools and currently 18 faculty have helped in this process.  Faculty have been meeting throughout the 2011-2012 academic year to create, review, test, and norm assessment tools.  This is an ongoing process, and we need more people involved in assessment tool development and refinement

What courses will transfer students have to take? And what if they are GE certified?

If a transfer student is GE certified, they only need to take 9 units of UDIGE course.  For transfer students that are not GE certified, there is a mechanism to map previous student work in the new GE system giving them some portion of their 48 GE units. They would then take course to complete their remaining GE course work.

Who will students "petition" to?

For clarity, there are two types of GE petition activities.  Transfer students who are not GE certified may need to petition their coursework to be counted toward their General Education requirements.  These petitions will go to the GE committee as they have in the past, and appropriate GE credit will be awarded based upon the course grade, student learning outcomes for the course, and course discipline.

A second type of general education petition is permitted in the new General Education system.  Students who believe that some of their activities outside of coursework meet General Education Learning Outcomes may be awarded credit for evidence of outcome achievement.  In order to do this students will enroll in a 1 credit GE “Lab” course, where they will submit and reflect upon evidence of outcome achievement.  The course faculty will assess the evidence using a General Education assessment tool.

How many outcomes will students be allowed to petition outside of courses?

All students that graduate from CI are required to take 9 units of Upper-division General Education coursework.  Beyond this, students may submit evidence of outcome achievement for any of the General Education Learning outcomes through a GE “Lab”.  If a student is submitting a large amount evidence of GE outcome achievement, they may need to take more than one GE “Lab”. The faculty could set a limit on the number of GE outcome units earned this way.

Will students take fewer units of GE?

CSU Executive Order 1065 allows for learning outcome achievement to be a basis for the awarding of units.  Students will still be required to complete 48 General Education units. These units will be awarded by student achievement towards a General Education Learning Outcomes, rather than passing grades (D or above) in GE courses.  It will be possible for students to achieve the require 48 General Education units by passing fewer than 48 credit hours of General Education courses.

How does this system work for Transfer students who come in GE certified?

GE certified students have 39 GE units, and would need to earn 9 more GE units through achievement along GE outcomes.

Will there be a rubric for each outcome within the seven goals?

There will be assessment tools for each of the 22 outcomes.  Currently these assessment tools are rubrics, but other types of assessment tools may be approved and used.

 What if a student meets all the outcomes but they still have GE units left to fulfill?

If a student has complete their 48 General Education units distributed properly in the 7 goals, they have satisfied the CI General Education requirement.  It is possible to satisfy the CI GE requirement by taking fewer than 48 credit hours of classes.  Students can take whatever classes they want with any “savings”.

How does this GE model benefit students?

  1. Student learning is grounded in the mission of the university.
  2. Students will share a common set of ideas, skills, and experiences that they will take forward to elective and major courses. Faculty in subsequent courses will be able to identify and build upon this foundation.
  3. Students who elect to meet some GE outcomes with work completed outside of usual courses will have electives with which to double major, minor, or enhance preparation in a major.
  4. Students will think in terms of learning outcomes rather than seat time in a class. 

How will faculty (all kinds) be given the opportunity to learn how to incorporate outcomes into their courses and to build outcomes assessment into their grading systems, and to be normed in the application of rubrics and in general assimilated into the new model?

Currently grant money is providing the opportunity for many workshops for faculty development on these aspects of the new GE system. In the future these workshops will be offered through Faculty Development office, University Studies administration, the GE committee, and at the program level.

How will students learn about this new GE program, how to use the e-portfolio?

The e-portfolio, folioCI, will be featured at orientations. Scaffolded course sequences such as the SPIRAL research sequence and the First, Second, and Transfer Year seminars expose students early on to folioCI.  Student perceptions of the e-portfolio are related to our goal of shifting student perceptions from GE (an obligation vaguely connected to their educational and career goals) to University Studies, where the e-portfolio helps them take ownership of and responsibility for their own learning. The e-portfolio allows students to see and assess their own growth over time; it allows them to chart their own progress prior to waiting for the mysterious and intimidating grad check. It is our intention to have a e-portfolio that allows students to customize portfolio views for employers and graduate school applications.

To what degree will courses listed as potentially satisfying a GE outcome include that outcome in the course syllabus as a student learning outcome?

Some courses at CI already include GE Learning Outcomes as course Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).  In the new GE system, a GE course is a course that has 2 or more GE Learning Outcomes as course SLOs.  Courses may include additional outcomes that may be necessary to meet other goals of the course (as a disciplinary prerequisite, for example), but the GE Outcomes will be highlighted so that students can clearly see which outcomes the course will help them meet.

What will be the procedure for transitioning from the current to the new system?

Some of the structural works is already in place.  CI has an e-portfolio system, folioCI, that is already being using in University Studies courses and UDIGE courses to collect student evidence and assess student work.  Rubrics are developed for more than 3/4 of the General Education Learning Outcomes, and they are currently being piloted in a variety of courses.  The GE Task Force has completed initial work on a procedure to convert outcome achievement into GE credit.

In order to transition to the new GE system, we would need to

  1. 4 rubrics remaining to draft;
  2. each assessment tool tried out in multiple classes, then refined/ revised by faculty teams;
  3. faculty development on outcomes-assessment process with folioCI;
  4. current GE course updates through GE/Curriculum Committees incorporating outcomes, new GE courses with both goal/outcome and A-E breadth designation;
  5. development of policies where needed; and
  6. continued integrated systems development in folioCI and PeopleSoft to document outcome achievement (maintaining A-E categories for transcripts to facilitate transfer in/out).

Would it be possible to add second language study under Goal 4. "Communicative effectively using a variety of formats"?

Yes, the rubrics for each goal can specify the means of achieving the outcomes under each Goal.  For example, the rubric for Outcome 4.2 "Write effectively in various forms" could include a second language as one "form."

In addition to the oral and written communication GE Learning Outcomes 4.2 and 4.3, many language courses address multicultural and international issues that align with the GE Learning outcomes 1.1a and 1.1b.  In this way, a language course could very easily incorporate 3 or 4 of the General Education Learning outcomes making them desirable GE courses beyond the language graduation requirement.

How will this new system improve systematic and timely GE assessment for program improvement and for WASC, etc.?

With the e-portolio, the University Studies administrator can pull data and student work for specific Goals at any time to assess achievement of learning outcomes.

Are there faculty or programs on campus already using rubrics for outcome assessment?

Yes.  For example, the Education program uses an e-portfolio for credential students.  The composition faculty meet together to evaluate writing using rubrics.  The library has used rubrics to assess information literacy outcomes. Faculty teaching courses in the SPIRAL research sequence and First, Second, and Transfer year seminars are currently using rubrics to assess GE Learning Outcomes.

What happens when a student transfers to another CSU?  Are the University Studies requirements translatable into standard CSU breadth requirements?


Yes, just as there is a mapping of A-E subject areas for students transferring in, there is a similar mapping for students transferring out of CSUCI to another CSU.

Might the new program make the CI multicultural graduation requirement now separate from GE unnecessary?

This is one area where General Education committees deal with many student petitions and transfer students perceive bottlenecks in completing their GE.

Yes. Multicultural perspectives is included in Goal 1, Outcome 1a.  Courses incorporating this outcome would give students the opportunity to satisfy this outcome.  

Executive Order 1065 states that instruction approved to fulfill the subject-area GE requirements “should recognize the contributions to knowledge and civilization that have been made by members of diverse cultural groups and by women as well as men.”  So any University Studies/GE course can include a multicultural outcome.

Will University Studies courses include STEM disciplines, which would support the university’s STEM strategic initiative?

STEM courses fit well into the new GE system.  Many STEM courses align well with the outcome associated with GE Goal 6: Understand the physical universe and its life forms, scientific methodology, and mathematical concepts, and use quantitative reasoning.

Though the Level 1,2, and 3 structure of courses is less formal, any STEM UDIGE would easily carry over to the new GE system.  Lower division STEM course likely would teach toward outcomes in Goals 1-4.  So a lower division STEM course could easily have its SLOs modified to make it a GE course in the new GE system.

Where does undergraduate research fit in?

The SPIRaL course sequence: UNIV 198, 298, 398, 498 incorporates undergraduate research into the new GE system.  Other research opportunities that generate evidence of student learning can be petitioned for GE credit through a GE lab course. University Studies courses that are not in the UNIV research series could also include undergraduate research work assessed for GE outcome unit credit.

What might students get out of the new program?

Students who now see GE as “just” checking of boxes, not related to their major, extra stuff they don’t need, etc. instead will have the opportunity to see how one discipline relates to another in a problem-solving and/or community context.  

The e-portfolio offers the potential for students to reflect on the mission-based outcomes and their interrelationship to their studies and their growth as citizens. 

The e-portfolio also offers the possibility of different “views” of the stored evidence of having achieved learning outcomes.  Students could present aspects of their university studies work to prospective employers who will see a well-rounded, articulate student, presenting a “public face” for their intellectual achievements.

 What might faculty get out of the new program?

Faculty involved in teams building rubrics for each outcome and getting trained and/or training others in applying rubrics (sometimes referred to as “norming”) have the opportunity to develop their teaching skills. 

As is true now for those who do it, faculty who team teach as part of University Studies have the opportunity to broaden their own research methodologies, bring new questions to their work, through interaction with colleagues from different disciplinary backgrounds.

Having assessment built in to the University Studies courses will save faculty time during course level, program, and university-wide assessment and review.

What are the relative costs of the new program?

University Studies administration and release time for “faculty seminars” for rubric development and norming are new and on-going costs.  Once the rubrics are developed, the faculty release time could diminish to training and being trained in their application.

E-portfolio acquisition is a cost up front that will payoff in the long run when Assessment release time is greatly diminished as University Studies administration can easily do assessment from information stored and database analyses.  An E-portfolio system also has the potential to streamline the GE portion of academic advising.

Faculty development opportunities are built-in to the system at no separate cost.

What happens if a student passes a course but does not meet the Outcome? Do they need to take another course to meet the outcome which could put them above 120 unit graduation limit?

GE unit credit is conferred at aggregate Goal level instead of the individual outcome level.  In this way it may be possible for students to perform at a low level on one outcome and still receive credit though other outcomes within a goal.

What happens if students pass all their courses and still have not met one or more Outcomes?

GE units are awarded at the Goal level.  Students’ scores on outcomes within a goal are averaged into a goal score.  This goal score is used to award GE units.  It is possible for students to achieve the necessary units within a Goal without demonstrating achievement along all of the outcomes within that Goal.  However passing course does not convey GE credit, achievement within a Goal conveys GE credit.

Will transfer students be required to take UNIV 349?

University 349 is a Transfer year seminar that is also an Upper Division Interdisciplinary GE course.  Students will not be required to take this course.  During transfer orientations students be introduced to the transfer year seminar and may opt to take this course.

Will UNIV 349 replace one of the three UDIGE courses now required?

University 349 is an optional transfer year seminar course, and it is a UDIGE course.  If students choose to take this course it will count towards the 9 units of upper division GE courses that the CSU requires.

How will the new GE pattern accommodate the current A-E pattern?

There is a formula that converts outcome achievement into A-E unit credit.  Students transferring from CI can have their outcome achievement converted to GE A-E unit credit. Students who are not GE certified that transfer to CI will be convert coursework at other institutions into CSU GE credit.

Will faculty be compensated for (implied) extra work related to a) assessment, b) “Signature Assignment” and c) portfolio tracking/evaluation?

Part of the transition to the new GE system includes professional development so that faculty to recognize how the work they already fit into the context of the General Education Learning outcomes and Signature Assignments.  Workshops will be given to help faculty embed the GE assessment into their grading efforts.

Will this be a very large task for Advising (and for professors) which will require significant new financial resources?

Built into foiloCI is an advising dashboard which allows students and their advisors to track their progress along the GE goal and outcomes within the goals.  The University Studies website and folioCI will display courses that meet specific GE outcomes.  This will give students and advisors a menu of courses that students can take to progress along the GE outcomes. 

How will this effort scale as CI grows?  Does this GE model preclude large lecture general education courses?

Since the assessment and evidence collection happens at a course level, the GE system will scale well as the university grows. Faculty is experimenting with how this system works with larger course sizes.  As long as a course has GE Learning outcomes, students submit evidence of student learning through signature assignments, and faculty assess the students learning using GE assessment tools, it does not matter what size the course is.

What is the role of academic disciplinary/interdisciplinary programs in the GE transition?

Programs are encouraged to look at their current and future GE courses alongside the GE Goals and Outcomes, maybe as a part of program assessment.  Transitioning to the new GE would mean choosing appropriate GE Learning Outcomes for your courses adding them as course SLOs.