Key Features of the new University Studies (GE) Program

  • It is based on demonstrated student outcomes rather than seat time in courses.
  • It scaffolds student learning across courses and levels, and encourages student self-assessment.
  • It uses universal rubrics usable in courses across disciplines and at different levels.
  • It uses an electronic portfolio (folioCI) to document the outcomes students achieve and encourages them to be responsible for their learning.
  • Through the e-portfolio, it integrates assessment at the course level with program and institutional assessment.
  • It creates a shared experience for students and faculty while providing students access to the full diversity of disciplinary and integrative options.
  • It clearly links the university mission to the curriculum. 
  • It requires students to earn 48 GE units but creates greater flexibility for students and faculty to take minors, to double major, to deepen their preparation within a major, to pursue second language acquisition, or to develop skills and knowledge outside the major.

Key Structures

UNIV Courses

UNIV courses are the foundation of the University Studies program, a visible representation of the university's mission and educational values. They provide common educational experiences, whether through a SPIRaL research sequence, a University Experience sequence, or a student leadership experiences. UNIV courses promote critical thinking across the curriculum. Courses will have different content emphases (reflected in course titles in semester schedules) depending on faculty expertise.  

Level 1: Literacies, Communication, and High-Impact Practices (can be linked to Composition courses). Courses include:

  • UNIV 150 First Year Seminar 
  • UNIV 198 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research 

Level 2: Ideas and Perspectives in a Complex World (community engagement, integrative practices, international and multicultural perspectives). Courses include:

  • UNIV 250 Second Year Seminar
  • UNIV 298 Research Investigations

Level 3: Integrated Problem Posing (Upper Division Interdisciplinary courses and/or Capstones, emphasis on team-teaching and experiential education as appropriate). Courses include:

  • UNIV 349 Transfer Year Seminar
  • UNIV 391 United States Travel Study Experience
  • UNIV 392 International Experience
  • UNIV 398 Advanced Research Investigations
  • UNIV 498 Faculty Student Research Collaborative 

See the SPIRaL andUniversity Experience Program webpages for more details about some of these courses.

University Studies Outside of UNIV

Programs offering GE courses will identify for each course: 1) two or three GE outcomes included in the course outline; 2) course assignments that are designed to demonstrate student learning towards those outcomes; and 3) assessment tools, such as rubrics, used to evaluate student learning of those specificied outcomes.

Many current GE courses will continue as part of the University Studies program, with greater and visible alignment with GE outcomes. Teams of faculty experts will be supported by the elected General Education Standing Committee to devise and revise rubrics for each GE goal and its outcomes and to evaluate course petitions to join the new program.

E-Portfolio folioCI

In GE courses, students will receive assistance in assembling an e-portfolio keyed to GE learning outcomes. A key feature of folioCI is that it moves with the student throughout their time at CI, with their work collected in their Artifact archive accessible for reflection and assessment across time.

Faculty must ensure that students who pass a University Studies course have an opportunity to produce work that meets the GE outcomes approved for the course. Ideally, assessment of GE learning outcomes is built into the faculty process for grading assignments for the course. For example, a scoring rubric might be adapted to include or highlight criteria in the rubric used to assess the GE outcome. Students will upload assignments to be assessed into folioCI; faculty input the assessement into folioCI using the selected tool (i.e. rubric, checklist, critique, etc.)

University Studies courses will have more than one GE outcome incorporated in the syllabus. In this way, students may be able to meet more than one outcome through their work in a course, or even through one comprehensive assignment. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to meet general education outcomes through evidence of learning from outside of courses. Students will upload this evidence (papers, creative works, video clips, presentation posters, etc.) as well as reflections on their learning into folioCI. Faculty teams expert in the outcome areas, or faculty teaching a UNIV lab course, will evaluate student petitions to include outside work in their portfolios.