General Education Program

2021 CAPC General Education Statement

General Education Advising Guide for Fall 2021

Criteria for Diverse Communities, Ethics, Interdisciplinary, Speaking Emphasis, and Writing Emphasis Courses

(Proposal tip:  These options are found by checking "Additional Baccalaureate Requirement 2019+" under the Purpose of Course field in CIM-Course.)

CIM General Education Open Labs

Check back for more CIM General Education Open Lab opportunities.  Sit down with the CAPC Chair, CAPC Gen Ed Committee Chair, and the Faculty Director for General Education to get one-on-one assistance with general education-related proposals.  Please be sure to


as spots will fill quickly.  (Please bring along a laptop or a tablet, unless a computer lab is indicated as the location.)

General Education Reform Update

These slides were used at the CAPC kick-off meeting on Thursday, August 31, 2017 to update CAPC members on the on-going Gen Ed reform process. They may be useful for CAPC members in sharing information with their constituents. Please note: Nothing in these slides should be viewed or interpreted as the final, finished, end-all, be-all in terms of the Gen Ed reform. This is still a work in progress.

FAQs about the Proposed General Education Program

What are the seven Gen Ed Goals?

Goal 1: Communicate effectively

Goal 2: Think critically and analytically

Goal 3: Employ quantitative concepts and mathematical methods

Goal 4: Demonstrate the ability to think across and about disciplinary boundaries

Goal 5: Respond thoughtfully to diversity

Goal 6: Understand varied historical, cultural, and philosophical traditions

Goal 7: Make informed decisions and ethical choices

General Education Program Implementation and Faculty Professional Development

Please refer to this working document for details pertaining to the timeline for implementation as well as faculty development opportunities to support the successful implementation of the new General Education Program.

Is there an advising sheet for the new Gen Ed? If not with specific classes, one with the breakdown of the number of S classes, E classes, etc.?

We will add the FYE to all undergraduate program’s Gen Ed program (catalog curriculum table) for the 19-20 catalog, otherwise see the approved proposal. Programs can meet the additional degree requirements (e.g., S, E, & W courses) within the program curriculum or through Gen Ed classes. Once the criteria for the S & E courses are approved, CAPC will welcome proposals for courses to carry to E and/or S attribute.

Question regarding expertise and the First Year Experience (FYE) and/or capstone.

Some believe the proposal indicates that ALL Gen Ed Goals need to be covered in the FYE and the capstone, but no single faculty member has all that expertise. All FYE instructors will need to know enough about each goal to say why it is important and why we require it. This is "introducing" the goal, not necessarily seeking mastery. In the capstone, an assignment should ask students to reflect on how their project/clinical experience/teaching placement is informed by their entire undergraduate career. It does not need to be graded by the professor, and certainly not "evaluated" for "correctness." we'll review these assignments to assess how well we're doing. the benefit to the student is another stab at integrating their major curriculum, Gen Ed, possibly co-curricular experiences, etc.

What other institutions use a similar model for a first year experience?

There are a lot of schools that do this; it’s easy to search and see how widespread this is. E.g.,

How will faculty be selected to teach the FYE?

A campus-wide call for faculty participation will be announcement prior to Spring Break. Deans, Department Chairs, Gen Ed Director, the Provost’s office, and Faculty will participate in the faculty assignment process.

I heard that the FYE classes will be only offered early morning or late at night. Is this true?

This is not true - FYE courses will be offered at a variety of times during the day.

With the FYE being 4 credits, what is the total number of Gen Ed credits that students will need to take?

The total General Education program is 40 credits, but there are additional degree requirements - see the approved Gen Ed program proposal (above).

Will the FYE courses always be held in the fall or will there be courses for spring transfers and/or deferred enrollments?

There will be some sessions offered in the spring, but not as many as in the fall.

How will the assignment of instructors to FYE classes affect department ratios and overall 25% cap rates?

There are many variables associated with department ratios and overall 25% caps. The implementation of the FYE as currently planned will likely positively affect college target ratios and workload.

What about transfer students?

We will work backwards from the principle that underlies the Academic Passport, which tries to give students credit for as much as possible, while still maintaining the "specialness" of WCU's curriculum. We will decide on a threshold minimum of credits to be exempt from FYE (analogous to the way we handle Writing Emphasis). There are enough other schools offering FYE's that we can review them for transfer as well. As we develop the FYE, various units may want to include online modules, and we can use those to build a ‘transfer experience' for students coming from 2-year colleges (where the landscape of higher education is much different).

What is the process for creating a pathway certificate?

They are certificate programs. The process will be based on the existing program proposal process.


Do we have to use the e-portfolio?

Not immediately, but we will want to cultivate its use so that we're close to 100% (in Gen Ed courses) by around the 5-year mark. Many universities use electronic portfolios with successful results.

Can the Social and Behavioral Sciences meet Goals 3 and/or 6?

Yes! As a result of this frequently asked question, the following motion was offered on the floor of CAPC:
"Motion to Append the General Education Program Motion - Behavioral and Social Science"
Move to append the general education program motion to require Goals 3 and/or 6, inclusive of the previously stated SLO's, for Behavioral & Social Science Distributive Courses.

What do we have to do in the Capstone course?


As part of the new Gen Ed, we’re asking programs to identify a capstone course within the major that will include a “capstone assignment” asking students to reflect on the integration of their major and Gen Ed courses as well as their own progress on meeting the goals of the Gen Ed program.  Students will use the various artifacts that they have placed in their e-portfolio to look back on their years at WCU and write a personal reflection essay.  This does NOT have to be graded by the faculty member teaching the capstone course, it could be included e.g. as a participation grade in the course syllabus.  To that end, we are not asking faculty to develop assignments or anything else that “teach” the Gen Ed goals, we only want the faculty teaching the capstone courses to include this assignment as a required aspect of the course. 

The assignment will be used for assessment of the General Education program, which is an important aspect of reporting to Middle States.  Faculty would only need to present the basics of the assignment and make sure that students upload it appropriately, e.g., to their electronic portfolio. 

We are also planning to develop a template of what the assignment might look like.  Faculty wouldn’t be obliged to use this exact assignment, but the critical aspects of it would be incorporated.  In that way, the faculty teaching the capstone course are not required to instruct on or assess material germane to all the Gen Ed goals. 

Other Documents Related to General Education Reform

Suggestions for Addressing Gen Ed Goals and SLOs

Pathways Certificates


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