UW Whitewater General Education Philosophy
The UW-Whitewater General Education curriculum helps all students build a foundation for success in college, work, and life. The curriculum is designed to engage students with a common core of knowledge from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to hone critical thinking, communication, life-long learning and inquiry, knowledge application, and problem solving skills. To this end, the General Education CORE, proficiency courses, and electives serve as the foundational learning experience for students throughout their college career. The General Education program provides the breadth of knowledge and skills which prepares students to actively respond to changing work environments, continue to learn and grow, and interact cooperatively in diverse contexts.
The goals of the general education program are to help students develop the skills and knowledge that are needed for success in our rapidly changing, increasingly diverse and interconnected world, including:
For more information on the new General Education Learning Outcomes, which took effect in Spring 2016, please click here.
Students will demonstrate breadth and integration of knowledge through:
a. Exploration of enduring issues, questions, and problems of human experience across the core areas of knowledge, including engagement with:
I. Fine and performing arts
II. Natural sciences and mathematics
III. Cultural, social, and humanistic studies
IV. Global Issues and challenges, both historical and contemporary
b. Ability to contextualize knowledge through various disciplinary approaches
c. Capacity to apply learning and think in interdisciplinary and integrative ways about the complexity and interconnectedness of the world
Rationale: A broad knowledge of human cultures and of the natural world provides students with a solid foundation to be successful in their major and as informed members of society. In all fields of study, the exposure to multiple perspectives, historical context, and contemporary debates helps prepare students to engage with the “big questions” that face our world today.
Students will demonstrate their critical and creative thinking by the ability to:
Rationale: Thinking critically and creatively means the ability to analyze and evaluate complex information and to come up with new ideas and solutions to pressing problems. In an information-rich world, students need to be able to make informed decisions and develop arguments, based on relevant evidence from a variety of different sources and perspectives. Critical and creative thinking helps students develop their own perspectives in both their personal and professional lives.
Students will demonstrate their communication skills by the ability to:
Rationale: Strong communication skills, both speaking and writing to a variety of audiences and across a range of media and contexts, contribute to success in and out of the classroom. In addition, critical reading and listening skills are also key components in developing effective communication skills.
Students will demonstrate their information literacy by the ability to:
Rationale: Information literacy refers to the ability to determine what information is necessary for a particular purpose, and to the skills needed to gather, evaluate, understand, and use that information ethically and effectively. Information may take a variety of forms and media, including textual, visual, and quantitative. In an environment of proliferating and diverse information, information literacy skills help students make informed choices in their personal, professional, and academic lives.
Students will demonstrate their quantitative reasoning by the ability to:
Rationale: Quantitative reasoning refers to the use of numbers and measurable data to understand and interpret the world. But quantitative reasoning encompasses much more than simply mathematics and calculation skills. It reflects a habit of mind and a range of capacities that can explain, interpret, evaluate, and communicate quantitative information. Students need to be able to use quantitative reasoning skills to solve problems from a variety of domains and in everyday life.
Students will demonstrate their personal and civic responsibility through:
I. Recognize and examine their own values, perspectives and biases
II. Understand their own roles and responsibilities as members of multiple diverse communities
III. Understand the impact of their own actions on the community, the environment, and the world
b. Understanding of others
I. Understand the cultures and diversity of the United States and other countries, both historical and contemporary
II. Recognize the existence and impact of discrepancies in power, privilege and access between individuals, groups and societies
III.Articulate and respect the multiple perspectives that arise from differing experiences
c. Responsible action
I. Interact effectively and conscientiously with diverse people in diverse contexts including in campus, professional, and community settings
II. Make informed ethical decisions that respect the social and environmental contexts
Rationale: Personal and civic responsibility refers to skills and knowledge that help students take their place in a multi-cultural and always-changing world. In order to become informed, engaged, reflective, and responsible citizens, students need to engage with a range of ethical questions, from social issues to environmental concerns.
Students will demonstrate foundations for life-long learning by the ability to:
Rationale: Learning is a never-ending process that requires curiosity and openness to learning. By cultivating a set of skills and dispositions associated with life-long learning, students will be able to adapt, monitor and direct their own growth and well-being throughout college and beyond.