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General Education

Research shows that higher education faculty members spend the majority of their time teaching, so it is important to know whether students are learning what is taught. General Education assessment gathers and evaluates data which can be used to answer this question.

At RIC, a new General Education program was begun in the Fall 2012 semester, and will be implemented in stages over a number of years.

General Education Assessment Plan

A team attended the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Summer Institute on General Education and Assessment from June 2 to 6, 2012 at The Hotel at Turf Valley, Ellicott City, Maryland, to begin the process of developing a way to assess the new General Education Program.  Our team included key stake-holders in the General Education program assessment process, and also reflects campus diversity in regard to campus responsibilities, age, gender, race, and national origin.

  • Joseph L. Zornado (Administration). Team leader. Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Patricia B. M. Brennan (Faculty/Research Librarian). Member of the Committee on GE and who helped draft GE outcomes rubrics for the new program.
  • Shani D. Carter (Management).  The College’s Special Assistant to the VPAA for Student Outcomes Assessment and Chair of the Committee on the Assessment of Student Outcomes.
  • Praveena Gullapalli (Anthropology). Chair of the College’s Writing Board who facilitates the annual Faculty Development Workshop every January.
  • Dan Weisman (Social Work). Member of CASO and author and consultant on outcomes assessment.

GE Outcomes Assessment Pilot Project Results

On November 13, 2013, Faculty members who had created and piloted three rubrics presented their findings to the campus community at the Assessment Colloquium. Their presentations are available below.

General Education Learning Outcomes by Course Category
Learning Outcome

Course Category

Firstyear Seminar (FYS) Firstyear writing (FYW) Connections (C) Mathematics Natural Science Advanced Quantitative/Scientific Reasoning Social and Behavioral Sciences History Literature Arts -- Visual and Performing
Critical and Creative Thinking X X X X X X X X X X
Written Communication X X X X
Research Fluency X X X X
Oral Communication X X
Collaborative Work X X X
Civic Knowledge X X
Arts X
Ethical Reasoning X X X
Global Understanding X
Quantitative Literacy X X X
Scientific Literacy X X X

General Education Outcomes

  1. Written Communication
  2. Students will understand the different purposes of writing and employ the conventions of writing in their major fields. Students will produce writing that is well organized, supported by evidence, demonstrates correct usage of grammar and terminology, and is appropriate to the academic context.

  3. Critical and Creative Thinking
  4. Students will be able to analyze and interpret information from multiple perspectives, question assumptions and conclusions, and understand the impact of biases, including their own, on thinking and learning.

  5. Research Fluency
  6. Students will demonstrate the ability to access, understand, evaluate, and ethically use information to address a wide range of goals or problems.

  7. Oral Communication
  8. Students will learn to speak in a clearly expressed, purposeful, and carefully organized way that engages and connects with their audience.

  9. Collaborative Work
  10. Students will learn to interact appropriately as part of a team to design and implement a strategy to achieve a team goal and to evaluate the process.

  11. Arts
  12. Students will demonstrate through performance, creation, or analysis an ability to interpret and explain the arts from personal, aesthetic, cultural, and historical perspectives.

  13. Civic Knowledge
  14. Students will gain knowledge of social and political systems and of how civic engagement can change the environment in which we live.

  15. Ethical Reasoning
  16. Students will demonstrate an understanding of their own ethical values, other ethical traditions from diverse places and times, and the process of determining ethical practice.

  17. Global Understanding
  18. Students will analyze and understand the social, historical, political, religious, economic, and cultural conditions that shape individuals, groups, and nations and the relationships among them across time.

  19. Quantitative Literacy
  20. Students will demonstrate the ability to: (1) interpret and evaluate numerical and visual statistics; (2) develop models that can be solved by appropriate mathematical methods; and (3) create arguments supported by quantitative evidence and communicate them in writing and through numerical and visual displays of data including words, tables, graphs, and equations.

  21. Scientific Literacy
  22. Students will understand how scientific knowledge is uncovered through the empirical testing of hypotheses; be familiar with how data is analyzed, scientific models are made, theories are generated, and practical scientific problems are approached and solved; have the capacity to be informed about scientific matters as they pertain to living in this complex world; be able to communicate scientific knowledge through speaking and writing.

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Page last updated: March 19, 2014