A note to faculty
On April 24, 2019 the Faculty Senate General Studies committee and the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee approved changes recommended by the General Studies Renovation Task Force. The following is a summary of those changes. For anyone interested, here is the full document of recommendations: General Studies Renovation to Senate 4_17_19 or Handout to Senate 4_24_19.
The existing General Studies categories are the same except for Social and Behavioral Sciences 1 & 2 combined into Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students will take 6 total credits in the new category instead of 3 credits of each. This change first appeared in the 2020-21 catalog.
The General Studies categories are
- Written Communication (6 credits)
- Oral Communication (3 credits)
- Quantitative Literacy (3 credits)
- Natural and Physical Science (6 credits)
- Social and Behavioral Science (catalog 2020-21 and later) (6 credits)
- Arts and Humanities (6 credits)
- Historical (3 credits)
- Global Diversity (3 credits-- this is a double-dip class that will also carry another category attribute)
The total credits for General Studies will stay the same.
Multicultural remains a graduation requirement, but we've included it in our marketing materials for clarity for students since many Multicultural courses are also General Studies courses.
Why the Renovation?
Several faculty expressed that they'd like to update the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) before assessing General Studies again in order to make assessment more meaningful. This sentiment worked its way into a few reports from a Faculty Senate General Studies sub-committee as well as the University Provost's Assessment Committee. Through forums and discussions in fall 2018 and spring 2019, faculty told the General Studies Renovation Task Force what they wanted to see prioritized in each General Studies category. Faculty told us what would be useful to learn about their students' learning. In the process, we've reframed the General Studies program to be accessible to students, staff, and faculty. We've simplified the program, and we hope you will find that the new outcomes add meaning to your courses. Some of our SLOs feel aspirational, something to work on together to achieve at the General Studies level. If you find an SLO that you aren't currently working on in your General Studies course, we hope you'll agree that it is important and see it as an opportunity to try something new. We're in this together and we look forward to offering opportunities for collaborating to find creative ways to achieve the outcomes that are built for student success.
Vision for Faculty Teaching General Studies Courses
The faculty have intricately designed General Studies courses to fulfill both university level and General Studies level goals for all MSU Denver students. Each course has passed a rigorous curriculum approval process, undergoes regular measurement of effective student learning to be included in the General Studies program, and is aligned with the mission of the General Studies Program. Faculty are experts in their fields of study and have been trained specially to teach the students with diverse academic backgrounds taking General Studies courses. Faculty use learner-centered, active learning teaching methods in the General Studies courses that encourage student collaboration.
General Studies courses connect work in the discipline to contemporary societal issues. Faculty use the content of their discipline to demonstrate the critical and creative thinking and reasoning used to solve relevant problems. Faculty are challenged to efficiently address the answer to the questions, “If this were the last course a student would take in my field, what would I want them to understand about how we have arrived at how we know what we know?” and, “What skills are most relevant to my students’ future success?”