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General Studies Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

These are the 2019 updated SLOs that should be used now.


The General Studies program provides the foundation for the Bachelor’s degree. Students develop thinking, reasoning, and communication skills while discovering new ideas and expanding their views.  The coursework is designed to create the opportunity for learning across different disciplines and builds experiences for students as they grow into lifelong learners.

Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Courses in Social and Behavioral Science study the behavior and actions of individuals, groups, and/or institutions using scientific methods and approaches. Social and Behavioral Science also develops a student’s ability to examine and influence those behaviors and actions between and among larger social, economic, political, and/or geographic contexts. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe fundamental concepts in the social and behavioral sciences.
  2. Examine how individuals, groups, communities, and social institutions relate or interact with each other and/or the natural world using theories and methods in the social and behavioral sciences. 
  3. Engage with social and behavioral science tools, approaches, and skills to explore complex human, social, political, cultural, and/or global interactions and issues.

Arts and Humanities

Description:  In Arts and Humanities courses students interpret, analyze, and create texts and other artistic works to deepen their understanding of the various contexts that shape the human experience and explore fundamental questions of identity, value, diversity, and meaning.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe how the context (historical, racial, ethnic, material, technological, religious, intellectual, cultural, gender, etc.) influences the creation, content, or interpretation of a text, performance, work of art, etc.
  2. Critically engage with a text, performance, work of art, etc. by applying social/political, epistemic, aesthetic, pragmatic, moral/ethical, or other discipline-appropriate standards.
  3. Implement course content or skills through the creation of an original project (essay, argument, narrative, reflection, oral presentation, performance, work of art, etc.).

Natural and Physical Science

Description:  The Natural and Physical Sciences involve discovering knowledge in natural or physical sciences, applying scientific thinking and reasoning, and critically thinking about the use of scientific information.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explain the foundational knowledge of a particular field of natural or physical science
  2. Apply principles and techniques of scientific thinking.
  3. Evaluate the credibility of scientific information and interpret the impact of its use or misuse in society.


Description:  Historical thinking contextualizes the present by using a wide range of sources and methods to understand how people experienced the past.

Student Learning Outcomes (these are unchanged from the old, just renumbered): 

  1. Demonstrate the ability to locate sources when information is needed, and to evaluate the authenticity, validity, and reliability of resources applied to a specific purpose.
  2. Communicate in writing with an awareness of audience, by using language conventions appropriate to the occasion and task.
  3. Demonstrate historical knowledge of the United States, the world, or one of the major regions of the world.
  4. Demonstrate, using historical sources, how context and contingency influence change over time.
  5. Develop an effective historical interpretation and marshal primary and/or secondary source evidence to support it.

Quantitative Literacy

Description:  Competency in quantitative literacy represents a student’s ability to use quantifiable information and mathematical analysis to make connections and draw conclusions. The main focus of each Quantitative Literacy course is the use of mathematical techniques and analysis, with problems from a broad spectrum of real-life and abstract settings requiring translation to and from mathematical forms.

Student Learning Outcomes:  These are the same as before with one removed.

  1. Apply mathematical techniques to the analysis of quantitative problems.
  2. Communicate the mathematical process and results in text, graphics, and symbols.

Oral Communication

Description:  Students learn to perform effective and ethical oral communication that is appropriate to diverse audiences, settings, media, and goals. 

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  1. Develop a clear, purposeful message with coherent and effective content.
  2. Incorporate various and credible supporting material (e.g. examples, statistics, analogies, illustrations, and quotations).
  3. Practice effective listening strategies that enhance understanding, evaluation and engagement.
  4. Adapt to varied audiences, their beliefs, values, and attitudes, as well as to features of contexts, situations, and interactions.
  5. Perform skillful non-verbal communication (e.g. vocal variety, pace and physical behavior) appropriate to audience and context.
  6. Perform skillful verbal communication (e.g. clear, vivid, and/or compelling language) appropriate to audience and context.

Written Communication

Description:  Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing across many genres and styles. It includes understanding how writers may shape texts for their specific rhetorical situation.  It includes multimodal composing and the creation of texts that combine words, images, and/or data. Written communication abilities develop through interactive and iterative experiences across the curriculum.

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  1. Exhibit a thorough understanding of audience, purpose, genre, and context that is responsive to the situation.
  2. Create and develop ideas within the context of the situation and the assigned task(s).
  3. Apply formal and informal conventions of writing, including organization, content, presentation, formatting, and stylistic choices, in particular forms and/or fields.
  4. Critically read, evaluate, apply, and synthesize evidence and/or sources in support of a claim.
  5. Use an appropriate documentation system.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency with conventions, including spellings, grammar, mechanics, and word choice appropriate to the writing task.

Global Diversity

Description:  Global Diversity refers to a student’s ability to critically analyze and engage complex, interconnected global systems (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, or political) and their implications for individuals, groups, communities, or cultures.  These courses will introduce students to various concepts toward valuing diversity and the importance of inclusivity.  Students should seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities.  Courses in this category must contain a majority of material from one or more regions or countries outside the U.S. 

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  1. Describe the implications of global interconnections, including their impact on culture, societies, the environment, or the individual.
  2. Analyze connections between worldviews, experiences, and power structures of differing cultures in historical or contemporary contexts.

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