The overarching educational purpose of the General Education program is to provide students with opportunities to acquire and reinforce key intellectual competencies in:
- Writing effectively;
- Thinking critically;
- Reasoning and analyzing quantitatively;
- Understanding and using the scientific method; and
- Understanding and appreciating cultural differences.
These competencies involve a complex set of skills that prepare students for the specialized study in the major and the still more specialized study required at the graduate level. They are also the backbone of life-long learning. What is more, as both educators and business leaders alike are emphatic in pointing out, these competencies are also essential preparation for success in an increasingly networked world that relies on the ability to communicate expertly combined with highly developed skills in analyzing complex problems, scrutinizing their implications, and arriving at smart solutions.
The UNF Competency and Outcomes Curriculum
In Fall 2014, UNF implemented its new General Education curriculum, which focuses on four fundamental intellectual competencies:
- Writing Effectively: This competency includes but is not limited to communicating effectively in writing across multiple formats; analyzing the different compositional features and requirements of different kinds (genres) of writing; explain grammatical, stylistic, rhetorical, and other terms and concepts that are basic to communicating effectively in writing; and explaining one’s own communicative decisions and practices.
- Thinking Critically: This competency includes but is not limited to understanding basic social and behavioral science concepts; examining behavioral, social, and cultural issues from various points of view; analyzing, evaluating, and appreciating cultural artifacts (such as texts, music, artworks, media productions, architecture); investigating the role of technology in shaping culture; examining different cultural traditions, institutions, and political and economic systems; understanding and applying different qualitative methods of inquiry and different kinds of argumentation and evidence; and reflecting critically upon the human condition and experience.
- Analyzing and Reasoning Quantitatively and/or Using the Scientific Method: This competency includes but is not limited to determining appropriate mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving; understanding mathematical, statistical, and computational concepts; applying mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving; critically examining and evaluating scientific observation, hypothesis, and model construction; understanding fundamental concepts, principles, and processes about the natural world; and using scientific method to explain the natural world.
- Cross-Cultural Awareness, Experiential Learning, or Integrative Learning: Students have four options for satisfying this area.
- Cultural Diversity and Cross-Cultural Awareness Competency. This category of competencies requires that students develop, strengthen, extend, and demonstrate the ability to identify, explain, and analyze the implications of cross-cultural issues, ideologies, and the contributions that people of diverse backgrounds bring to a multicultural world.
- Experiential Learning Competency. This category of competencies requires that students reflect critically on the transformative effects of a CBL, internship, study abroad, or other such experience-that is, how the experience led them to change their beliefs, attitudes, or behavior in some significant way; challenged their previous assumptions; came to appreciate the value and limits of theory in relation to the constraints on decisions and actions (practice).
- Integrative Learning/Reflective Judgment. This category of competencies requires that students develop, strengthen, extend, and demonstrate their ability to think critically and to communicate that thinking effectively in the appropriate communicative medium or media.
- Additional Hours in Communication, Critical Thinking, or Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and the Scientific Method.
Assessment of Student Learning
The General Education program seeks to give students direct feedback about the extent to which they have developed the ability to write well, think critically, analyze and reason quantitatively, use the scientific method, and apply their knowledge in real world situations. To this end, faculty in the General Education Program aim to provide students with opportunities to learn how to reflect critically on their own work. They also assess student performance on key learning outcomes to learn where students succeed and struggle, and why. This allows us to continually improve our General Education curriculum.
Current General Education Program Requirements
Previous General Education Program Requirements: 2015-16 and Earlier