The UNF General Education Program
An Innovative, Cutting Edge Program in 21st-Century Educational Skills
Around the world, general education programs are shifting from courses that introduce students to specific disciplines to courses that emphasize fundamental intellectual competencies. The UNF General Education program provides students with opportunities to acquire and reinforce key intellectual competencies that are the foundations of the 21st-century skills necessary for success beyond college: writing effectively, thinking critically and analyzing and reasoning quantitatively and understanding how to use the scientific method.
These 21st-Century Skills are essential for success in the pursuit of the more advanced learning offered in the major and the still more specialized study at the graduate level. On virtually every survey of what employers seek in job applicants, the top-listed abilities include writing and communicating well; obtaining, analyzing, critically evaluating, and processing information; analyzing quantitative data; and solving problems. (See, for example, what the American Psychological Association has to say.)
These 21st-century competencies equip students 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.
UNF's General Education 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 (Community Based Learning), 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.
General Education Program Requirements
The General Education Program at UNF requires 36 credit hours: 9 in Communication; 12 in Critical Thinking about the Social Sciences and Humanities; 12 in Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and the Scientific Method (including a 1 credit hour lab component); and 3 credit hours in Cross-Cultural Awareness, Experiential Learning, or Integrative Learning. This curriculum includes the 15 hours required by the State of Florida, as well as providing multiple opportunities to develop and refine the competencies central to the curriculum.
Current Program Requirements
Information for Faculty
General Education Council and Faculty Resources