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2022-2023 University Catalog
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General Education Program

Educational Purpose

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; and
  • Understanding and using the scientific method.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in experiential and integrative learning as part of their General Education coursework, including Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLOs), Community-Based Learning, Study Abroad experiences, or internships.

These competencies involve a complex set of skills that prepare students for specialized study in the major and the still more specialized study required at the graduate level. They are also the backbone of lifelong learning. What is more, as both educators and business leaders alike emphasize, these competencies are essential preparation for success in a 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.

Competencies Developed through the UNF General Education Curriculum

General Education courses provide opportunities for students to develop the competencies central to our curriculum. Students take many paths through the UNF General Education Program, depending on their interests and academic goals. Regardless of the specific paths students take, they all have multiple opportunities to develop the skills central to the curriculum. These skills are broadly transferrable, and both faculty and students in the General Education Program are encouraged to consider how General Education competencies can be used in diverse academic, professional, and civic contexts.

  • Writing Effectively: Students completing the UNF General Education Program will be able to produce writing that clearly addresses audiences and purposes; identify and use relevant and reliable source materials; and compose documents that adhere to generally accepted standards of English usage and stylistic standards of discipline-specific writing tasks.
  • Thinking Critically: While Critical thinking is integral to all UNF General Education courses, we give these skills particular emphasis in courses in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Diversity and Difference.
    • Through Humanities and Social Sciences courses, students learn to explain and apply discipline-specific concepts; examine behavioral, social, and cultural issues from various points of view; analyze, evaluate, and appreciate cultural artifacts (such as texts, music, artworks, media productions, architecture); investigate the role of technology in shaping culture; examine different cultural traditions, institutions, and political and economic systems; use different qualitative methods of inquiry, and different kinds of argumentation and evidence; and reflect critically upon the human condition and experience.
    • Through courses in Diversity and Difference, students learn to critically reflect on their own social positions or cultural backgrounds; investigate systems that produce social inequality or cultural difference; articulate the perspectives of others; and apply knowledge of diversity and difference to issues outside the classroom.
  • Analyzing and Reasoning Quantitatively and/or Using the Scientific Method: Students will be able to determine appropriate mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving; understand mathematical, statistical, and computational concepts; apply mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving; critically examine and evaluate scientific observation, hypothesis, and model construction; understand fundamental concepts, principles, and processes about the natural world; and use the scientific method to explain the natural world.
  • Students who pursue an experiential or integrative learning opportunity will reflect critically on the transformative effects of a Community-Based Learning, Study Abroad, internship, or other such experience, considering how the experience led them to change their beliefs, attitudes, understanding, or behavior in some significant way. They should demonstrate enhanced critical thinking skills as they consider and communicate how different types of knowledge relate to one another.

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: 2019-2020 and Earlier