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The Committee on General Education

The responsibility of the Committee on General Education is to assess the effectiveness of the General Education curriculum and to share the results of its assessment with the Faculty. These results will usefully inform the deliberations of the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Standards in its role of proposing policies to the Faculty regarding the curriculum.

This webpage documents the competencies and assessment plan of the General Education curriculum.  The Documents tab contains resources for instructors of courses included in the General Education curriculum, including assessment rubrics and instructions for uploading assignments to Moodle. This page also includes a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) blog about the General Education program and the assessment process. If you have questions or would like to see additional questions added to the FAQ page, please contact one of the members of the committee.

Assessment Plan

Competency Requirement Artifacts Year
Oral Communication First Year Studies Audio Sample 1
Written Communication Humanities Written paper 1
Social Context Society  An assignment or portion of an activity 1
Creative Exploration Life & Physical Sciences An assignment or portion of an activity 2
Critical Enquiry Fundamental Questions An assignment or portion of an activity 1


Centre College's commitments to liberal education in the arts and sciences aim to preserve the ideals of intellectual freedom and active exploration of the human condition, while also developing skills that are critical for global citizenship.  The general education curriculum develops students’ competence in the following areas: awareness of social context, written communication, oral communication, critical inquiry, and creative exploration. 


Written Communication

The general education curriculum develops studentsability to express ideas in writing in a rhetorically effectivemanner. Written communication involves learning to work in multiple genres, styles, and writing technologies.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Produce accurate formal writing that accounts for contexts, purposes, audiences, and media
  • Employ stance, genre, style, and organization appropriate to specific academic contexts
  • Utilize flexible strategies for generating, proofreading, and revising texts
  • Demonstrate basic information literacy skills


Creative Exploration

The general education curriculum engages students in a process of discovery that involves the use of calculatedrisks to identify and explore new or existing problems that may have unconventional solutions, the integration ofinformation and skills across disciplines to address these problems, and the clear expression of the results ofinquiry in a variety of formats.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify problems and develop strategies for addressing them
  • Advance opinions and offer arguments informed by previous knowledge and experience
  • Communicate ideas in an appropriate medium, including non-verbal and material realms
  • Demonstrate a willingness to take intellectual risks and try new approaches in the face of ambiguity,challenge, or the potential for failure


Social Context

The general education curriculum expands studentsawareness of the social and personal contexts that informlearning. An emphasis on social context enables students a) to understand the connection between coursematerial and the natural, physical, historical, cultural, economic, political, and ethical dimensions in which thatknowledge and capacities were created, and b) to critically analyze and address complex social issues.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate understanding of social, historical, and cultural influences
  • Articulate how a specific discipline approaches a particular issue or artifact, and how that approach maydiffer from other disciplines
  • Apply specific methods to examine the various dimensions of a particular field of study, cultural artifact, orsocial reality
  • Formulate possible responses to pressing social problems


Oral Communication

The general education curriculum develops studentsability to express ideas in the form of a prepared, purposefuloral presentation or performance. Oral communication takes many different formsincluding expository andpersuasive speech, storytelling, and dramatic performanceand is designed to increase knowledge, fosterunderstanding, or promote change in an audiences attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, or emotional experience.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Present a clear central message
  • Utilize effective organization and supporting evidence
  • Demonstrate an awareness of audience and context
  • Employ language and delivery techniques appropriate to the situation and purpose


Critical Inquiry

The general education curriculum instills a habit of mind characterized by the transdisciplinary exploration ofissues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify what is known and what is not known about a given problem
  • Evaluate evidence, recognizing the responsibility to ask critical questions of the source material
  • Examine alternative formulations or contradictory evidence
  • Demonstrate critical reading skills
  • Apply knowledge from one discipline to areas of study or experience outside that field
What will the committee assess? What do I have to do?

The committee will assess various papers, audio files, lab reports, etc ("artifacts") submitted as a regular part of courses in the General Education curriculum. Faculty that teach a course in the curriculum will need to designate one existing assignment or create a new one that can be used to assess a specific competency of the General Education curriculum. These competencies are listed on this website, along with a schedule of which courses will be used to assess each competency. Once an assignment is chosen, faculty will need to create a placeholder for that assignment in Moodle where students can upload their work.

Should faculty shape their assignment prompts to explicitly engage with particular competencies of the General Education curriculum? What if I need help?

Not necessarily.  Ideally, assignment prompts should explicitly engage the learning outcomes of the assigned competency; however, we realize that it may not be possible to include all criteria within a single assignment or question, or that an assignment may engage these outcomes without doing so in ways that explicitly match the rubric.  Faculty should do what is best for their class.  We encourage faculty to modify existing assignments when possible, and to share any potential assignments or questions they have with members of the Committee. The learning outcome for each competency are listed on this website, as are the rubics that will be used to assess them.


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