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Collaboration is the process of working together and sharing the workload equitably to progress toward shared objectives, learned through structured activities that occur over a significant period of time. People with a general education work collaboratively with others on both small and large projects. Effective collaborators are interdependent, interactive, accountable, and reflective. That is, they work interdependently within a group, interact productively with group members, demonstrate accountability for their own contributions to the work of the group, and reflect on the success of the group, including their own contributions and the contributions of others. As proposed here, collaboration is not simply putting students into groups or conducting group discussion within a single class period. The collaboration goal calls for structured learning activities that involve students actively, occur over a significant part of the semester, and provide for feedback from peers and instructors.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Critical and creative thinking uses systematic reasoning to examine and evaluate ideas, leading to new ways of thinking or doing. People with a general education think logically and creatively. Expressiveness, imagination, and originality are needed for innovation. Innovative ideas must be subject to critical evaluation, which involves distinguishing information, judgment, and assumption; evaluating evidence and the logic of arguments; identifying and assessing differing perspectives and assumptions; and reasoning systematically in support of arguments.
Ethical reasoning is a decision-making process based on defining systems of value. People with a general education recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings and contexts, identify different systems of ethical reasoning (including disciplinary and professional ethical systems), and assess the consequences of those choices in different contexts. This enables them to understand and evaluate different systems of ethical reasoning.
Information literacy is the process of locating, evaluating, and using multiple forms of information. People with a general education work with many forms of information: text, data, images, and multimedia. Becoming information literate is a multistep, iterative process that includes articulating the need for information, finding information efficiently, thinking critically about resources, managing the abundance of information available, using information ethically, synthesizing and incorporating information into one’s knowledge base, and creatively expressing and effectively communicating new knowledge.
Integration is the process of synthesizing and applying existing knowledge, past experiences, and other perspectives to new, complex situations. People with a general education correlate and synthesize facts, basic concepts, and disparate knowledge for application within and beyond the campus to make sense of a variety of data and experiences, to address issues in a more effective way than can be accomplished from only one field of study or perspective, and to reflect on their own learning.
Oral communication is the practice of effectively communicating verbally with a public audience across a variety of contexts. People with a general education are able to synthesize their knowledge of a subject with their speaking and listening skills to effectively craft a verbal presentation appropriate for a specific situation, purpose, and audience. They understand that effective verbal communication involves a dialogue between speaker and audience and use this knowledge for decision-making about the organization, development, and presentation of appropriate material. They understand that oral communication skills are essential for a knowledgeable speaker to inform, persuade, and inspire audience
Problem solving is the process of designing and evaluating strategies to answer open-ended questions or achieve desired goals. People with a general education define and solve problems by seeking and identifying relevant contextual information, formulating strategies, and proposing and evaluating potential solutions.
Quantitative literacy is a competency and comfort in working with numbers. People with a general education apply mathematical and statistical methods to solving problems in everyday life. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, and mathematical equations as appropriate).
Written communication is the practice of creating and refining messages that educated readers will value. People with a general education use thoughtful writing processes to develop effective written materials for a variety of audiences and purposes, entering larger discussions by using formats and conventions that are important to their readers.