General Education Resources FOR FACULTY
General Education (GE) is the central element of the larger liberal education curriculum shared by all college students in public institutions nationally. For community colleges, that general education curriculum is at the core of our instruction as we prepare students for the GE curriculum, provide that GE curriculum to students, and further prepare them for transfer to degree programs at 4-year institutions that build upon and expand that curriculum.
In Arizona, our GE curriculum is established by State guidelines, but our interpretation and implementation of those guidelines is determined by our faculty. In other words, the GE philosophy, GE focus areas and learning outcomes, and GE curriculum mapping have all been developed and approved by AWC faculty, primarily through the work of the General Education Curriculum Committee, its sub-committees, and in concert with the Office of Curriculum and Articulation.
The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education, now celebrating its centennial year. This consortium is dedicated to the ongoing development of initiatives that support liberal education as a whole, general education specifically, and the meaningful learning outcomes, curriculum, and assessment that accompany both.
To better understand the role of the general education curriculum within the framework of liberal education, particularly as it has shifted to address 21st century students, the AAC&U has developed a webpage that explores What is a 21st Century Liberal Education?
As part of AAC&U’s ongoing commitment to undergraduate education, the AAC&U developed the LEAP Initiative, which outlines essential learning outcomes for students and explicitly aligns with AWC’s GE curriculum. Further, the LEAP Initiative, seeking to improve assessment in a meaningful way, developed rubrics to accompany all of the essential learning outcomes.
All of these AAC&U resources represent the preeminent scholarship and best practices surrounding undergraduate education and are free to faculty.
Additionally, in 2008 a group of AAC&U representatives formed the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment and, in an effort to shift the national conversation on learning outcomes from traditional course credit hours to depth of learning, created the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). The DQP is a learning-centered framework that identifies what college students should know and be able to do to earn the associates, bachelor’s and master’s levels of higher education.
Funded by the Lumina Foundation, the largest private foundation in the nation focused exclusively on increasing Americans’ success in higher education, the DQP has been beta-tested at over 400 colleges and universities nationwide and adapted to the missions of those post-secondary institutions to create explicit and intentional language, outcomes, and assessment that are driven by faculty.
In Spring 2015, AWC was invited as one of twenty-five institutions nationally to take part in a NILOA assignment and assessment “tuning” as part of the DQP Civic Discourse outcome. AWC’s work at this level supports a national Assignment Library of collegiate-level course assignments in a wide variety of academic disciplines that link to one or more proficiencies in the DQP and positions AWC at the forefront of the national conversation on general education curriculum.