General Education Focus Areas

General Education (GE) Focus Area Wheel Graphic


Digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically evaluate, navigate and create information using a range of digital technologies while adhering to the rules and laws governing said information and technologies. Digital literacy is a supplement to, not a replacement of, traditional forms of literacy, building upon the foundation of traditional forms of literacy.

A digitally literate person comprehends and can use technology strategically to find and evaluate information, connect and collaborate with others, produce and share original content, and use the Internet and technology tools to achieve academic, professional, and personal goals.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Comprehend the basic components of a networked computer system
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
  • Create content in a digital environment


Effective communication is the ability to read critically, articulate questions clearly, identify and evaluate appropriate research, construct and support cogent arguments, and engage in intellectual and artistic expression.

Effective communicators develop proficiency in the skills of writing, reading, speaking, and utilizing electronic media, which provides an intellectual foundation for future academic, professional, and personal lives.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Write effectively and intelligently for a range of purposes and audiences in the English language (e.g., informing, persuading, advancing an argument, expressing, creating, etc.)
  • Read a wide range of texts across the curriculum, demonstrating comprehension through written and oral summary and analysis
  • Utilize proper citations, evaluate critically, and use effectively relevant information for problem-solving and presentation of ideas, issues, and arguments
  • Speak effectively to a purpose before an audience
  • Demonstrate effective listening skills
  • Demonstrate skill in using electronic media generally appropriate to contemporary academic and professional workplaces
  • Produce scholarly or creative works that effectively employ the communication conventions and means of the major field
  • Provide writing that presents a clear, specific thesis and awareness of audience
  • Fully develops examples to support thesis in logical, coherent manner demonstrates original thinking, depth of analysis, and comprehension of material used and that shows high proficiency in standard English grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Communication - Writing Intensive

1 course beyond the ENG 101 or 107/102 or 108 Composition Sequence

Intensive writing involves the development of communicative competence in written discourse, Intensive writing provides students a unique opportunity to learn disciplinary content while mastering writing skills. Writing Intensive (WI) courses at Arizona Western College integrate writing assignments in ways that help students learn both the subject matter of the courses and discipline-specific ways of thinking and writing. Writing Intensive courses help develop students’ identities as good writers by linking their writing proficiency with their desire to know more about the field of study, to engage in questions in the discipline, and to become a participant in academic discourse.

The prerequisite for courses meeting the Writing Intensive/Critical Inquiry component is ENG 101 or 107 completion with a C or better. Writing Intensive courses are identified by a WI following the course title. WI courses are capped at a maximum of 20 students.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate proficiency in written discourse through the composition of at least 3000 words, or about 12 pages, of writing embedded into the requirements of the GE course through multiple written assignments
  • Writing demonstrates critical inquiry which includes the gathering, interpretation, and evaluation of evidence
  • Engage in a recursive writing process, developing flexible strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading, using instructor and peer feedback on written discourse to guide improvement through revision. At least 33% of the student’s grade in the course is based on revised written discourse
  • Develop written discourse in the form appropriate to discipline, which includes overall organization, analysis, grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and style
  • Develop strategies for composing in class and out of class compositions
  • Demonstrate through written discourse a sequence of increasing complexity/skill in knowledge of content as well as discipline specific discourse form


Quantitative Analysis is the ability to use mathematical concepts and operations in order to solve real-world problems. A quantitatively literate individual should be able to perform arithmetic, algebraic and logical operations that involve abstract problems, and demonstrate problem solving skills in a variety of contexts.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and extract relevant data from given mathematical or contextual situations
  • Select known models or develop appropriate models that organize the data into: tables or spreadsheets (with or without technology)
    • graphical representations (with or without technology)
    • symbolic/equation format
  • Obtain correct mathematical results and state those results with appropriate qualifiers and use the results to:
    • determine whether they are realistic in terms of original data/problem
    • determine whether the mathematical model/representation of data is appropriate
    • describe trends in a table, graph, or formula and make predications based on these trends
    • draw qualitative conclusions in written form
    • apply them to real world problems


Scientific Literacy is the ability to describe, explain, predict, and evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Distinguish between a scientific hypothesis and scientific theory
  • Describe the scientific method as a process
  • Utilize data to communicate and apply an understanding of scientific logic and/or quantitative reasoning
  • Analyze an article in popular literature that pertains to science and interpret the findings in terms of public policy, personal experience, or daily life


Civic Discourse fosters the ability to describe and analyze how historical, cultural, and political issues shape our contemporary perspectives and engage us as individuals and as citizens of a global community. Civic discourse includes both the principles of citizenship and issues of mannerly discourse.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe historical, cultural, and political issues relevant in contemporary local, national, and global communities
  • Analyze how such issues affect various local, national, and global regions, communities, and individuals
  • Identify and explicate successful models of civic discourse at the local, national, and global levels
  • Develop strategies beyond the classroom to address local, national, and global issues

Civic Discourse - Awareness Areas

Global Awareness

While the modern world is comprised of many geographically and politically independent states and countries, the complexity of our society compels us to acknowledge a significant interdependence among peoples of the world. There is an ever increasing need to balance regional and national goals with global concerns. Indeed our future survival may depend on our ability to generate global solutions to problems. Learning that recognizes the nature of other peoples and the relationship of our cultural system to generic human goals and welfare will help create persons who are able to effectively interact in the global community. Forms of global awareness may be embedded in courses in arts and humanities, social and behavioral science, physical and biological sciences, or additional courses areas of the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC).

  • Include contemporary subject matter.
  • Include one or more of the following:
  1. Study that is concerned with an examination of culture-specific elements of a region, country or culture group.
    1. The area studied must be non-U.S.
    2. The study contributes to understanding contemporary society.
  2. Cross-cultural study with an emphasis on one or more foreign areas, including courses on such subjects as comparative religions, politics and international relationships.
  3. Study of non-U.S. centered cultural interrelationships of global scope, such as the global interdependence produced by problems of world ecology, multinational corporations, migration, and the threat of nuclear war.
  4. Study of a scientific discipline that includes ecological and environmental interrelationships.

Cultural Awareness

At Arizona Western College, general education courses emphasizing cultural (ethnic, race, and gender) awareness ask students to reassess the relationships between their identities and those of the members of groups outside their own. These courses present sensitive, balanced insights into issues arising from ethnic, race, and gender differences, with the aims of demonstrating the value of cultural pluralism and preparing students to work to resolve existing conflicts. Forms of ethnic/race/gender awareness may be embedded in courses in arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, or additional courses areas of the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC).

  • Offer views of humanity from a multitude of perspectives.
  • Engender an awareness of the universal aspects of humanity.
  • Explore causes of prejudice and discrimination.
  • Analyze traditional and evolving views of women, race, and ethnicity.
  • Foster a cooperative atmosphere in which inclusive cultural relations may be improved.
  • Include study of the social, economic, political, and/or psychological dimension of relations between and among ethnic, racial, and gender groups.

Historical Awareness

Historical consciousness is essential for students to understand present as well as future events. Historical forces and traditions have created modern life, and historical perspective is a valuable resource in analyzing contemporary problems. While knowledge of the past is an important source for identifying and understanding our own cultural value system, historical study can also encourage intercultural appreciation by tracing cultural differences to their origins. Opportunities for nurturing historical awareness may be embedded in courses in arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, or additional courses areas of the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC).

  • Have history as a major focus.
  • Examine past human events in a sequential manner.
  • Use broad historical views, showing the interconnectedness of events/ideas/creations/themes/theories.
  • Analyze sources of information that interpret human developments, ideas and institutions in the sequence or sequences of past events (example: a course that covers not only what happened in the past, but examines the historical influences that explain why this past occurred as it did or why present human developments have occurred).