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Guidelines for General Education Course Proposals

as adopted by the University-wide General Education Committee

General Instructions


Each segment of Tier One includes two courses, and each segment of Tier Two includes one course. Both Tier One and Tier Two courses should be rigorous treatments of fundamental knowledge and methods of inquiry within the segment. They should be designed to foster independent, creative, and interactive learning, inspiring students to think about themselves, others, and social organizations in new and insightful ways. They should instill in students a love of learning, excite them about the university experience, and leave them with valuable skills and knowledge applicable to their lives.

Each course should be self-contained (even if part of a two-semester sequence). Where appropriate, proposals should also address the possibility of integrating new technologies into the course structure.

Writing or other forms of composition, must be integral parts of every Tier One and Tier Two course and should include multiple formats. (Exams, in-class, group work, ungraded exercises, journal-writing, laboratory reports and term papers are some possibilities; see Guideline Requirements for the Writing Component of General Education Courses.)

Both Tier One and Tier Two courses should be constructed so that a number of faculty members can teach them.

The accommodation of honors students is an important aspect of both Tier One and Tier Two. Academic work that carries honors credit is qualitatively different from work assigned to non-Honors students. An honors component is meant to be an enriched experience, not just an increase in the number of assignments. Honors assignments that involve substantially more work should substitute for other assignments. The following are some formats in which Honors experiences can be incorporated into General Education courses:

  • create an independent Honors section
  • in large lecture courses, offer an Honors discussion section
  • reserve a lab section for Honors students
  • create an Honors experience through a contract negotiated with individual Honors students

Note that the format preferred by Honors students and The Honors College is small, independent Honors sections where students can actively engage the material and interact intensely with the professor(s) and other students. The Honors College recommends a size of 20 to facilitate discussion and interaction. (See Guidelines for the Accommodation of Honors Students.)