Oregon State University

Baccalaureate Core Learning Outcomes, Criteria and Rationale

Writing I

  • Student Learning Outcomes (must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Writing I courses shall:
    1. Be able to use multiple writing strategies in order to explore, clarify, and effectively communicate ideas to appropriate audiences.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of language, form, and style.
    3. Incorporate critical thinking at all steps in their writing process.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Writing I courses shall:

    1. Be lower division and at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on the writing process, invention strategies, drafting and revision techniques, and the forms and conventions of writing;
    4. Emphasize the ability to analyze content and reader response;
    5. Require significant student practice coupled with evaluation;
    6. Encourage appreciation and understanding of language, form and style; and
    7. Develop increasingly sophisticated and efficient writing strategies.
  • Rationale

    Effective writing is essential both in education and professional pursuits. Furthermore, writing provides considerable pleasure throughout life as a means of exploring and clarifying ideas and communicating with others. Writing is challenging as well as rewarding. Effective writing in a variety of situations requires well planned instruction and continued practice.

Writing II

  • Student Learning Outcomes (must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Writing II courses shall:
    1. Apply multiple theories, concepts, and techniques for creating and evaluating written communication.
    2. Write effectively for diverse audiences within a specific area or discipline using appropriate standards and conventions.
    3. Apply critical thinking to writing and writing process, including revision.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Writing II courses shall:

    1. Be at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on relevant theory, concepts, and techniques for understanding the form of communication involved and for improving skills;
    4. Provide concepts and guidelines for determining effective communication within a specific area or discipline, including conventions of that field;
    5. Require significant student practice or performance coupled with evaluation; and
    6. Encourage appreciation and understanding of language, form, and style.
  • Rationale

    The Writing II area provides supervised practice in written communication skills and extends the focus to professional communication concerns. To accommodate the needs of various undergraduate programs and diverse interests of students, a variety of writing options should be offered.

Speech

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed) 

    Students in Speech courses shall:
    1. Demonstrate ethical and competent communication.
    2. Articulate theories of communication and/or rhetoric.
    3. Apply critical thinking to communication and/or rhetoric.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Courses in Speech shall:

    1. Be at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on relevant theory, concepts, and techniques for understanding the form of communication involved and for improving skills;
    4. Provide concepts and guidelines for determining effective communication within a specific area or discipline, including conventions of that field;
    5. Require significant student practice or performance coupled with evaluation; and
    6. Encourage appreciation and understanding of language, form, and style.
  • Rationale

    The Speech area provides supervised practice in oral and interpersonal communication skills and extends the focus to professional communication concerns. To accommodate the needs of various undergraduate programs and diverse interests of students, a variety of speech options should be offered.

Mathematics

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Mathematics courses shall:
    1. Identify situations that can be modeled mathematically.
    2. Calculate and/or estimate the relevant variables and relations in a mathematical setting.
    3. Critique the applicability of a mathematical approach or the validity of a mathematical conclusion.
  • Criteria

    The Bacc Core requirement in mathematics may be met by one of the following:
    1. A satisfactory score on an appropriate placement test; or
    2. Mathematics 105 or any higher-numbered mathematics course that meets the following criteria.

    Mathematics courses shall:

    1. Be at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Develop problem solving strategies; and
    4. Include at least one significant mathematical model.

  • Rationale

    Everyone needs to manipulate numbers, evaluate variability and bias in data (as in advertising claims), and interpret data presented both in numerical and graphical form. Mathematics provides the basis for understanding and analyzing problems of this kind. Mathematics requires careful organization and precise reasoning. It helps develop and strengthen critical thinking skills.

Fitness

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Fitness courses shall:
    1. Identify and explain scientific principles and concepts of physical fitness, nutrition, and positive health behaviors.
    2. Develop a personally appropriate fitness and health program, including, for example, realistic physical activity, behavior-change strategies, stress management, and nutrition.
    3. Through regular and sustained engagement, demonstrate the knowledge, skill, and ability to participate in a selected physical activity for health, fitness, sport, or recreation.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Fitness courses shall:

    1. Be lower division and consist of a lecture component of at least 2 credits and an activity-based component of at least 1 credit (these components are graded independently and can be taken in different terms)
    2. Emphasize critical thinking in approaches to principles of health and fitness;
    3. Provide information and experiences in the safe and effective means to initiate and maintain healthful behavior change and a physically active lifestyle;
  • Have a fitness lecture component that will:
    1. Focus on an understanding of the scientific principles of physical fitness and positive health behaviors;
    2. Expose students to concepts related to physical fitness and health, such as stress management nutrition, and risk avoidance behaviors;
    3. Provide practice in the development of personal fitness and health programming;
  • Have a fitness activity component that will:
     
    1. Provide techniques and opportunities to assess, evaluate, and practice physical fitness and associated health behaviors;
    2. Lead to the development of an appropriate fitness program based on assessments and in-class experiences in physical activity.
  • Rationale

    Physical fitness and positive health behaviors are recognized as central to wellness. Students should understand the relationship between diseases and behavior. In order to achieve wellness, students need to assume personal responsibility for a physically active and healthy lifestyle.

PERSPECTIVES

Biological and Physical Sciences

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in these courses shall:
    1. Recognize and apply concepts and theories of basic physical or biological sciences.
    2. Apply scientific methodology and demonstrate the ability to draw conclusions based on observation, analysis, and synthesis.
    3. Demonstrate connections with other subject areas.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Science courses shall:

    1. Be at least four credits, contain a laboratory, and accessible to both lower and upper division students. Prerequisites or class‐level restrictions for Perspectives courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on the meaning of the fundamental concepts and theories that broadly characterize basic (rather than applied) physical or biological science;
    4. Illustrate, demonstrate, and analyze natural phenomena and systems;
    5. Provide historical perspectives and context on the evolution of major theories and ideas;
    6. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas; and
    7. Examine the nature, value, and limitations of scientific methods and the interaction of science with society.
  • Rationale

    Science seeks to develop a fundamental description and understanding of the natural world, from elementary particles to the cosmos, including the realm of living systems. Students should have the opportunity to explore the insights of science, to view science as a human achievement, and to participate in scientific inquiry. This experience includes the challenge of drawing conclusions based on observation, analysis, and synthesis. To ensure a broad perspective, the science requirement consists of two parts: physical science (including earth science) and biological science.

Western Culture

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Western Culture courses shall:
    1. Identify significant events, developments, and/or ideas in the Western cultural experience and context.
    2. Interpret the influence of philosophical, historical, and/or artistic phenomena in relation to contemporary Western culture.
    3. Analyze aspects of Western culture in relation to broader cultural, scientific, or social processes.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Western Culture courses shall:

    1. Be at least three credits and accessible to both lower and upper division students. Prerequisites or class‐level restrictions for Perspectives courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on a broad subject area and time period;
    4. Study, from a historical perspective, the origins and evolution of important features of Western culture;
    5. Examine events, movements, ideas or artistic achievements of Western culture in a broad context, including the significance they have for contemporary U.S. culture and institutions; and
    6. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas.
  • Rationale

    Knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Western culture are essential to a liberal education. Contemporary U.S. society in all its institutional, social, and cultural complexity is largely a product of Western culture. Understanding of Western culture and knowledge of its origin and evolution enable students to develop greater awareness of its past, present, and future.

Cultural Diversity

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Cultural Diversity courses shall:
    1. Identify and analyze characteristics of a cultural tradition outside of European /American culture.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of how perspectives can change depending on cultural or historical contexts.
    3. Describe aspects of Non-Western culture that influence or contribute to global cultural, scientific, or social processes.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Cultural Diversity courses shall:

    1. Be at least three credits and accessible to both lower and upper division students. Prerequisites or class‐level restrictions for Perspectives courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus on a broad subject area and time period;
    4. Study, from a historical perspective, the origins, evolution, and/or contemporary state of civilizations and cultures that are either non-Western in origin or have evolved within Western culture in opposition to or in forms clearly distinct from the tradition;
    5. Promote a culturally diverse perspective; and
    6. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas.
  • Rationale

    Knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of diverse cultures are essential parts of a liberal education. Not only is the world a multicultural one, but most of its cultures contrast sharply with traditional Western culture. The U.S. is itself a multicultural society. Awareness of the contrasts and similarities between other cultures and traditional Western culture enables students to develop a greater understanding of both.

Literature and the Arts

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Literature and the Arts courses shall:
    1. Recognize literary and artistic forms/styles, techniques, and the cultural/historical contexts in which they evolve.
    2. Analyze how literature/the arts reflect, shape, and influence culture.
    3. Reflect critically on the characteristics and effects of literary and artistic works.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Literature and the Arts courses shall:

    1. Be at least three credits and accessible to both lower and upper division students. Prerequisites or class‐level restrictions for Perspectives courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Place the subject(s) in historical context;
    4. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas;
    5. Focus primarily on literature or the arts;
    6. Actively engage students in significant works of literature or art;
    7. Explore the conventions and techniques of the form(s) under consideration;
    8. Address the role of literature or art in society; and
    9. Encourage appreciation and understanding of the form(s) under consideration.
  • Rationale

    Literature and the other arts provide examples of ways individuals find pattern and meaning in their experience. Study of these art forms gives students expertise and sophistication not only in recognizing the methods by which pattern and meaning are found, but also in critiquing those methods. Through literature and the arts, students engage their own and other cultures, examine their values, and discover sources of lifelong pleasure.

Social Processes and Institutions

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Social Processes and Institutions courses shall:
    1. Use theoretical frameworks to interpret the role of the individual within social process and institutions.
    2. Analyze current social issues and place them in historical context(s).
    3. Critique the nature, value, and limitations of the basic methods of the social sciences.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Social Processes and Institutions courses shall:

    1. Be at least three credits and accessible to both lower and upper division students. Prerequisites or class‐level restrictions for Perspectives courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Place the subject(s) in historical context;
    4. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas;
    5. Focus on methods, concepts, and theories for understanding the structure and change of major social institutions, and for understanding individual behavior as part of a social dynamic;
    6. Examine the nature, value, and limitations of the basic methods of the social sciences, and discuss the interaction of the social sciences and society; and
    7. Provide a perspective on the evolution of the theories and ideas emphasized in the course.
  • Rationale

    Human beings are inevitably social, influencing and being influenced by social groups. The social sciences study social institutions and processes and deal with the human behaviors and values that form and change them, and are essential for an understanding of contemporary society.

DIFFERENCE, POWER AND DISCRIMINATION

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Difference, Power and Discrimination courses shall:
    1. Explain how difference is socially constructed
    2. Using historical and contemporary examples, describe how perceived differences, combined with unequal distribution of power across economic, social, and political institutions, result in discrimination
    3. Analyze ways in which the interactions of social categories, such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and age, are related to difference, power, and discrimination in the United States.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Difference, Power and Discrimination courses shall:

    1. Be at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Have as their central focus the study of the unequal distribution of power within the framework of particular disciplines and course content;
    4. Focus primarily on the United States, although global contexts are encouraged;
    5. Provide illustrations of ways in which structural, institutional, and ideological discrimination arise from socially defined meanings attributed to difference;
    6. Provide historical and contemporary examples of difference, power, and discrimination across cultural, economic, social, and political institutions in the United States;
    7. Provide illustrations of ways in which the interactions of social categories, such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and age, are related to difference, power, and discrimination in the United States;
    8. Provide a multidisciplinary perspective on issues of difference, power, and discrimination;
    9. Incorporate interactive learning activities (e.g., ungraded, in-class writing exercise; classroom discussion; peer-review of written material; web-based discussion group); and
    10. Be regularly numbered departmental offerings rather than x99 or blanket number courses.
  • Rationale

    The unequal distribution of social, economic, and political power in the United States and in other countries is sustained through a variety of individual beliefs and institutional practices. These beliefs and practices have tended to obscure the origins and operations of social discrimination such that this unequal power distribution is often viewed as the natural order. The DPD requirement engages students in the intellectual examination of the complexity of the structures, systems, and ideologies that sustain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power and resources in society. Such examination will enhance meaningful democratic participation in our diverse university community and our increasingly multicultural U.S. society.

Synthesis

Contemporary Global Issues

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Contemporary Global Issues courses shall:
    1. Analyze the origins, historical contexts, and implications of contemporary global issues.
    2. Explain the complex nature and interdependence of contemporary global issues using a multi-disciplinary approach.
    3. Articulate in writing a critical perspective on contemporary global issues using evidence as support. *
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Contemporary Global Issues courses shall:
    1. Be upper division and at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Focus, from a historical perspective, on the origin and nature of critical issues and problems that have global significance;
    4. Emphasize the interdependence of the global community;
    5. Use a multidisciplinary approach and be suitable for students from diverse fields; and
    6. Include written composition.*
  • Rationale

    Our world has become increasingly interdependent. Social, economic, political, environmental, and other issues and problems originating in one part of the world often have far-reaching ramifications in other parts of the world. These issues and problems not only transcend geographical boundaries but also cross academic disciplines. Therefore, if students are to acquire understanding of and to discover effective responses to such issues and problems, they must acquire both global and multidisciplinary perspectives. (Students are encouraged to complete their baccalaureate core perspective requirements before taking the Contemporary Global Issues course.)

    *Evidence based writing is an essential component of the Synthesis categories and the exclusively “upper-division” general education academic experience they offer to students.  The Baccalaureate Core Committee and the Writing Advisory Board recommend the following to Schools/Departments/Faculty offering Synthesis courses to help students achieve the writing –related criteria and outcome in Contemporary Global Issues:
    • A course capacity of 70 students. If enrollment is over 70, then break-outs (recitations) or GTAs should be used to ensure that students receive adequate and timely writing feedback.
    • At a minimum, the course should include a single out-of-class written assignment with a minimum of 1250 words plus references that develops and sustains a critical perspective using evidence as support and a multidisciplinary approach. The assignment should include at least 2 outside sources.

Science, Technology, and Society

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Science, Technology, and Society courses shall:
    1. Analyze relationships among science, technology, and society using critical perspectives or examples from historical, political, or economic disciplines.
    2. Analyze the role of science and technology in shaping diverse fields of study over time. 
    3. Articulate in writing a critical perspective on issues involving science, technology, and society using evidence as support. *
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    Science, Technology, and Society courses shall:

    1. Be upper division and at least 3 credits;
    2. Emphasize elements of critical thinking;
    3. Emphasize the interactions of science and/or technology and society (in general, or through significant examples of that interaction);
    4. Place the subject in historical context;
    5. Demonstrate interrelationships or connections with other subject areas;
    6. Provide a perspective on the scientific or technological approach to understanding and manipulating the world by relating that perspective to its social context;
    7. Use a multidisciplinary approach and be suitable for students from diverse fields; and
    8. Include written composition. *

    *Evidence based writing is an essential component of the Synthesis categories and the exclusively “upper-division” general education academic experience they offer to students.  The Baccalaureate Core Committee and the Writing Advisory Board recommend the following to Schools/Departments/Faculty offering Synthesis courses to help students achieve the writing –related criteria and outcome in Science, Technology, and Society: 

    • A course capacity of 70 students. If enrollment is over 70, then break-outs (recitations) or GTAs should be used to ensure that students receive adequate and timely writing feedback.
    • At a minimum, the course should include a single out-of-class written assignment with a minimum of 1250 words plus references that develops and sustains a critical perspective using evidence as support and a multidisciplinary approach. The assignment should include at least 2 outside sources.

     

  • Rationale

    Given the immense impact that science and technology have had on all facets of modern civilization, a disciplined study of the interaction of science and technology with society is a necessary part of general education. Students should understand the political and economic dimensions of scientific or technological change, the nature of the scientific enterprise and its relationship to technology, and the complexity of major revolutions in science and technology. (Students are encouraged to complete their baccalaureate core perspective requirements before taking the Science, Technology, and Society course.)

WRITING INTENSIVE COURSES (WIC)

  • Student Learning Outcomes(must appear on syllabus and be assessed)

    Students in Writing Intensive courses shall:
    1. Develop and articulate content knowledge and critical thinking in the discipline through frequent practice of informal and formal writing. 
    2. Demonstrate knowledge/understanding of audience expectations, genres, and conventions appropriate to communicating in the discipline.
    3. Demonstrate the ability to compose a document of at least 2000 words through multiple aspects of writing, including brainstorming, drafting, using sources appropriately, and revising comprehensively after receiving feedback on a draft.
  • Criteria for course approval and continuation

    The guidelines below explain the five WIC criteria adopted by the OSU Faculty Senate as part of the Baccalaureate Core.


    Criterion 1: Writing intensive courses shall use student writing as a significant approach to learning.


    To meet this criterion, courses shall:

    1. Give students regular and frequent opportunities to write, including both graded and ungraded writing;
    2. Include at least one paper that addresses a controversial question and that asks students to integrate information from more than one source;
    3. Require at least 5,000 words (including drafts, in-class writing, informal papers, and polished papers); 2,000 words of this total should be in polished papers which students have revised after receiving feedback and criticism;
    4. Restrict enrollments to manageable size (ideally no more than 20 students).



    Ungraded writing could include course journals; in-class writing focusing on a particular problem, concept, or reading; short (one page or less) summaries of readings; short lists of questions or answers to questions, and the like. Whatever their form, such short (and usually) unrevised assignments ask students to write about what they read and about what they hear in class. This writing could be simply recorded as turned in (or not), or it could be graded quickly on some sort of + (top quality), or 0 (acceptable), - (incomplete) scale. Graded writing could include academic essays, position papers, microthemes, responses to cases, and the like. Students should expect to revise graded writing based on feedback and criticism.


    Criterion 2: Writing intensive courses shall base a significant part of the grade on evaluation of writing.


    Grades for papers should form at least 30% of the overall grade, with at least 25% of the overall course grade based on evaluation of individually written papers. Collaborative writing projects are appropriate in WIC courses, but individually written papers which have been revised after feedback must also be a significant part of the grade. Writing intensive courses may also use various tests or quizzes which do not involve writing.


    Criterion 3: Writing-intensive courses shall focus on content related to the major disciplines and be taught by faculty knowledgeable about that discipline.


    A writing intensive course should be a course, or sequence of courses, in the discipline and integral to the degree program. The course should have a structured syllabus with disciplinary content and an enrollment of students who interact with each other and with their professor on a regular term schedule. Part of the learning in a WIC course occurs when students share, discuss, and respond to each others' written work in the context of the common course content over a period of time. Writing intensive courses are not English courses or grammar and punctuation courses; they are discipline courses which use writing tasks to help students learn.


    Criterion 4: Writing intensive courses shall discuss writing issues pertinent to that discipline, as such issues apply both academically and professionally.


    In determining the course content for a writing intensive course, instructors should also include some discussion of how writing is used by graduate/professionals in that particular discipline. Thus a writing intensive course in engineering should include discussion of the writing done by working engineers, and discussion of what makes that writing effective or convincing. In some fields, this discussion might apply to the kinds of writing done in graduate school.


    Criterion 5: Writing intensive courses shall be upper division.


    The WIC requirement must total 3 or more credit hours. In the case of a department whose WIC requirement is satisfied by a series of courses, WIC credit will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the entire sequence.

    1. Ideally, WIC courses are restricted to 20 students. If anticipated enrollment is greater than the ideal maximum number of students, please explain how faculty will manage the work load.

  • Rationale

    Beyond the writing skills and practice gained in WR I and WR II courses, students need to learn to write as members of the discipline or disciplines in which they have chosen to major.  Writing Intensive courses, which are taken in the major, typically in the junior or senior year, introduce students to the genres, purposes, audiences, content, and conventions of writing in the major.  Student writers gain experience with the resources used in their field and the formats and documentation style used to communicate knowledge.   Through inquiry-based writing in the discipline, students gain understanding and knowledge of disciplinary goals and concepts.  Students are encouraged to complete Writing I and Writing II requirements before enrolling in their WIC course.