La Crosse

Office of General Education





September 19, 2005


Dear Members of Faculty Senate,


Please find attached the General Education Learning Outcomes as approved by the General Education Committee on September 19, 2005.   This letter will provide a brief overview of the rationale and process behind the approval of these outcomes.


One of the first initiatives of the General Education Committee (GEC) after the appointment of a Director was the development of student learning outcomes.  Learning outcomes are a necessity if effective assessment of student learning is expected.  Assessment of student learning in general education has been problematic since the implementation of the program in 1991. Learning outcomes provide the basis not only for assessment but for guiding the learning activities in courses.  Almost all accrediting agencies expect, if not require, all academic programs to have clearly identified learning outcomes. The Higher Learning Commission (also known as North Central Association) states in their accreditation criteria:  


The organization’s goals for student learning outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and make effective assessment possible.


The following outline provides a brief background on the development of the student learning outcomes that are now before you for approval. A more detailed list of GEC activities over the last several years is available as Appendix A in the 2005 report to Faculty Senate on the General Education web site,


FALL 2002-FALL 2003 

·         GEC formed several ad hoc groups to write learning outcomes based on committee discussion during the previous year and based on recommendations from a consultant from Alverno College[1].  These ad hoc groups included GEC members as well as several individuals from across programs at UW-L. 

·         Drafts from the ad hoc groups were sent to the campus community for feedback. 

·         Using this feedback, GEC modified the outcomes and presented them to Faculty Senate as a working document in the spring of 2003 and again in the fall of 2003. 

·         Faculty Senate gave GEC the go-ahead to continue their work based on the learning outcomes, but wanted more information regarding how the outcomes might impact the structure of the program prior to official approval of the outcomes.

·         GEC began work on possible revisions to program structure as per FS concerns and planned to present to FS early in Fall 2004 recommendations for program revision. 

FALL 2004-Present

·          Fall 2004 GEC was charged by Faculty Senate to ask all departments to review their courses using the learning outcomes approved by GEC in May 2003.

·         Course Reviews were collected from departments in Fall 2004 and early Spring 2005.

·         Information from the course reviews were used by a GEC ad hoc committee to revise outcomes with the goal of simplification and decreasing the number of outcomes.

·         A new draft of learning outcomes with seven categories was developed by end of Spring 2005.

·         This draft was given to the Summer 2005 General Education Design Team.

·         The Design Team, in an effort to further simplify, re-organized the outcomes into four broad goal categories.

·         GEC approved the outcomes as reorganized by the Design Team on September 12, 2005

·         GEC approved the four goal category names on September 19, 2005. 


We are now requesting Faculty Senate approval of the learning outcomes.  These outcomes represent hours of work by a multitude of people.  In addition, the campus community has had many opportunities to provide input into the development of these learning outcomes.  Members of GEC and Emily Johnson, Director of General Education, would be happy to answer any questions you may have.




The General Education Committee

Emily Johnson, Director

John Fields, Marketing

Sandy Grunwald, Chemistry

Eric Kraemer, Philosophy

Stephen McDougal, Political Science

Cris Prucha, Murphy Library

Robert Ragan, Physics

Bruce Riley, Mathematics

Soojin Ritterling, Music

Brian Udermann, Exercise and Sports Science



General Education Student Learning Outcomes


Goal:  Foundations of Knowledge

Students will be able to:

·          Express ideas, facts, opinions and beliefs in ways that are relevant and appropriate to the audience, context, purpose and genre

·          State an idea/argument and develop it in a logical, organized form using conventional grammar, punctuation and formatting

·          Formulate and support ideas with sufficient reasoning, evidence and persuasive appeals, and proper attribution

·          Accurately summarize and interpret the purposes and main ideas of texts and performances

·          Use a variety of resources and current technology to locate, retrieve and evaluate relevant sources and information

·          Construct and use models to analyze, explain or predict phenomena

·          Use mathematical and logical methods to solve problems

·          Identify fundamental principles, theories, concepts, methodologies, tools and issues from various disciplines

·          Synthesize information from different disciplines and perspectives to solve problems, gain new experiences, or create new things

·          Engage effectively in the process of collaborative work and identify factors that facilitate and impede effective communication


Goal:  Aesthetic Perspective and Meaning

Students will be able to:

·          Identify appropriate methods for understanding and interpreting the aesthetics of various works

·          Evaluate artistic presentations using appropriate language and patterns of thought

·          Evaluate artistic presentations as commentary on society and the human experience

·          Identify diverse elements (artistic, scientific, religious, cultural) that can provide meaning for human existence

·          Explain factors that make their own lives meaningful


Goal:  Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Students will be able to:

·          Identify and use methods of inquiry appropriate to a given problem

·          Identify valid procedures for gathering empirical data to solve particular problems

·          Investigate and assess hypotheses using appropriate methods

·          Critically assess the reasoning and evidence supporting or refuting a thesis

·          Distinguish between fact, opinion, observation and inference

·          Detect patterns underlying phenomena and draw reasonable inferences from information

·          Reason logically, creatively and independently

·          Explain the impact of science and technology on the environment, human experience and social change

·          Explain how content is shaped by the context in which it was created


Goal:  Personal, Social and Global Responsibility

Students will be able to:

·          Describe how cultural and individual differences have shaped perspectives and contributed to patterns of privilege and oppression

·          Explain how values and ideas of cultures have evolved and how patterns of globalization have shaped the modern world

·          Recognize and respect different ways of thinking and communicating

·          Explain the rationales for cultural behaviors different from one’s own

·          Communicate effectively with members of another culture

·          Identify diverse moral and ethical perspectives, principles, and systems of evaluation

·          Articulate their moral values, the processes they use to make ethical decisions and their perspective on current ethical issues

·          Explain how knowledge from various disciplines is essential to individual and societal health and well-being

·          Identify their strategies for involvement, leadership and civic engagement

·          Analyze the impact their decisions and choices have on themselves and others

·          Practice and uphold standards of academic integrity and intellectual honesty

·          Articulate how their participation in campus and community events and in the democratic process has made a difference in their lives and the lives of others




[1] Alverno College is recognized nationally for its leadership in a curriculum based on learning outcomes and its assessment of student learning.