- Breadth of Knowledge
- Advanced Communication
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Global Diversity
- United States Diversity
- Past ES Courses
- Past General Ed Courses
Use this procedure for first-time approval of an Essential Studies course.
- Proposals to add a course to the ES program are initiated by individual faculty members at the department level. Consultation on ES course development is available through the ES Office.
- When it’s finalized at the department, the formal request for validation is brought to the ES Committee for review and approval. Submit one copy of the validation form with original signatures and attachments to: Essential Studies, Stop 7310
- If approved, the course becomes part of ES at the start of the next academic year.
The deadline for submission of requests for the validation of ES courses is December 1 each year. The ES Committee's review period for such requests will be December-January. If approved by the ES Committee, the validated course will appear in the course catalog, which is posted in March of the same academic year, in time for advisement for the spring registration period.
To be part of the ES program, a course will:
- Aim for and assess student learning in one of the four ES goals: Communication, Diversity, Information Literacy, or Thinking and Reasoning.
- Fit within one of the Breadth of Knowledge categories.
- Meet one of the Special Emphasis requirements. This requires a more in-depth focus on the particular kind of learning that is targeted when a course is approved for a Special Emphasis.
Special Emphasis Learning Outcomes
Advanced Communication (A)
Recognizing that effective communication is learned through continued practice, advanced communication courses place a strong emphasis on practice and process; instructors give regular feedback to students on their speaking and/or writing and students are required to produce multiple spoken presentations and/or written texts. Though these formal assignments certainly require students to work with particular content or information, they also demand that students are aware of rhetorical strategies and style of delivery.
Global Diversity (G) or United States Diversity (U)
Recognizing that the understanding of diversity is intimately tied to the concepts of culture, race, language, identity, and inter-group dynamics, as well as their applications to complex situations, Cultural Diversity courses place their focus on the theoretical discussion of these concepts as well as the in-depth analysis of complex situations through these concepts.
Culture in this context is seen as the totality of the interconnected religious, spiritual, political, economic, ecological, social, material, recreational, educational, and linguistic values and artifacts of a group of people that defines itself and is defined by others as having a distinct culture.
Assignments for Cultural Diversity courses require students to demonstrate their grasp of the theoretical concepts, but also require them to show that they can use these concepts respectfully to analyze both culture in the real world and the rhetoric about culture. Since culture has become a keyword for political stakeholders, such a critical analysis is indispensable.
To qualify as a Global Diversity class (G) or a United States Diversity class (U), the syllabus will demonstrate sustained attention to all of the following numbered criteria within a global framework or within the framework of the United States:
- Clearly state the purpose of the course as the investigation of cultural diversity.
- Demonstrate in-depth, analytical discussions about some of the following:
- The concepts of culture, for example:
- The possibilities and difficulties in understanding other cultures.
- The differences between culture and race.
- The connections and differences between culture and identity.
- The connections and differences between culture and history and tradition.
- The differences between tolerance and respect and understanding.
- Similarities and differences between cultures.
- The real-world consequences of these concepts, both historically and contemporarily, i.e., systems of power and domination, marginalization and oppression, unequal distribution of resources, colonialism, and so on.
- Global cultural interactions, or cultural interactions in the United States, both historically and contemporarily.
- The concepts of culture, for example:
- Demonstrate in-depth, focused attention to illustrating and analyzing these concepts in complex contexts, preferably including different cultural groups.
- Demonstrate that assignments emphasize some of the following:
- The cultural analysis of complex situations.
- the use of the theoretical concepts of culture as applied to real-world situations.
- Reflexivity of the students in terms of their own culture and their position in relationship to other cultures.
- The improvement of thinking and writing skills as applied to complex problems.
- The ability of students to think through problems of cultural difference and decide when and when not such difference can be accepted.
Qualifications for G or U Designation
- Since the discussion of culture and diversity can only be accomplished through complex discussions, courses cannot argue to earn a U or G designation for less than 3 credit hours.
- Courses with other special emphasis designations (O, A, Q, and C) may not qualify as diversity special emphasis courses.
- Students must take 3 credit hours of U and 3 credit hours of G.
Quantitative Reasoning (Q)
Quantitative reasoning - sometimes also known as quantitative literacy or numeracy - involves competency and comfort in working with numerical information. Having strong quantitative reasoning skills allows one to to reason with quantitative information and solve quantitative problems from a variety of authentic situations - ones that one might imagine encountering in their daily professional or civic life. Having strong quantitative reasoning skills means being able to understand and create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and information, and to be able to clearly communicate those arguments using tools such as tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc.
ES Course Validation Forms
To be part of the ES program, you can nominate a course using the appropriate ES Course Validation Form below. Your choice of form is dictated by the Breadth of Knowledge area in which the course will appear. Please read the definitions in the Breadth of Knowledge Area Criteria in order to choose the appropriate form for your course.