General Education Assessment

General Education at UCSB

The General Education program comprises the common intellectual experience of all UCSB undergraduates, whatever their majors. The program orients students to a range of intellectual disciplines, particularly the kinds of questions that different disciplines address and the methods used to create and disseminate knowledge.

The General Education program is designed to expose students to a breadth of ideas that might otherwise lie outside their experience and to encourage intellectual curiosity. It requires study in a variety of areas that may include science and mathematics, human history and thought, social science, arts, and literature, among others. 

In addition, the General Education program helps students to refine habits of mind and approaches to scholarly inquiry that are important within all academic disciplines: asking incisive and fruitful questions; collaborating; analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating data, texts, artifacts, and other sources; developing university-level qualitative, quantitative, and information literacy; and articulating ideas using the stylistic conventions of diverse disciplines.

How Program Learning Outcomes for General Education Were Articulated

The Undergraduate Council of the UCSB Academic Senate sets standards for and policy on undergraduate education and provides advice and consent on all matters that affect the educational experiences of undergraduates at UCSB. In Fall 2011, the Council appointed a group of faculty, administrators, and staff with expertise in undergraduate education and authorized a process to articulate the program learning outcomes of the General Education program.

A large and diverse group of faculty took part in writing these outcomes. Documents such as syllabi and assignments associated with courses within each of the 12 General Education areas were analyzed and used to draft outcomes for each area. Faculty teaching in each area reviewed and commented on these drafts. Outcome statements were revised, based on those comments, and recirculated to faculty for approval. In October 2012, the Undergraduate Council approved the final versions of the General Education learning outcomes.