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General Education

The curriculum at West Virginia State University creates citizen-scholars by preparing students to take active roles within a democratic society while giving them the tools to face 21st Century challenges.  To this effect, the curriculum works to foster knowledge across a broad range of liberal arts and science disciplines while helping students gain four specific competencies upon graduation. These Essential Graduation Competencies are listed below:

1.  Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

  • a.  Demonstrate knowledge of the sciences and mathematics, wellness, social sciences, humanities, histories, international perspectives, and the arts in the context of both contemporary and enduring questions

2.  Intellectual and Practical Skills Needed to Engage in 21st Century Challenges

  • a.   Practice Inquiry and analysis

  • b.  Employ critical and creative thinking

  • c.   Communicate effectively

  • d.  Apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches to problem solving and evaluation

  • e.   Practice effective collaboration/teamwork

3.  Personal and Social Responsibility

  • a.   Model civic knowledge and engagement

  • b.  Demonstrate understanding of multiculturalism and sensitivity to issues of diversity

  • c.   Practice professional ethics in reasoning and action

4.  Integrative and Applied Learning

  • a.   Demonstrate synthesis of knowledge both within a specialization and between disciplines

These competencies are practiced extensively across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards of performance.  Because they are integrated and assessed throughout the curriculum, fulfillment of the competencies can be accomplished through many pathways, including experiential learning.
The responsibility of the General Education Committee is to oversee the general education core curriculum, presenting proposals for revising it, and evaluating proposals from other faculty or departments/Colleges, with reference to the Essential Graduation Competencies and the component criteria.

Committee Members
College of Arts and Humanities
Sherri Shafer
Carol Susman
College of Business and Social Science
Deborah Williams
Rebecca Francis
College of Mathematics and Natural Science
Tom Guetzloff
Richard Ford
College of Professional Studies
Brenda Wilson
Daton Dean
At-Large Members
Barbara Ladner
Miguel Zapata

Librarians and Land-grant
Amir Hass
Jennifer Zuccaro

Ex-officio Members
Kumara Jayasuriya
Provost / VP of Academic Affairs
Vicky Morris-Dueer
Director of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness

Course Proposals

Course proposals must received by the Chair / Coordinator of General Education seven days prior to the next scheduled meeting.  Any proposal not meeting the seven day deadline will be added to the agenda for the next monthly meeting.  Please follow all directions as listed on the Course Proposal Form.

To be acceptable as a Gen Ed requirement, a course must equip students to:
Tier I:

A. First Year Experience:

  1. Describe campus services;
  2. Critically analyze and perform various learning, reading, and study approaches.
  3. Practice fiscal and personal responsibility.
  4. Demonstrate cultural understanding in a collaborative environment
B. Written Communication I and II
Written Communication I
  1. Demonstrate the process of writing; that is, invention, drafting, revision, and editing;
  2. Collaborate with peers in various reading and writing activities;
  3. Use basic qualitative and/or quantitative research in some writing;
  4. Read to evaluate writer's strategies, choices, and stylistic changes;
  5. Practice effective communication with others in reading, writing, and speaking as shown by discussion, writing, and critical analysis, etc
Written Communication II
  1. Use research skills to locate source materials;
  2. Evaluate source materials in various disciplines;
  3. Use conventional methods of citing source material (e.g., MLA, APA);
  4. Write analytical and argumentative essays that support a thesis with evidence and reasoning drawn from source material;
  5. Read and analyze material critically.
C. Oral Communication
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic processes of verbal and non-verbal communications
  2. Apply effective listening techniques in different communication contexts
  3. Practice the process of small group communication
  4. Demonstrate effective speech-making skills in class presentations
  5. Use various media vehicles in public speaking
  6. Apply ethical principles in public speech processes (research, writing and delivery). 
D. Mathematics
E. Scientific Reasoning
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of Science and scientific thinking;
  2. Practice laboratory techniques to develop intellectual skills such as collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusions from data
Tier II:
A. Arts.
  1. Demonstrate a theoretical understanding of the creative process in a given art form;
  2. Demonstrate Practical knowledge of the creative process by producing creative works in visual art, music, theater, film, and writing;
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the relationships between differing modes of expression.
B. Humanities.
  1. Identify characteristics of recognized works of art, music, theater, literature, or film;
  2. Critically analyze works of art, music, theater, literature, or film.
  3. Describe the particular traditions and history of ideas in which texts are rooted.
C. International Perspectives.
This requirement can be met through a course in a foreign language or through a course, taught in English, which pursues the following objectives. The study of a foreign language is in essence the study of international perspectives since it involves amongst other things, the study of a foreign phonetic system, vocabulary, grammar, culture, etc.
  1. Identify various ways in which the people of the world are socially interdependent
  2. Understand cultural diffusion, production, adoption, and consumption as part of the global exchange of ideas
  3. Identify and articulate the value of groups in the world community
  4. Identify and understand conflict and power in the international arena
  5. Describe the connection between a cultural practice or artifact and the society that crated it.
D. Histories.
  1. Identify and describe various periods of U.S. and/or World History; understand chronology and the process of change over time;
  2. Understand historical experiences in their political, social, economic, and cultural context;
  3. Understand the significance of different points of view in the writing of history;
  4. Use library and online resources to construct historical narratives based on both primary and secondary sources;
  5. Identify contributions made by people of all social groups, nationalities, and backgrounds in U.S. and/or World History.
E. Natural Science
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of Science and scientific thinking;
  2. Practice laboratory techniques to develop intellectual skills such as collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusions from data.
F. Social Science.
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the various (e.g,, biological, psychological, social) causes of human behaviors;
  2. Identify the various ways in which social structures affect individuals;
  3. Demonstrate a knowledge of the various terms and concepts related to the study of social structure and behavior;
  4. Demonstrate a knowledge of the inter-relatedness of social institutions.
G. Wellness
  1. Describe and prioritize each domain of the wellness wheel (Physical, Emotional, Social, Environmental, Spiritual, Intellectual and Financial)
  2. Identify signs and symptoms of general medical and sexual-related disease both acute and chronic.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to perform exercise that if done consistently will result in a healthier life.  NOTE: if student is disabled or unable to perform exercise (walk, etc.) they will “Identify” rather than demonstrate.
  4. Compare and contrast lifestyles based on food/nutritional choices and chronic disease progression.
  5. Assess, score and analyze current health and fitness status and develop a plan of improvement.
  6. Evaluate the relationship between substance use (including tobacco, smokeless tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs) and optimal wellness.
IDS Option
A course is “interdisciplinary” in the sense required for satisfying the general education interdisciplinary requirements if it:
  1. Places its primary emphasis on the interrelationships among two disciplines;
  2. Employs two disciplines with approximately equal emphasis in the investigation of a matter (e.g., ideas, concepts, cultures) which does not itself fall within the province of a single established discipline.
  3. Uses ALL of the established criteria for the two categories in which the course will fulfill
Leaders of Student Organizations

Barbara Ladner
Coordinator of General Education

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