General Education curriculum requirements are structured around four main focus areas and eight accompanying objectives:
- Critical Analysis and Logical Thought
- Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
- Human Diversity
- Principal Approaches to Knowledge
The faculty has interpreted each of these objectives as follows:
1. Critical Analysis and Logical Thought
Objective: Students will learn about critical analysis and logical thought, with emphasis on disciplined inquiry, including the development of appropriate questions, the evaluation of evidence, and the formation of a reasoned conclusion or judgment.
Objective: Students will demonstrate the ability to read and listen critically, and to speak and write effectively.
Courses satisfying the Critical Analysis requirement examine a topic or problem in depth while addressing such academic skills as:
• Critical reading
• Critical thinking
• Clear writing
• Academic self-assessment
• Collaborative learning
• Information technology
• Oral presentation
2. Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
Objective: Students will demonstrate the ability to reason quantitatively and to use formal systems to solve problems of quantitative relationships involving numbers, formal symbols, patterns, data and graphs.
The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to enhance the capacity of students to:
• Pose problems that involve quantitative relationships in real-world data by means of numerical, symbolic, and visual representations;
• Solve problems, deducing consequences, formulating alternatives, and making predictions;
• Apply appropriate technologies to solving problems; and
• Communicate and critique quantitative arguments orally and in writing.
3. Human Diversity
Objective: Students will learn about human diversity, including how different patterns of behavior and thought evolve and how the development of cultures is influenced by interactions among different social groups.
UMass Boston believes that explicit study of the diversity of the world’s peoples is an essential component of an undergraduate education. The university defines “diversity” broadly to include race, gender, culture (national origin, ethnicity, religion), social class, age, sexual origin and disability. Attention to cultural and social groups previously ignored or marginalized in curricula helps students acquire analytical tools and knowledge with which they can understand human diversity in our complex and changing world, and strengthens their academic preparation by exposing them to a rich body of scholarship from a wide range of disciplines. All undergraduates at UMass Boston must therefore take courses that address human diversity as a major theme.
4. Principal Approaches to Knowledge
Objective (Natural Sciences [NS] and Mathematics/Technology [MT]): Students will learn how the laws of the physical and biological world are derived through observation, theory, and experiment. In this age of expanding scientific knowledge and powerful technologies, an educated person should understand the importance of falsifiable hypotheses, the nature of scientific "truth," and the impact of science on society.
Objective (Social and Behavioral Sciences [SB]): Students will learn about the nature and development of human behavior and institutions through time, in order to become aware of the complex and ambiguous nature of changing human experience.
Objective (Arts [AR] and Humanities [HU]): Students will develop an informed appreciation of the arts and humanities, which encompass philosophy, literature, the fine arts, and the performing arts. Students will learn how people have come to understand and express artistic, aesthetic, moral, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions of the human condition.
Objective (World Languages [WL] and World Cultures [WC]): Students will learn how language and culture impose their own structuring of knowledge. This may be achieved through intensive study of unfamiliar cultures, or by the study of a foreign language or foreign literature in translation.
How to Submit a Course Proposal
Click on the links below for specific information on how to submit a course proposal. Contact the Undergraduate Studies Office for contact information and where to submit.
1. If you are submitting an idea for a brand-new course (undergraduate or graduate): Use the One Form and The One Resource Issues Supplementary Form.
2. If you are submitting course revisions (title change, number change, etc.): Use the One Form
3. If you want your course to be approved for inclusion in Distribution: Use the One Form. Course proposals should be sent to Neal Bruss in English (Chair of the Faculty Council General Education committee).
4. If you want your course to be approved as a Diversity course: Use the One Form. Course proposals for CLA/CSM diversity courses should be sent to Tim Sieber in Anthropology (Chair of the Diversity committee).
5. If you want your course to be approved as a Quantitative Reasoning course: use the One Form. Course proposals should be sent to Mark Pawlak (Chair of the QR Assessment Committee).
6. If you are submitting a new First-Year or Intermediate Seminar: use the One Form. and The One Resource Issues Supplementary Form. Course proposals should be sent to Neal Bruss in English (Chair of the Seminars Assessment committee).
7. If you need to add courses to already existing degree requirements under sections where students already have the option of selecting from a list of courses, use the Degree Audit Update Form to update the degree audit for the major.
How do I know what the "rules and regulations" are?
Here are some potentially useful documents:
1. The Yellow Document - this spells out the "new" General Education Program from the University perspective.
2. The Purple Document - this describes how CAS (now CLA and CSM) chose to implement the principles spelled out in the Yellow Document.
3. The Tan Document - Updated in 2006, this now lists the various GenEd distribution areas and capabilities as approved by Faculty Council. Includes the expansion of Mathematics to Mathematics/Technology. Useful for faculty in all colleges.
4. A document discussing the use of Capabilities in First-Year and Intermediate Seminars.
What Else Might Be Useful?
Here is some "boilerplate" that should go on all course syllabi, regarding disability services and the Code of Student Conduct.