University Faculty Council - Educational Policies
General Education Requirements
for Baccalaureate Degrees at
Draft for Discussion
Mar 30, 2005
The Constitution of the Indiana University Faculty assigns to School
Faculties the primary legislative authority over curriculum and the conferring
of degrees for their Schools. 1 Respecting this principle, this document
establishes norms that School Faculties should follow and implement in the
requirements for their baccalaureate degrees. School Faculties may depart from
these norms for such reasons as certification and licensing requirements;
however, all departures should be reviewed and discussed periodically with
Campus and University Faculty Councils and Academic Officers. If disagreements
should persist, then the University Faculty Council has the authority under the
Constitution to determine how the authority of the Faculty shall be exercised.
The Educational Policies Committee of the University Faculty Council,
having been charged to develop a General Education Policy that affirms the
University's rich educational offerings and both the unity of our baccalaureate
degrees and the educational diversity of our campuses, submits this draft
proposal to the University Faculty Council and the eight Campus Faculty Councils
for discussion, comments, and suggestions.
An undergraduate college education should broaden, enhance, and
strengthen a person's knowledge, intellectual capabilities, and understanding.
The undergraduate student must grow from an epistemology and ethics based on
authority to one based on an autonomous, reasoned evaluation of assertions and
evidence. A holder of a baccalaureate degree should be able to analyze
critically the surrounding world and to articulate that analysis coherently to
others. The holder should be able to draw upon a broad understanding of multiple
disciplines in order to participate fully in contemporary society.
To this end, an Indiana University undergraduate
education should provide a sound foundation in written and verbal communication,
qualitative and quantitative analysis and reasoning, and literacy in information
resources; a solid breadth of knowledge, intellectual capabilities, and
understanding; opportunities for educational engagement with the local and
global community; and significant strength in at least one discipline or one
General education encompasses the first and second of
these: a sound foundation in written and verbal communication and qualitative,
quantitative analysis and reasoning, and literacy in information resources; and
a solid breadth of knowledge, intellectual capabilities, and understanding.
General education is a part of a liberal arts education, but the latter - as
exemplified by the BA degrees offered by IU's Colleges and Schools of Arts and
Sciences, School of Liberal Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and
Schools of Arts and Letters, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, and
Natural Sciences - aims for greater, and more solid, breadth than the former.
General education may be thought of as being that portion of a liberal arts
education that develops intellectual capabilities and knowledge across
disciplines and that should be a part of every baccalaureate degree offered by
The April, 2004, A Report on the Harvard College
Curricular Review (Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences) in its
section on "General Education" (page 11) noted that
"Different institutions have defined general education in
different ways. Some stress coverage of specific knowledge that every educated
person should have, while others emphasize development of skills that are
essential to the acquisition, communication, and generation of knowledge."
The report goes on to observe that each of these approaches has
merit and they are not incompatible.
Indeed, these two approaches are complementary
dimensions of general education both of which are essential to an Indiana
University undergraduate education. In the knowledge dimension, a student must
learn a broad base of foundational knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.
In the intellectual capabilities dimension, a student must learn communication,
quantitative, analytical, and reasoning skills spanning the range of deductive,
empirical, and aesthetic methodologies. Only then can the student bring to bear
relevant knowledge and analytical skills to analyze and understand complex
situations and cogently communicate that understanding to others.
Undergraduate education at Indiana University has long
been characterized by its strength and commitment to the arts, humanities,
foreign languages and diverse indigenous and international cultures, and the
empirical sciences - including the social sciences,
physical and life sciences, managerial sciences, and
Traditionally, general education requirements have
been formulated along the knowledge dimension in terms of fundamental skill
requirements and the long recognized disciplinary groupings of arts and
humanities, social sciences, and natural and life sciences, as in the
Bloomington campus' 1981 ``General
Education Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree'' , in which students
are required to take several courses in each group.
Some IU campuses that have formulated policies more
recently than Bloomington have retained the traditional groupings but given them
more descriptive names, as in the Fort Wayne campus' "The Individual, Culture,
and Society" and "Humanistic Thought" groups, and have added new groupings, as
in the Southeast campus' "Critical Thinking" and "Diversity" groups.
The South Bend campus is currently engaged in carrying
this evolution to its natural end of identifying thematic areas with a
requirement of one course in each thematic area: "Literary and Intellectual
Traditions", "Human Behavior and Social Institutions", "The Natural World",
"Art, Aesthetics, and Creativity", "Diversity in American Society", "Non-Western
Cultures", and "Health and Wellness".
All of these approaches define general education in
terms of the knowledge dimension, although some are more so, e.g., Bloomington's
approach, while others are less so, e.g., Southeast's approach which specifies
intellectual "outcomes" criteria for determining which courses qualify for
inclusion in its new groupings.
The Indianapolis campus, on other hand, in its ``Principles of
Undergraduate Learning'' , has defined its requirements for undergraduate
education entirely along the intellectual capabilities dimension. Its students
are expected to acquire the intellectual skills identified in the "Principles of
Undergraduate Learning" over the whole of their undergraduate career. The
Indianapolis faculty are currently engaged in defining what levels of these
capabilities should be acquired and demonstrated during the first year, during
the middle years, and during the final year.
Of the "Principles of Undergraduate Learning," the
ones that are integral to the general education of beginning undergraduate
students are (1) "Core Communication and Quantitative Skills"; (2) the first
steps toward "Critical Thinking"; (3) the "Breadth" portion of "Intellectual
Depth, Breadth, and Adaptiveness"; (4) much of "Understanding Society and
Culture"; and (5) aesthetic judgment and the University's core value of academic
integrity in "Values and Ethics."
Indiana University Baccalaureate Degrees,
Education Components of
At this time in the University's life, the
purpose of stating a minimal general education requirement for baccalaureate
degrees is to affirm the importance of both the knowledge
dimension and the intellectual capabilities dimension of general
education and to unite them in a shared, distinctive general education program
for Indiana University.
By 2010, every baccalaureate
degree offered by Indiana University should include, as a subset of its general
education requirements, provisions that embody and implement the principles and
requirements described below.
These principles and requirements shall be the norm
for a basic level of general education that will shared by all baccalaureate
degrees. In most instances, schools and campuses will want to adopt stronger
requirements than the basic level describe here. Although a school or campus
could adopt the specific language given below, in most instances schools
and campuses will want to recast these principles and requirements in broader
statements of educational philosophy and principles. Schools and campuses, exercising their respective authority as set forth in the
Constitution of the Indiana University Faculty, may strengthen these
principles and requirements by specifying additional
principles and requirements, levels of courses, additional
interdisciplinary content, intellectual competencies, etc. Schools and campuses may modify these principles and requirements
to take account their unique circumstances and licensing and accreditation
requirements. However, schools and campuses should be aware that modifications
of the norm per se described by the principles and requirements below may
penalize students who transfer from their degree programs to other IU degree
programs. In formulating their requirements, schools and campuses should
be cognizant of their responsibilities under the policies of the University
Faculty Council and the Board of Trustees to strive to facilitate articulation
of courses and degree requirements between campuses for the benefit of students
who transfer between campuses of the University.
- Synopsis: Every IU baccalaureate degree program should require
courses in which students
- to learn foundational concepts, knowledge,
perspectives and skills in communication and qualitative and quantitative
- to learn fundamental ideas, theories,
perspectives, ethics, methodologies, and applications from across the
breadth of the arts and humanities, social sciences and historical and
cultural studies, and natural and life sciences,
- to develop intellectual capabilities for
applying knowledge in critical, reasoned analyses and judgments using
empirical, normative, and logical methodologies appropriately, and
- to develop and hone their writing and
in intermediate and upper level
courses beyond a foundational level.
- Foundations: The following items form the foundations of
knowledge and core communication and quantitative skills for a college
education and should be completed during the freshman year. These
requirements may be fulfilled either by college-level courses or by prior
learning as evidenced by scores on placement and advanced placement exams.
If fulfilled by courses, the courses should be courses that either are
taught on all IU campuses or have equivalents on all IU campuses.
- A student should be able to write coherently and properly.
This requirement will normally and ordinarily be
met through an English composition/writing class at the level of W131 or
higher or a literature course; however, a school or
campus may adopt an alternative approach.
- A student should be able to analyze and handle quantitative
This requirement will normally and ordinarily be
met through a college-level mathematics, statistics, or quantitative
reasoning class that covers significant quantitative concepts and
reasoning above and beyond the level of algebra.
A course whose content significantly overlaps
the Core 40 list of topics for algebra 1 and 2 and geometry is not a
college-level mathematics course; responsibility for determining whether a
course is college-level for this requirement shall, in
accordance with the University's Master Course Inventory Policy, be
vested collectively in the Mathematics Departments of the campuses of
Indiana University. Whether a course is college-level
depends in part upon a campus' admission requirements; if a campus'
admission requirement in mathematics coincides with the Core 40 minimum of
two years of algebra and one year of geometry, then a course such as Math
M125 might be considered to be college-level on that campus. However, if a
campus' admission requirement in mathematics coincided with the Academic
Honors Diploma requirement of two years of algebra, one year of geometry,
and an additional year of higher level mathematics, then a course such as
Math M125 might not be considered to be college-level for that
campus. Examples of courses that would be
college-level for all campuses are A118, M118, M119, K300, and
higher level mathematics and statistics
A school or campus may adopt
an alternative approach, but doing so may penalize students who transfer
from one degree program to another.
- A student should satisfy all other communication, analytical, and
information literacy skill requirements specified for the student's
campus, school, and degree program by the faculty of that campus, school,
and degree program, respectively.
- Intellectual Capabilities and Breadth of Knowledge: Every IU
baccalaureate degree should require college-level courses that
simultaneously develop students' intellectual capabilities and introduce
students broadly to the scholarship, ideas, and methodology of one or more
fields with the disciplinary breadth specified below. To be acceptable for a
general education requirement in this section, a course should demonstrate
through its syllabus, readings, learning
outcomes, and assignments and exams that it both introduces students
to fundamental ideas, theories, perspectives, methodologies, ethics and
applications and moreover aims to develop their intellectual capacity for
applying this knowledge in critical, reasoned, methodologically sound
analyses appropriate to the discipline and subject matter. 3 Academic departments and faculty shall have
the responsibility and shall be held accountable for insuring that their
general education courses continuously meet this standard.
In order to facilitate students' transferring from
one campus to another, whenever possible, the accepted courses should
include courses that either are taught on all IU campuses or have
equivalents on all IU campuses.
- A student should take at least two courses in the Humanities and Arts,
however this group may be described. (For example, this group might be
referred to as the "Humanities and Arts" or as "Literature, Ideas, and the
Arts" or even split into a course in "Literary and Intellectual
Traditions" and a course in "Art, Aesthetics, and Creativity." Regardless
of how this requirement is formulated, the courses should be in different
departments, disciplines, or thematic areas.
- A student should take at least two courses in the Social and
Behavioral Sciences. This grouping might be described in many ways, such
as the "Social and Behavioral Sciences" or "The Individual, Society, and
the World" or "Human Behavior and Social Institutions." Regardless of how
this requirement is formulated, the courses should be in different
departments, disciplines, or thematic areas.
- A student should take at least 5 credit hours in the Physical and Life
Sciences, including at least one laboratory or field experience course.
This grouping may be described in many ways.
- A student should take at least one course that is either (i) a study
of a culture other than the student's own culture or a study of the
diversity within the student's own culture, (ii) a foreign language at the
sophomore level or higher, or (iii) an international experience.
- To further strengthen the student's writing abilities, at least two of
the courses used to satisfy the preceding four requirements in this
section should contain significant writing components, or one of the
courses should be an intensive writing experience, or the student's degree
should require a capstone research writing experience in either the major
or an interdisciplinary integrative course.
- Other Provisions:
- Students should complete these requirements, except for any capstone
writing experience, prior to their junior year, except in cases of personal
or programmatic exigencies and in cases of international experiences.
- For all requirements except the Physical and Life Sciences requirement,
all courses used to satisfy the requirements must count at least 3 credit
hours toward the completion of a baccalaureate degree, except that courses transferred from other institutions on
quarter systems as 2 credit hour courses may be used to satisfy these
- Only courses in which a student receives a grade of C- or better may be
used to satisfy these requirements. The reason for this grade requirement is
that the overall goal of this general education policy is for every Indiana
University baccalaureate student (i) to learn "fundamental ideas, theories,
perspectives, methodologies, ethics and applications" and (ii) to develop
her/his "intellectual capacity for applying this knowledge in critical,
reasoned, methodologically sound analyses appropriate to the discipline and
subject matter." A student who earns less than a C- will not have achieved
this goal. (A school or campus may weaken this
requirement, but doing so may penalize students who transfer from one degree
program to another and may undercut the school's or campus' effort to
demonstrate the efficacy of its general education program for purposes of
- Normally, no course should be used to satisfy
two or more of these requirements, except that a course may satisfy both the
writing requirement in the Intellectual Capabilities and Breadth of
Knowledge section and one other requirement in that section. A school or campus may grant exceptions to this for
particular, interdisciplinary courses.
- Although the names used for the categories of
courses are usually associated with groups of disciplines within Schools and
Colleges of Arts and/or Sciences, this does not mean that the courses used
for those requirements have to be within Schools and Colleges of Arts and/or
Sciences. The courses may be in any school, but they need to meet the normal
standards of those disciplinary groups. For instance, a course taught in a
School of Music or Fine Arts or a School of Journalism might qualify to be
an Arts and Humanities course. A course taught in a School of Business,
Education, Public and Environmental Affairs, etc., might qualify to be a
Social Science course. A course taught in a School of Health, Environmental
Affairs, Physical Education, etc., might qualify as a Physical and Life
- Within a school, the elected Faculty Policy Committee shall have primary
authority for resolving disagreements within the school concerning the
appropriateness of courses for satisfying these requirements; if that
committee is unable to resolve a disagreement, then the Dean of the school
shall have authority to resolve the disagreement. For a campus, the elected
Faculty Council shall have primary authority for resolving disagreements
between units on that campus concerning the appropriateness of courses for
satisfying these requirements; however, if the Faculty Council is unable to
resolve a disagreement, then the Chancellor of the campus shall have the
authority to resolve the disagreement. In the event of a disagreement
between units on one campus and units on another campus or in a multi-campus
school about the appropriateness of a course for satisfying these
requirements, the University Faculty Council shall have primary authority
for resolving the disagreement; however, if the University Faculty Council
is unable to resolve the disagreement, then the Senior Vice President for
Academic Affairs shall have authority to resolve the disagreement.
Note: These requirements would apply only to Indiana University baccalaureate
degrees. They would not apply to Purdue University degrees offered on the
Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and other campuses.
All students on all campuses, regardless of whether
they are pursuing Indiana University or Purdue University baccalaureate degrees,
must fulfill all general education requirements of their respective campuses.
of the Indiana University Faculty", sections 2.2.D, 2.2.E, 2.4.A.5, and 2.4.A.6.
sections 2.2.D and preamble of 2.4.
each course used for requirements in this section must demonstrably both
introduce "students to fundamental ideas, theories, perspectives, methodologies,
ethics and applications" and aim "to develop their intellectual capacity for
applying this knowledge in critical, reasoned, methodologically sound analyses
appropriate to the discipline and subject matter", prior learning as evidenced
by placement and advanced placement exams will not normally satisfy the
requirements in this section. However, if a student earns credit with a grade of
C- or better for course by transfer or by examination
that would otherwise satisfy a requirement in this section, then the credit by
transfer or examination will suffice to satisfy the requirement.