University Faculty Council - Educational Policies Committee
General Education Requirements
for Baccalaureate Degrees at Indiana University

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. 2





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 interdisciplinary area.
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 Indiana University.
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, natural physical and life sciences, managerial sciences, and educational sciences.
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,
General 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.
  1. Synopsis: Every IU baccalaureate degree program should require courses in which students
    1. to learn foundational concepts, knowledge, perspectives and skills in communication and qualitative and quantitative analysis,
    2. 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,
    3. to develop intellectual capabilities for applying knowledge in critical, reasoned analyses and judgments using empirical, normative, and logical methodologies appropriately, and
    4. to develop and hone their writing and communication skills in intermediate and upper level courses beyond a foundational level.
  2. Specifics:
    1. 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.
      1. 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.
      2. A student should be able to analyze and handle quantitative information.
        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 courses.
        A school or campus may adopt an alternative approach, but doing so may penalize students who transfer from one degree program to another.
      3. 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.
    2. 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.
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
      5. 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.
  3. Other Provisions:
    1. 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.
    2. 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 requirements.
    3. 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 accreditation.)
    4. 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.
    5. 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 Sciences course.
    6. 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.

Footnotes:

1"Constitution of the Indiana University Faculty", sections 2.2.D, 2.2.E, 2.4.A.5, and 2.4.A.6.
2op. cite, sections 2.2.D and preamble of 2.4.
3Because 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.