General Education

Checklist and FAQ for Faculty Who Teach GE Courses

Last Updated - January 1, 2019

Pre-Semester Checklist

General Education (GE) course syllabi are required to include two Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) of the individual faculty member's choice. Please complete this checklist before the semester begins.

Post-Semester Checklist

Faculty teaching GE courses are required to use the Canvas assessment system to report assessment data for two (2) ELOs of the faculty member's choice. Please complete this checklist before the semester ends.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the common scoring system for ELOs in the Canvas assessment system?

The available ELO rubrics in Canvas use a scale from 0 to 4. A score of 1 indicates the student has met the faculty member's expectations of a 1000-level (or freshmen-level) course. A score of 2 indicates the student has met the faculty member's expectations of a 2000-level course, and so on. Although each faculty member may have a unique perspective on what the expectations should be for a 1000-level course, this common scoring system will nonetheless provide the GE Committee with valuable information to be used to improve the GE Program. None of the scores will be used to evaluate faculty effectiveness. Similar to most assessment tools, this rubric system has some subjectivity. Please see this as an opportunity to exercise your academic freedom as you determine your own expectations for courses at the 1000-level, 2000-level, etc.

2. How many assessment scores should each student receive, and when should they be assessed?

In previous years, each faculty member has chosen how they report assessment data. Some would report multiple scores from multiple assignments throughout the term. Others would report a single score at the end of the semester based on an overall assessment of the student's performance. To standardize the data collection process, the GE Committee encourages faculty to report one score for each student per ELO toward the end of the semester by only linking one rubric to the Canvas assessment system. If a faculty member decides that reporting multiple scores works best for a particular class, the GE Committee will use the highest score reported when we compile results. Please carefully consider whether your ELOs are best assessed (and reported) through an actual assignment (e.g. a component of a signature assignment), or separate from assignments (e.g. a separate overarching evaluation of a student's performance on multiple assignments). Various acceptable scenarios of how a faculty member might approach this assessment data reporting requirement are available. This is not an exhaustive list; other acceptable scenarios also exist.

3. What are USHE and the LEAP Initiative?

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) adopted the Association of American Colleges & Universities' (AAC&U) initiative called Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP). The LEAP Initiative promotes several teaching and learning principles and practices, and Southern Utah University (SUU) strives to incorporate the LEAP Initiative into students' learning experiences across the university. As professional educators in the USHE system, faculty are encouraged to be familiar with the various components of the LEAP Initiative and incorporate its principles and practices wherever appropriate.

4. What are the SUU Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs)

Among the LEAP Initiative principles are the Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs). SUU, as a whole, has adopted the following 15 ELOs, which include both content area knowledge and generally transferable intellectual and practical skills. SUU's GE Program focuses on introducing all students to all ELOs, and we strive to assess, report, and “close the loop” with respect to student learning in these areas. However, ELOs are not just the domain of General Education; ELOs are university-wide and span the disciplines (majors), where certain ELOs may receive more focus than others in various disciplines. Faculty are encouraged to be familiar with the ELOs so they can incorporate them into curricula at all levels, as well as in educational settings outside of the classroom.

5. What are the SUU Core and Knowledge Areas

SUU's GE Program consists of several courses that have GE status in one or more Core Areas or Knowledge Areas (see the list of all GE courses and their assigned Core Area or Knowledge Area). Each Core and Knowledge Area has specific learning outcomes (CALOs and KALOs). Core Areas and Knowledge Areas are not necessarily owned by any academic program, department, or discipline. All of the Core Areas and Knowledge Areas are defined at the state level except one, Integrated Learning, which is unique to SUU. There is no practical difference between Core Areas and Knowledge Areas except how some may view the Core Areas as spanning across many disciplines.

6. What is the requirement to assess GE Courses' ELOs?

Faculty of GE courses assigned to each Core Area and Knowledge Area are required to report assessment data of two ELOs of the individual faculty member's choice. A tutorial on how to import ELO assessment data into Canvas through rubrics is also available. The resulting assessment data will help SUU determine how to make structural changes to the GE Program and how to support students and faculty in providing the best educational experience possible.

7. What is the GE course syllabi requirement?

Because faculty teaching GE courses are required to report assessment data of two assigned ELOs and at least one optional ELO, faculty are encouraged to design courses that address and assess their respective ELOs. SUU's Policy 6.36 requires faculty to include in their syllabi which ELOs are being addressed and assessed. We recommend that faculty list course learning objectives and ELOs separately when appropriate. A syllabus template (slightly modified from the syllabus policy, Policy 6.36, to reflect General Education Program requirements) is provided.