Shanny Luft, Associate Dean, General Education and Honors
Room 206D, ALB
The General Education Program (GEP) provides the framework of a liberal education, equipping you with the knowledge and skills to facilitate intellectual and personal growth, pursue your advanced studies, and improve the world in which you live.
For information on past General Degree Requirements, please refer to the 2011-13 Catalog.
GEP Learning Outcomes
The General Education Program seeks to develop these qualities of global citizenship in four distinct ways. After completing the general education curriculum, you will:
- Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing global society.
- Demonstrate broad knowledge of the physical, social, and cultural worlds as well as the methods by which this knowledge is produced.
- Recognize that responsible global citizenship involves personal accountability, social equity, and environmental sustainability.
- Apply your knowledge and skills, working in interdisciplinary ways to solve problems.
Relationship Between GEP and Degree Types
The GEP applies to all students regardless of degree type (BA, BS, BSN, BM, BFA, and BAS). In addition to the GEP, there are degree requirements for the BA, BS, BM, and BFA which have been integrated into majors. See the Degree Types section of this Catalog.
Foundation Level: Developing Fundamental Skills (10-16 credits)
Courses listed under this category are intended to provide you with the basic skills necessary for intellectual development and to succeed in your studies at UW-Stevens Point, including critical thinking, quantitative literacy, information literacy, written and oral communication, and wellness. All requirements in the Foundation Level must be completed before you reach 60 credits. If not, you will be restricted to enrolling for a maximum of 12 credits each semester until the Foundation Level is complete. Depending on placement, you will complete 10-16 credits in this area, including the following:
First Year Seminar (3 credits)
A First Year Seminar is an academically rigorous foundational course for incoming first year students. The course is designed to introduce critical thinking skills, orient you to the academic community and campus life, and equip incoming freshman with other skills necessary to be a successful student. Fostering intellectual inquiry and self-assessment, this course will help you begin the process of taking responsibility for your education, career choices, and personal development.
All First Year Seminars should focus on topics about which instructors have both expertise and interest, and which are engaging to a general audience of first-year students. The primary function of the First Year Seminar should NOT be to serve as an introduction to a major. Ordinarily, no First Year Seminar may be required for a major. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Describe the key components and purpose of a liberal education and explain how a liberal education will shape your college studies, career, and life .
- Identify key components of critical thinking and information literacy and apply the associated skills within course assignments.
- Identify and apply appropriate skills for college success, as well as appropriate UW-Stevens Point programs, resources, and services designed to support your academic studies.
- Develop an educational plan that demonstrates the responsibility you will take for your own education, including curricular and co-curricular experiences.
* Faculty Senate approved a 5-year phase-in of the First Year Seminar requirement on April 21, 2010. Until the fall semester 2018, if you are not able to take a First Year Seminar, you shall take three additional credits total). These additional three credits are credits at the Investigation Level (24 beyond the 21 credits already required and are not constrained by the 6-credit limit in each category.
Written and Oral Communication (6-9 credits)
Written Communication (3-6 credits):
Introductory writing classes provide an essential foundation of communication skills on which you can build throughout the rest of your university careers and beyond. They develop your skills in analyzing audience, structuring written documents, and understanding and applying the conventions of effective writing. Subsequent writing courses build upon these skills by helping you learn to locate sources, critically analyze information, and synthesize your ideas with those of others to write well-supported academic arguments. They also provide an essential starting point for the more specialized writing you will be expected to do in the future within your field of study.
The Written Communication outcomes will be satisfied by ENGL 101 - Freshman English and ENGL 202 - Sophomore English ENGL 150 - Advanced Freshman English may be substituted for ENGL 101/ENGL 202, with the appropriate placement. ENGL 101 should be taken during your freshman year. ENGL 202 should be taken during your sophomore year and will have a prerequisite of ENGL 101.
Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Compose an articulate, thoughtful, grammatically correct, and logically organized piece of writing with properly documented and supported ideas, evidence, and information suitable to the topic, purpose, genre, and audience.
- Apply your understanding of elements that shape successful writing to critique and improve your own and others’ writing through effective and useful feedback.
Oral communication (3 credits):
Learning to speak effectively is an essential part of a liberal education. However, effective communication in today’s society requires more than the acquisition of oral presentation skills. UW-Stevens Point also expects you to develop skills in using visual communications technologies and other media tools in order to enhance presentations and connect more meaningfully with audiences. The Oral Communication outcomes will be satisfied by COMM 101 - Fundamentals of Oral Communication Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Compose and deliver articulate, grammatically correct, and organized oral assignments using appropriate communication technologies as well as properly documented and supported ideas, evidence, and information suitable to the topic, purpose, oral communication activity/genre, and audience.
- Apply your understanding of elements that shape successful oral communication such as topic, purpose, genre, and audience to critique your own and others’ delivery to provide effective and useful feedback to improve your communication skills.
Quantitative Literacy (0-3 credits)
Quantitative literacy is knowledge of and confidence with basic mathematical/analytical concepts and operations required for problem-solving, decision-making, economic productivity and real-world applications. Such skills are essential for citizens living in today’s global society. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Select, analyze, and interpret appropriate numerical data used in everyday life in numerical and graphical format.
- Identify and apply appropriate strategies of quantitative problem solving in theoretical and practical applications.
- Construct a conclusion using quantitative justification.
All Quantitative Literacy courses have a prerequisite of MATH 90 or higher. To select an appropriate Quantitative Literacy course, check your math placement code.
- If you earned a placement code of 1, then you are placed into MATH 90 and must complete the course before earning 30 credits. If you do not complete MATH 90 prior to earning 30 credits, then you will be restricted to enrolling in a maximum of 12 credits a semester until MATH 90 is completed.
- If you earned a placement code of 3 or 4, then you must select an appropriate Quantitative Literacy course.
- If you earned a placement code of 7, 8, or 9, then you have satisfied the Quantitative Literacy requirement. If you received a placement code of 99, placement has not been determined. You should not register for any Mathematics or Quantitative Literacy course until a placement exam has been completed and a code has been assigned.
- If you do not believe that your placement is accurate, then you may retake the test once, or petition once to participate in an alternate placement process. Contact the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Room B246, Science Building, (715) 346-2120.
Wellness (1 credit)
Wellness is a dynamic process of becoming aware of and making conscious choices toward a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. It is multi-dimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well being, and the environment. Wellness is an essential attribute of a well-rounded, liberally educated person and of strong societies. Understanding the dimensions of wellness and their impact on individuals, families, and societies is essential to being a responsible global citizen. Wellness is a one credit requirement but can be satisfied by a two or three credit course with the Wellness designation. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Assess your own wellness in each of the seven dimensions of wellness and explain how the dimensions and the interactions among them impact your overall personal health and well-being.
- Develop an individual plan for healthy living that demonstrates an understanding of the principles of wellness.
Investigation Level: Understanding the Physical, Social, and Cultural Worlds (21 credits)
Building on the skills and knowledge from the foundation level, courses listed under this category are meant to encourage you to acquire broad knowledge of the world in which you live, as well as the various disciplinary methods by which this knowledge is produced. All courses at the Investigation Level should be designed to serve one of two student populations:
- Survey courses designed to serve all students regardless of major; such courses do not presume academic or disciplinary preparation beyond the Foundation Level.
- Courses designed to serve students in specific majors; such courses presume more advanced background preparation appropriate to the discipline.
Ordinarily, courses in the Investigation Level will not have prerequisites beyond the Foundation Level. You will complete 21 credits in this area, including a minimum of three credits and a maximum of six credits from each category below.
Arts (3-6 credits)
The arts celebrate the human capacity to imagine, to create, and to transform ideas into expressive forms. The arts provide us with a rich record of human cultures and values throughout time. They enable us to understand and enjoy the experience of our senses and to sharpen our aesthetic sense. Courses in the arts examine the process of creativity and explore the artistic imagination or the relationship between artists, their works, and the societies in which their works are produced. The arts challenge us to understand creativity and the distinctive intellectual process of the human imagination. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Describe, analyze, or critique creative works or cultural artifacts that reflect the human desire for beauty, order, or meaning.
- Do at least ONE of the following:
- Identify and explain the relationship between particular traditions or genres of creative expression and their social, historical, or cultural contexts.
- Demonstrate an understanding of creative expression by producing or performing a creative work.
Humanities (3-6 credits)
The humanities explore the fundamental ideas and values shaping cultures and civilization, in life and as represented in the written word, using scholarly approaches that are primarily analytical, critical, or interpretive. By introducing you to concepts and beliefs within and outside your own perspectives, courses in the humanities help you to understand and critically engage a variety of worldviews and the ideas that give them meaning. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity).
- Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs, or values held by persons in situations other than one’s own.
Historical Perspectives (3-6 credits)
An understanding of the past and the methods by which people seek to explain it are essential to finding meaning in the present. By exploring the evolution of human societies-their institutions, ideas, and values-you gain a framework for understanding yourself and the world; and you learn to make connections between history and the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, and the humanities. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Use primary sources as evidence to answer questions about historical change.
- Describe differences among interpretations of the past.
- Analyze institutional and cultural changes in one or more human societies over time.
Social Sciences (3-6 credits)
The social sciences provide you with an understanding of humans and their behavior as individuals and within communities, institutions, and social structures. Courses in this category equip you to contribute to public discourse and function as responsible citizens of your profession and community. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Explain or apply major concepts, methods, or theories used in the social sciences to investigate, analyze, or predict human behavior.
- Examine and explain how social, cultural, or political institutions influence individuals or groups.
Natural Sciences (3-6 credits)
As the progress of our society becomes more dependent on science and technology, our future becomes increasingly dependent upon a scientifically literate population. Individuals today must be sufficiently knowledgeable about scientific facts, science applications, and the process of scientific inquiry in order to make reasoned decisions concerning their use in addressing society’s problems. Courses in this area must contain a laboratory component to help you develop an understanding of scientific inquiry. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Interpret information, solve problems, and make decisions by applying natural science concepts, methods, and quantitative techniques.
- Explain major concepts, methods, or theories used in the natural sciences to investigate the physical world.
- Describe the relevance of some aspect of the natural science to your life and society.
Cultural and Environmental Awareness (0-9 credits)
Courses listed in this area are meant to foster greater awareness of cultural and environmental issues that currently shape today’s world as a means of better preparing you for responsible citizenship. You will complete 0-3 credits in each area below. In many cases, courses offered in this area will fulfill one other requirement in the General Education curriculum at the same time, at the Foundation, Investigation, or Integration Levels.
Global Awareness (0-3 credits)
Global Awareness courses examine the unique cultural, political, economic, intellectual, and/or religious components of societies, countries, regions, and peoples that are distinct from those found within the United States. By learning about these cultures, you can appreciate the key differences and similarities between diverse modes of human life and reach a better understanding of the human condition on a global scale. Moreover, this understanding will prepare you to act thoughtfully and responsibly in a global society. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Identify the key components found within one or more cultures that are distinct from those found in predominantly English-speaking cultures.
- Analyze key forces or processes that contribute to global interconnectedness, and their implications.
- Demonstrate curiosity and empathetic insight about diverse cultural perspectives.
U.S. Diversity (0-3 credits)
U.S. Diversity courses are designed to consider the role of diversity in American life, where diversity is defined to include both individual differences (e.g. personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and other group and social differences (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, class, sexual identity/orientation, religion, ability, or other affiliations). Satisfaction of this requirement will prepare you to act thoughtfully and responsibly as a U.S. citizen in a global society. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Describe how people or institutions in the United States have constructed diverse identities and cultures based on ability, ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, race, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status, etc.
- Explain how individuals or groups in the United States have responded to the experience of discrimination and inequality.
- Demonstrate understanding of and empathetic insight about diverse cultural perspectives in the United States.
Environmental Responsibility (0-3 credits)
Maintaining a sustainable natural environment is necessary to the long-term survival of all organisms, including humans. An understanding of the individual, social, cultural, and natural factors that influence and contribute to environmental sustainability and ecosystem function is, therefore, essential to responsible global citizenship. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Identify interactions between human society and the natural environment.
- Analyze the individual, social, cultural, and ecological factors that influence environmental sustainability.
- Evaluate competing claims that inform environmental debates.
Integration Level: Applying Knowledge and Skills (0-6 credits)
Courses listed under this category are meant to build on the earlier components of the General Education Program, giving you the opportunity to develop, integrate, and apply the knowledge and skills you learned. You will complete 0-6 credits in this area, as well as several additional requirements.
Interdisciplinary Studies (0-3 credits)
Under this category, you are asked to complete one of three options: a single three-credit interdisciplinary course; an Interdisciplinary Certificate; or an Interdisciplinary Major or Minor. Each option encourages you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned in the context of a topic of your choosing, and to do so in ways that facilitate making connections across disciplines. In this way, you learn to recognize that issues can be viewed in multiple ways, and that solving problems requires integrating and harmonizing these perspectives. If you elect to complete a three-credit course option, you shall have a minimum of sophomore standing before enrolling in any Interdisciplinary Studies course.
Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Identify an issue or question related to the interdisciplinary course(s) and describe what each discipline contributes to an understanding of that issue.
- Explain the benefits of being able to combine these contributions.
Experiential Learning (0-3 credits)
You benefit from opportunities to learn by reflecting on experiences beyond your typical classroom activities and by applying the knowledge and skills you gain from traditional courses in new settings. To fulfill this requirement, you will:
- Complete an approved experiential learning project.
- Reflect on the experiential learning project in order to gain further understanding of your university education, and an enhanced sense of one’s personal responsibility as a member of a larger community.
The Experiential Learning requirement may be completed through one of two different options:
- A structured, recurring credit-bearing course or learning experience, and can include (but is not limited to): service-learning courses, internships, externships, practicum experiences, field experiences, student teaching, or credit-bearing study-abroad experiences. If you’re transferring to UW-Stevens Point, you can request to have a previous experiential learning course satisfy the requirement.
- A student-initiated experiential learning activity (ELA) that could be either credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing, and can include (but is not limited to) credit-bearing independent studies, undergraduate research opportunities, creative performances, community service projects, student leadership experiences, or professional development through paid or unpaid work experiences or internships. You must complete the ELA while enrolled at UW-Stevens Point.
All Experiential Learning Activities (ELAs), option (ii) above, must meet the following criteria:
- All ELAs must be coordinated with an ELA Mentor. Any UW-Stevens Point faculty or academic staff (instructional or non-instructional) member may serve as a Mentor for an ELA. University staff with at least a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of experience working with students at a secondary or post-secondary level are also eligible. University staff not meeting these criteria may apply to the Director of General Education for a possible exemption.
- You must meet with your ELA Mentor and complete an ELA Plan form before beginning the activity.
- The ELA Plan must be approved by the Mentor before you begin the activity.
- An ELA must consist of a minimum of 16 hours of service and/or experience.
- You must reflect on your activity through oral and/or written communication with your Mentor.
- The Mentor will evaluate the ELA and record when the ELA has been completed.
Communication in the Major (embedded in each major)
Communication in the Major courses provide you with systematic opportunities to develop oral and written communication skills in the context of your chosen fields, beginning the process of learning to communicate effectively in discipline-specific formats and styles. Departments will designate a minimum of six credits at the 200-level or above within each major to meet the Communication in the Major requirement.
The Communication in the Major requirement may vary substantially between different UW-Stevens Point majors and cannot transfer between majors. Thus, the only way to satisfy this requirement is to complete the Communication in the Major requirement embedded in each major. Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:
- Produce well-delivered and organized presentations or other forms of oral communication with properly documented and supported ideas and evidence suitable to the topic, purpose, and audience, according to discipline-specific standards.
- Create grammatically correct and organized written texts produced through a process of revision and peer critique, with properly documented and supported ideas and evidence suitable to the topic, purpose, and audience, according to discipline-specific standards of written communication.
Capstone Experience in the Major (embedded in each major)
A capstone experience is either a single seminar or a broader culminating experience designed to be offered near the completion of your program of study. It is meant to provide you the opportunity to make connections between the key learning objectives of your major and the General Education Program Outcomes, and to consider how your educational experiences have prepared you for the world beyond the university.
The Capstone Experience in the Major requirement may vary substantially between different UW-Stevens Point majors and cannot transfer between majors. Thus, the only way to satisfy this requirement is to complete the Capstone Experience in the Major requirement embedded in each major. To fulfill this requirement, you will:
- Complete a project that integrates knowledge, skills, and experiences related to those General Education Program Outcomes appropriate to the discipline.
- Demonstrate skills, processes, and resources needed to make a successful transition from college to the world beyond.
Test-Out and Credit-by-Exam Policy
You may test-out and/or receive credit-by-exam for any General Education Program (GEP) course at UW-Stevens Point, except for Communication in the Major and Capstone Experience in the Major.
When you pass an approved test in a GEP course, the requirement to enroll in the course is waived. You don’t earn credit when you test out, but the course applies toward fulfillment of that GEP requirement without enrolling in the course. Each department that offers courses for GEP credit has its own policy for test-out and/or credit-by-exam. Each policy will include:
- Whether you will be testing out of the requirement and/or receiving credit.
- The process for making exam arrangements.
- The type of exam, passing grade, any additional requirements, and whether you can take the exam more than once.
- Applicable fees. Academic departments may charge a fee per request to test-out or receive credit-by-exam for GEP courses. Departments will devise their own exams.
You must check with each department and follow its specific requirements for testing out and/or receiving credit-by-exam for GEP requirement courses. If you receive test-out or credit-by-exam approval for a course that meets multiple GEP requirements, passing the test will satisfy all GEP requirements that are designated for that course, excluding Communication in the Major and Capstone Experience in the Major.
For information on past General Degree Requirements, please refer to the 2011-13 Catalog.