Competencies Across the Curriculum are thematic courses that provide students with a common intellectual experience through which they further develop the interdisciplinary skills acquired through the University Core Curriculum and University Distribution Requirements, thus forming the basis for intellectual and civic capacities. Note that such courses may also fulfill requirements elsewhere in a student’s program of study, either in General Education (except for the University Core Curriculum), the student’s major, or a minor.

As the General Education Committee and the University Curriculum Committee approve courses for fulfilling the Competencies, they will be added to the list that can be found by clicking HERE. Once approved, all sections of the course may be offered in subsequent semesters as fulfilling that particular provision of General Education. The decision to offer the course as fulfilling a Competency Across the Curriculum is made by the department chair in consultation with the dean and provost. Such courses will be indicated in the Master Schedule with two letter designations.

The seven Competencies Across the Curriculum are listed below. For more information about each one, including the rationale for inclusion in the General Education program, the criteria necessary for Competency Across the Curriculum designation, and the forms necessary to request Competency Across the Curriculum designation, click on the INFO button in front of each. To download a pdf document of the guidelines, click on the PDF button in front of each.


KU Faculty: Click HERE to go directly to the download page for the Approval Forms.

  WRITING-INTENSIVE (WI)
QUANTITATIVE LITERACY (QL)
COMPUTER-INTENSIVE (CP)
VISUAL LITERACY (VL)
COMMUNICATION-INTENSIVE (CM)
CULTURAL DIVERSITY (CD)
CRITICAL THINKING (CT)

WRITING-INTENSIVE COURSES

Rationale

A Writing-Intensive course recognizes the contribution of writing as a way of knowing and thinking about course content and provides students with multiple writing opportunities in order to deepen their thinking about such content. Therefore, Writing-Intensive courses are designed to be taught in multiple disciplines. A Writing-Intensive course links students’ writing proficiency with learning about the discipline in which the course is taught, engaging in asking and answering questions in that field of study, and becoming more active participants in academic discourse.

Guidelines

  1. Writing assignments will be an integral part of the course.

  • Students should practice forms of writing typical of the discipline in which the course is taught.
  • Writing assignments should be designed to develop and increase content knowledge.
  1. There will be a required number of papers or words, and assignments will be distributed throughout the course.

  • Students should submit at least 3500 words of formal, graded writing, distributed across at least two assignments.
  • Examples of formal writing assignments may include research papers, analytical essays, position papers, theme papers, essay questions on exams, creative writing, lesson plans, lab reports, mathematical proofs, etc.
  1. There will be opportunities for revision and resubmission.

  • At least one formal assignment should be structured and sequenced so that students will be able to improve their writing skills through practice and revision.
  • Drafts may be read and critiqued by both the instructor and peers; however, the instructor should be responsible for providing the most substantive feedback.
  • Feedback and revision should involve more than just pointing out surface errors.
  1. Writing assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content.  At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on writing assignments.

  1. Informal writing assignments may be incorporated into the course work.

  • In addition to the 3500 words of formal writing, students may also complete writing assignments that are expressive, reflective, or observational in nature, in order for them to offer their perceptions informally and to increase their writing practice.  Blogs and chatroom contributions, such as those employed in online courses, will not be counted toward the formal writing component.  Other assignments submitted to the professor in online courses may count if they meet the basic requirements listed above.

  1. There will be assignment-related instruction and evaluation of papers.

  • Instructors will provide instruction on how to write, conduct research, review, revise, and mark writing assignments.  In addition, instructors will provide guidelines for the ethical use of sources and avoidance of plagiarism.  For example, an instructor may teach directed lessons on research techniques or provide grading rubrics and feedback checklists.

KU Faculty: Click HERE to download the Approval Form for Writing-Intensive courses.

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QUANTITATIVE LITERACY COURSES

Rationale

A Quantitative Literacy course places emphasis on students reasoning quantitatively, rather than simply being exposed to numerical and computational course content. A Quantitative Literacy course may have many means for imparting to students an understanding of how quantitative reasoning can be applied in the world. Quantitative Literacy is the ability to think about the world based on numerical data. This does not refer simply to the ability to perform computations or to cite someone else’s data. Individuals with strong Quantitative Literacy skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and they can communicate those arguments in a variety of formats using mathematical reasoning through words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, and other expressions of quantitative data.

Guidelines

  1. Quantitative Literacy assignments will be an integral part of the course. Examples of Quantitative Literacy assignments include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Interpretation of mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics;

  • Representation of mathematical information graphically, symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally;

  • Using mathematical and/or statistical methods to solve problems;

  • Determining mathematical and/or statistical solutions to problems, with care taken to check and evaluate the results in order to determine reasonableness, identifying alternatives, and selecting optimal results;

  • Recognizing that mathematical and statistical methods have limits;

  • Employing other quantitative analyses and mathematical modeling, including data analysis, related to and/or applied to the particular discipline, such as the calculation of light, color, or sound ratios, and the calculation and analysis of demographic patterns, grade statistics, and accounting statistics;

  • Understanding the relevance of numerical information to real-world problems; and

  • Using numerical information to inform and communicate effectively and accurately.

  1. There will be at least two Quantitative Literacy assignments, and these assignments will be distributed throughout the course.

  1. Quantitative Literacy assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content.  At least 30% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. There will be instruction in and evaluation of Quantitative Literacy assignments as they relate to the discipline in which the course is taught.

KU Faculty: Click HERE to download the Approval Form for Quantitative Literacy courses.

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COMPUTER-INTENSIVE COURSES

Rationale

A Computer-Intensive course provides students with multiple opportunities to use technology to deepen their understanding of course content, going beyond word processing, e-mail, and the Internet. In addition to learning how to use software, a Computer-Intensive course offers ways for students to expand their understanding of the discipline and become active, refined participants in academic discourse. Computer technology is an integral part of modern life. According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), technology can “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.” Furthermore, technology offers a wide variety of learning and communication styles.

Guidelines

  1. Computer-Intensive assignments will be an integral part of the course.

  • Students should practice using technology typical of the discipline in which the course is taught.

  • Computer-Intensive assignments should provide content and technological knowledge and skills important for students to understand and apply technology solutions in the discipline.

  1. There will be at least two Computer-Intensive assignments, and they should be distributed throughout the course.

  • Examples of Computer-Intensive assignments include but are not limited to:

    • PowerPoint presentations;
    • spreadsheets;
    • computer algebra system workbooks;
    • computer programming;
    • database construction and use;
    • Photoshop and Illustrator projects;
    • multimedia productions;
    • statistical software projects, etc.
  1. There will be opportunities for revision and resubmission.

  • Computer-Intensive assignments should be structured and sequenced so that students will be able to improve their technological skills through practice and revision. At least one such assignment must go through a revision process.

  • Drafts may be read and critiqued by both the instructor and peers; however the instructor should be responsible for providing the most substantive feedback.

  • Feedback and revision should involve more than just pointing out surface errors.

  1. Computer-Intensive assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content. At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. Instructors will provide instruction on how to use the technology effectively, efficiently, and ethically to complete the assignments. For example, an instructor may teach directed lessons on features of the technology, provide instruction on evaluative procedures, or explain the ethical/legal aspects of using the software as related to the discipline in which the course is taught.

KU Faculty: Click HERE to download the Approval Form for Computer-Intensive courses.

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VISUAL LITERACY COURSES

Rationale

A Visual Literacy course provides students with multiple visual communication opportunities, enabling students to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st-century media in ways that advance thinking, decision-making, communications, and learning (enGauge, 2002). Unlike a visual instruction course (“studio art or craft”) in which the class is largely devoted to visual production, a Visual Literacy course recognizes the contribution of Visual Literacy as a way of knowing and understanding course content. A Visual Literacy course links students’ visual literacy with learning about the discipline in which the course is taught, engaging in asking and answering questions in the field of study, and becoming more active participants in academic discourse.

Guidelines

  1. Visual Literacy assignments will be an integral part of the course.

  • Students should practice forms of visualization and visual analysis typical of the discipline in which the course is taught.

  • Such assignments should be designed to develop and increase content knowledge.

  1. There will be at least two Visual Literacy assignments that require creating a visual response and/or analyzing a visual artifact, and such assignments should be distributed throughout the course.

  • A Visual Literacy assignment should be discipline specific.

  • Examples of such assignments include, but are not limited to, creating and/or analyzing:

    • charts, diagrams, or maps;
    • illustrations, posters, exhibits, or visual presentations;
    • models or prototypes;
    • drawings, paintings, or sculptures; and
    • photos or videos.
  1. There will be opportunities for revision and resubmission.

  • At least one Visual Literacy assignment should be structured and sequenced so that students will be able to improve their Visual Literacy skills through practice and revision.

  • Drafts may be viewed and critiqued by both the instructor and peers; however the instructor should be responsible for providing the most substantive feedback.

  • Feedback and revision should involve more than just pointing out surface errors.

  1. Visual Literacy assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content. At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. Instructors will provide instruction on how to use Visual Literacy principles effectively, efficiently, and ethically to complete the assignments. For example, an instructor may teach directed lessons on features of the medium, provide instruction on evaluative procedures, or explain the ethical/legal aspects of using the medium as related to the discipline in which the course is taught.

KU Faculty: Click HERE to download the Approval Form for Visual Literacy courses.

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COMMUNICATION-INTENSIVE COURSES

Rationale

A Communication-Intensive course develops students’ abilities to effectively communicate a message to a broad audience using a combination of multiple modes of communication. Communication in the modern world comprises multiple modes that support and enhance the impact and effectiveness of the message. Successful speeches combine aspects of verbal communication, such as word selection, with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, to move an audience whether to inform, persuade, or entertain. An article with supporting visual content and attention to layout, graphics, and font is generally more rich and engaging than one without. Theatrical plays frequently incorporate costumes, music, and set designs to transport the audience into the moment. Students must be able to understand and demonstrate how to combine these modes to meet their personal communication goals or those assigned to them. Students must also be able to reach multiple audiences such as the visually or hearing impaired.

Guidelines

  1. Communication-Intensive assignments will be an integral part of the course.

  • Assignments should emphasize formal communication to reach a public audience.

  • Assignments should be designed to develop, practice, and demonstrate the student’s ability to communicate effectively.

  1. There will be at least two Communication-Intensive assignments, and they will be distributed throughout the course.

  • Assignments should be discipline-specific and combine at least two of the following modes:

  • aural (sound, musical/instrumental performance, etc.);
  • oral (speech, singing, lecture, lesson, etc.);
  • tactile (sculpture, Braille, hands-on demonstrations, etc.);
  • kinetic (acting, dance, gestures, etc.);
  • visual (art, design, information graphics, costume, presentation graphics, sign language, advertisement, video, graphics-based computer program, etc.); and
  • written (research papers, essays, articles, blog postings, Internet pages, etc.).
  1. There will be opportunities for feedback and revision.

  • Communication-Intensive assignments should be structured so that students can improve their communication skills through practice and revision. At least one such assignment should go through a revision process.

  • Drafts may be reviewed and critiqued by both the instructor and peers; however, the instructor should be responsible for providing the most substantive feedback.

  • Feedback and revision should involve more than just pointing out surface errors.

  1. Communication-Intensive assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content.  At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. There will be instruction in and evaluation of Communication-Intensive assignments as they relate to the discipline in which the course is taught.


CULTURAL DIVERSITY COURSES

Rationale

A Cultural Diversity course helps students appreciate differences in the ways that people think by taking an explicitly comparative approach, in both space and time. The research on multicultural education strongly suggests that being attentive to diverse voices and views provides an individual with a better understanding of how social, political, economic, and cultural variables shape our worldview. An emphasis on the fact that there are many ways of knowing prepares students for the complexity of the diverse world in which they will work and live. Cultural Diversity refers to the differences among people in terms of beliefs, customs, values, politics, and experiences. In essence, culture is a worldview; it is both learned and evolved. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, the following: age, education, ethnicity, gender identity, geography, language, nationality, occupation, physical ability, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and socio-economic class.

Guidelines

  1. Interculturally and/or cross-culturally focused assignments (Cultural Diversity assignments) will be an integral part of the course.

  1. Cultural Diversity assignments will be distributed throughout the course. Assignments may be drawn from discipline-based course content that encourages students’ appreciation for and understanding of historical and environmental factors that contribute to cultural differences.

  • Assignments may examine how global, regional, and local factors affect underlying cultural differences.

  • Assignments may focus on the identification, critical analysis, and applied scholarship of cultural diversity.

  1. The course will encourage positive engagement with and/or about individuals of a variety of histories and communities.

  • Assignments and scheduled activities should promote engagement in positive discussions and/or interactions with members of different communities when possible.

  1. Cultural Diversity assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content. At least 30% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. Cultural Diversity courses should discuss and employ, where applicable, discipline-specific ethical standards.


CRITICAL THINKING COURSES

Rationale

A Critical Thinking course fosters the development of higher-level cognitive abilities; that is, intellectual skills that are purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed.  Critical thinking involves the ability to (a) develop clearly articulated arguments, using evidence and/or systematic logical reasoning in support of a conclusion or point of view; (b) identify relevant points of view and prioritize evidence and/or reasons in support of a conclusion; and (c) describe the broader significance or context of an issue and/or apply logic and reasoning to a novel problem or situation.

Guidelines

  1. Critical Thinking assignments will be an integral part of the course.

  • Students should practice forms of critical thinking typical of the discipline in which the course is taught.

  • Such assignments should be designed to develop and increase content knowledge.

  1. There will be at least two Critical Thinking assignments, and they will be distributed throughout the course.

  • Assignments should focus on basic Critical Thinking skills and processes, including logical inquiry, problem solving, decision making, and the scientific method.

  • Assignments should focus on analytic processes and provide experiences in reasoning.

  • Assignments should enhance students’ abilities to assess information, acquire and integrate knowledge, construct relationships, and utilize argumentative skills.

  1. Critical Thinking assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content.  At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.

  1. There will be instruction in and evaluation of Critical Thinking assignments as they relate to the discipline in which the course is taught.