Core Education Policies

Core education Policies

Baccalaureate Core Committee Policy Development

*Core Education policies are a work in progress. Current policies as written are subject to change and more policies will be added as the academic year progresses. 

The Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC) serves as the Policy and Process Committee of the Core Education Implementation Initiative. The BCC is a curricular committee of the Faculty Senate, and per their standing rules,

“has the authority to develop and approve strategy, policy and planning” 

as it relates to the Core Education program of Oregon State University. During the 22-23 academic year, this committee has worked to build a policy portfolio that will effectively implement our new Core Education program. The original Bacc Core was not developed with policies, long-term planning, and strategies in place and has lacked strategic leadership. What currently exists, instead of policies, are disparate sets of recommendations. The absence of policies, planning, and strategies has proven problematic for a curricular committee charged with the welfare and success of the university's Core Education program. Many of the policy issues approved by the BCC reflect the operating norms of the committee.

The BCC reviewed several different policy issues and, in some cases, determined not to produce policy results; if appropriate, those results are listed in this document as well. There are generally three kinds of policy and planning issues at hand in developing a new Core Education program: planning for installing the core (expect an update regarding this issue during the first week of March 23), general standards (such as syllabus requirements), and specific questions which depend on the adoption of the curriculum.

This package of policies, as they stand, are primarily related to general standards.

All BCC meetings are public with agendas distributed in advance. Full detailed minutes of BCC meetings are available here.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these policies. Please contact McKenzie Huber, Director of Core Education, or the Co-Chairs of the Bacc Core Committee, Daniel Faltesek and Rene Reitsma.

Policies about Committee Processes

To encourage a variety of perspectives, all course proposals will be reviewed by two Core Education/Bacc Core Committee members, at least one of whom will be outside the proposing college, then discussed by the committee and either approved if they have reached committee standards or sent back. 


  1. All courses participating in Core Education must participate in regular course learning outcome assessment. Failure to assess student learning leads to decertification.

  2. Assessment happens on the level of the course, not the individual section; i.e., all sections of the same course using the same broad type of instrument.

  3. Assessment and Accreditation will provide rubrics, which will be developed in consultation with faculty in those content areas, with the advice and consent of the committee to assist units in assessment.

  4. Units determine which course elements are aligned with particular learning outcomes.

  5. It is possible for a single assessment to align to multiple outcomes.

  6. At the time of submission for course approval, the assessment plan (not the individual questions, papers, presentations, performances, etc.) must be in place.

  7. Assessment data will be collected on a regular basis. Instructors will be notified early in the assessment term that they will need to collect data.

  8. For courses that are offered most terms, assessment will be in a term that is not spring. For courses that meet only in Spring, the Spring term will be the assessment term.

Policies about Courses

Courses will be approved in a single category to encourage focused excellence in curriculum and assessment.

Category-specific educational standards for maximum class size have been established by the Faculty Senate. Variances, when permitted, require a reasonable plan to provide labor to support the course. The Director of Core Education is responsible for managing variance approvals.

For the purposes of course cap policies, the course cap is the combined cross-listed maximum, which includes slash courses.

Course levels in Signature areas are determined by the framework ratified by the Faculty Senate. All courses approved in areas mapped to the CTM will be lower-division.

Courses approved will have their primary purpose of being in the Core Education program, and each learning outcome must be integral to the course and meaningfully assessed.

Syllabi for approved courses will be clearly written from a learner's perspective so that they are accessible to students from any discipline and any background.

The Core Education and Bacc Core programs do not impose any grade minimum requirement distinct from the institution's.

All Core Education courses must use the University Standard Learning Management System for purposes of communication with students, distribution of syllabi/learning outcomes, and accessible grading information. 

Due to the positive impact of professional development on the quality of teaching and student satisfaction, all Core Education instructors should enroll in professional development, to be renewed on a periodic basis. Some areas may require additional, and ongoing, professional development as is described in the category criteria and/or other Core Education policies. Core Education professional development will be provided on an institutional (OSU-wide) basis and will be provisioned to meet campus demand.

Professional development takes on two forms, which are designed to accommodate differences in the complexity and novelty of courses, types, outcomes, expertise, and experience. 

  1. To develop an on-campus Core Education course, the developer(s) will complete the Course Adaptation Design Institute (CADI) experience, for which compensation may be available. E-campus development support will continue to be provided by Ecampus. 
  2. To teach an approved Core Education course, an instructor will complete OSU's Core Education Pedagogical Support and Development program.

In the event that professional development is inadequately provisioned, with the awareness of Academic Affairs, temporary waivers may be granted. 

  • Emergency circumstances which require a temporary waiver may exist but are exceedingly rare (such as the sudden unavailability of an instructor, failure to hire faculty, or loss of situational awareness by a unit are not included in these). 
  • In these circumstances, the Director of Core Education (the responsible party for the waiver) and the Assistant Director of Faculty Development will actively work with faculty across units to find a solution, which may include a temporary waiver, an MOU for support from a different unit, or some other solution.

In an effort to limit costs for students, the Bacc Core Committee (BCC) encourages faculty to adopt OERs for their courses when possible. The BCC will transparently make this recommendation known in several ways:  

1. Include an OER component in Core Ed professional development program(s). 

2. Curriculum Management System for new/change course proposals: If a Core Ed course proposal, the following questions appear:  

  • “For each non-OER/non-freely-available resource, indicate (yes/no) whether or not an effort was made to find an OER/freely-available alternative (with a referral to OSU's 'Open Educational Resources' office for help). (This info is being gathered for informational purposes only)  
  • If "no" then the following statement appears:   
  • "In order to maximize access to quality Core Education, Oregon State University strongly encourages all course designers and instructors to use Open Education Resources (OER) in their courses. Where adequate OER are not available course designers and instructors are encouraged to search for low-cost or no-cost options."  

3. Have the above OER statement on the Core Ed website.

Approvals for variances will be made by the Director of Core Education and the Baccalaureate Core in accordance with the directives of the committee or in consultation with the co-chairs, depending on the nature of the request and/or need for maintaining timely operations.

Core Education Committee Transitions-based Policies 

Policy from the Core Education Committee meeting on January 25, 2024

There is a need for a policy because the structure and content of the Transitions courses are distinct and are required, by the Faculty Senate, to be similar across all experiences. The Core Education Implementation Steering Committee made a number of decisions about how transitions would be provisioned, which are reflected in these policies. Critical judgments regarding curriculum in these policies were made by a Task Force of faculty experts on student development.

  • Policies:
    • All Transitions courses will be titled “Transitions”.
    • The catalog description of all Transitions courses will match that of the centralized offering.
    • Transitions courses will not include course-specific learning outcomes outside of the Core Ed category learning outcomes; any course-specific Learning Outcomes will be placed in a separate co-req class.
    • Transitions courses will be exactly 2 credits.
    • Ten week-long modules have been centrally developed by subject experts for use in Transitions courses; all Transitions courses must include the three centrally developed modules on Mental Health, Building Inclusive Community, and Financial Literacy as they are written; inclusion of additional centrally developed modules is strongly encouraged or rationale must be provided in the proposal in the university curriculum management system for how all category Learning Outcomes and criteria are met.
    • The Mental Health module will be offered in the first five weeks of the term.
    • Transitions courses must use learning resources that are freely available to students and may not require the purchase of any learning materials.
    • All recitations in Transitions courses will be one hour per week.

Policies about Courses Interaction

In Core Education categories requiring more than one course (such as humanities and scientific inquiry), students may only apply one course per subject designator.

A course may fulfill a requirement in the Core Education curriculum and other requirements outside of Core Education (*except for Seeking Solutions). Academic units may restrict the number of times a course may apply toward an academic program. The program may impose its own grade minimum for a Core Education course to apply in a specific academic program.

*Please note for the Seeking Solutions category, the Faculty Senate adopted proposed Criteria 3, which states: Courses in Seeking Solutions will not double count for major requirements.

Policies about Transfer Credits

The BCC's Transfer Course Policy was created in consultation and partnership with Erin Bird, Transfer Transitions Coordinator, and Registrar and Admissions Office members. The Transfer Transitions Coordinator and others provided expert consultation and advice to the BCC and recommended a  balanced approach to articulating transfer courses for General Education that involves the following evaluation decision points:

  • If a transfer course is a direct equivalent* to an OSU course, and the OSU course carries a General Education attribute, then the transfer course will also carry the OSU General Education attribute regardless of the category with which it is affiliated at the sending institution.
  • If a transfer course is a direct equivalent* to an OSU course, and the OSU course does not carry a General Education attribute, then the transfer course will not be awarded an OSU General Education attribute, regardless of whether the transfer course is affiliated with a General Education category at the sending institution.
  • If a transfer course is not a direct equivalent to an OSU course (articulated as Lower Division Transfer - LDT), is transferred from an Oregon community college, and is offered in an approved CTM or AAOT/ASOT category, OSU will award the respective General Education categorical attribute.
  • If a transfer course is not a direct equivalent to an OSU course (articulated as Lower Division Transfer - LDT), is transferred from an institution that isn’t an Oregon community college, is affiliated with a General Education category at the sending institution, and where the course has outcomes similar to OSU’s LOCR-approved outcomes, OSU will award the respective General Education categorical attribute.
  • If a transfer course is not a direct equivalent to an OSU course (articulated as Lower Division Transfer - LDT), is from an institution that isn’t an Oregon community college, and is not offered in the sending institution’s General Education, then the transfer course will not be awarded an OSU General Education attribute.

*Direct equivalency awarded when courses align with all category learning outcomes and with at least 75% alignment of course content.