Bacc Core Reform (2020-2022)

Bacc Core Reform (2020-2022)

Revision - Phase I - Complete

Following extensive research of the general education curriculum and the collection of feedback from faculty and students, the Baccalaureate Core Ad Hoc Revision Committee developed three examples of curricular templates. The Revision Committee was retired at the end of Spring 2021. Full details of the revision process are outlined below. 

The Revision Process

In Fall 2019, Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) and Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs (Alix Gitelman) hosted listening sessions. Four sessions were held for faculty on the Corvallis campus and one listening session at the Cascades Campus. One session was hosted for students and a student survey was administered.

Several reoccurring themes arose from the listening sessions and student survey:

  • Students were complimentary toward the synthesis courses.

  • Students appreciated the opportunity to learn about other majors as well as interact with students from across campus.

  • Students felt that some of the categories were covered in high school (i.e. HHS 231/241 and WR 121) and requested categories that covered more skills. 

  • Faculty, advisors and students have a difficult time articulating and understanding the value and purpose of general education. 

  • OSU has largest Bacc Core out of all public institutions in the state in terms of categories, we also have nearly 1000 courses approved in the Bacc Core. 

  • Our current Bacc Core creates significant barriers for transfer students, leading to excess credits and student debt because it does not map well to transfer programs. 

  • Some Bacc Core categories have lost identity as learning outcomes overlap.

  • Course development is strongly driven by budget concerns but should be driven by Bacc Core Learning goals. As a result, more courses are added each year without strategic planning and units are competing for enrollment.

  • As courses are added to categories from all colleges, there are more incentives for students to take courses from their major which “double dip” with Bacc Core, so they are not gaining exposure to other subject matter or having an interdisciplinary educational experiences. 

Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs convened and charged the Bacc Core Revision Committee.

Charge: Develop draft templates of Bacc Core/General Education

The revision committee was commissioned in Winter 2020 and met in Spring and Fall 2020. The sixteen-person committee was comprised of representatives from different campuses, modalities, functional administrative areas, all faculty ranks, and students. While solicited, not all colleges were represented. The Committee reviewed the Fall 2019 listening session comments and researched over 40 institutions nationally and internationally (including large R1, land grant, public, private), AACU general education models, and Oregon Transfer Compass in addition to the 2010 Baccalaureate Core Review Committee report.

Project Team: McKenzie Huber – Bacc Core Committee, Rorie Solberg – Bacc Core Committee, Heath Henry – Bacc Core Assessment; Erin Bird – Undergraduate Education; Rebeka Phelps – Ecampus; Ron Reuter – Cascades Campus; John Edwards, Kara Ritzheimer (v. Christopher Nichols) – Liberal Arts; Kate Lajtha – College of Agricultural Sciences; Lori McGraw – Public Health and Human Sciences; Bob Paasch – College of Engineering; Inara Scott – College of Business; Khawater Hussein and Safi Ahmad – Student Members; Mina Carson, Alix Gitelman, Selina Heppell and Dwaine Plaza – Ex-Officio

Reform - Phase II - Complete

A team from OSU attended the Association of American Colleges and Universities summer Institute on General Education and Assessment in June 2021. Following best practices guidance from that experience, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee recommended the second iteration of our reform effort start with a high-level discussion of why we are reforming the Bacc Core and what we hope to achieve with general education at Oregon State University. While the team was mindful of immediate needs such as reducing the credit load and improving transferability, we still needed our new Bacc Core (now Core Education) to focus on OSU’s values and strengths and ensure that our graduates successfully achieve the principles we established. It was important for the Reform Committee to agree on these basic principles before diving into the details of the reform and how to achieve our general education goals. To that end, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee developed a comprehensive charge and commissioned the Baccalaureate Core Reform Committee in Fall 2021.

Committee Members

Member College/Unit
John Edwards, Co-Chair College of Liberal Arts
Lori Kayes*, Co-Chair College of Science
Ivan Arismendi* College of  Agricultural Science
Pat Ball* College of Science, Cascades Campus
Erin Bird Transfer Transitions 
Mary Chuinard College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Brandi Fuhrman Career Development Center
Troy Hall College of Forestry
Laura Hampton Global Opportunities
Heath Henry* Office of Assessment and Accreditation 
Tim Jensen College of Liberal Arts
Kerry Kincanon* University Exploratory Studies Program
Lori McGraw* College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Todd Palmer College of Engineering
Kara Ritzheimer College of Liberal Arts
Patti Sakurai College of Liberal Arts
Inara Scott* College of Business
Hannah Rempel OSU Libraries
Karen Watté* Ecampus
Hunter Calvert Student 
Khawater Hussein Student


*Current or former Bacc Core Committee members

Member College/Unit
Sherm Bloomer Office of Budget and Resource Planning
JoAnne Bunnage Office of Assessment and Accreditation 
Daniel Faltesek* Bacc Core Committee Co-Chair, College of Liberal Arts
Alix Gitelman* Academic Affairs
Erika McCalpine Faculty Senate President, Executive Director of Strategic Diversity Initiatives - Cascades Campus
McKenzie Huber* Baccalaureate Core Director
Nana Osei-Kofi* Difference, Power and Discrimination Director
Sarah Perrault* Writing Intensive Curriculum Director
Selina Heppell Immediate past Faculty Senate President, College of Agricultural Sciences
Kaplan Yalcin* Bacc Core Committee Co-Chair, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

*Current or former Bacc Core Committee members

  1. Review the work of the Baccalaureate Core Ad Hoc Review Committee and codify the requirements for the reform (credit maximum, transfer needs). (Fall 2021)
  2. Review the goals and values of our current Bacc Core and revise to meet the needs of our 21st-century learners and in accordance to our university’s mission and signature elements of the OSU experience. (Fall 2021)
  3. Determine how anti-racism should be incorporated into the curriculum, utilizing recommendations of the Provosts’ Anti-racism Task Force. (Winter 2022)
  4. Revisit the three templates developed by Bacc Core Revision 2.0 Committee and modify each to achieve the goals and requirements identified above. (Winter 2022)
  5. For each alternative, solicit input from the Office of Finance for potential changes to the budget model to create incentives and avoid large disruptions to the teaching community at OSU. Modify templates as needed for feasibility. (On-going)
  6. Develop a presentation and questionnaire that can be tailored for stakeholders including: Colleges, departments and programs, students, community colleges, as well as Faculty Senate, to explain the goals, requirements, and templates. (Winter 2022)
  7. Gather, summarize, and utilize feedback from stakeholders and maintain regular communication on the committee's progress through the Bacc Core website, Faculty Senate newsletters, and Senate presentations. (On-going)
  8. Recommend a plan for voting on a preferred template and recommendations to the Provost. Target date for a Faculty Senate vote is May 2022. (Spring 2022; the vote was postponed and approved in Fall 2022)
  9. Provide advice to the Bacc Core Director and Office of Academic Affairs on the development of a timeline and roadmap for implementation, utilizing faculty feedback. (Next 2 years)

Committee Work and Reports

The Baccalaureate Core Reform Process

  • Student focus – the Bacc Core is for students, and their needs should be the focus of any Bacc Core reform. It is easy for faculty and staff to focus on unit budget or faculty desires, but students need to come first.
  • Follow best practices – There has been a great deal of research on best practices in general education since the Bacc Core was created. Bacc Core reform should follow modern best practices (e.g., National Association of College Employers (NACE) Career Competencies, AAC&U ELO Outcomes).
  • Transfer student outcomes – The Bacc Core needs to be structured to meet the needs of our transfer students. It also needs to meet our legal obligations in this area, especially alignment with Oregon’s Core Transfer Map.
  • Reduction in credits – The Bacc Core has had “credit hour creep” over the years, such that it takes as many as 62 credits to satisfy requirements. This to leads many of our students to have to take more than the 180 credits required for graduation. The committee adopted a goal of 45 credits for the Core.
  • Incorporate signature elements of Oregon State University.
  • Do not let the budget model drive curriculum and pedagogy; the budget should support our mission.
  • The goal of the current committee is to propose a structure for the Bacc Core along with descriptions of its elements. Work on the specific details around implementation will be done by a later committee.

The Bacc Core Reform Committee (BCRC) met for a half-day retreat in October 2021 and biweekly throughout fall and winter terms.

In fall term, the BCRC focused on articulation of the mission and goals of general education at OSU.  The voting membership of the committee were joined regularly by advisory members in deliberation. Structuring the conversations were regular exercises in template building in groups which further refined the stasis points for further discussion. As time and attention are scarce resources, the committee formed workgroups to further focus on key points. They created reports and brought them back to the whole committee, which would then be discussed in greater detail and acted upon.

At the end of fall term, the Mission and Goals workgroup was formed. Through thoughtful discussion and strong group collaboration, the BCRC Mission and Goals workgroup developed and proposed a mission statement and a suite of goals for the Bacc Core. The mission and goals were edited and adopted by the full committee in January 2022. 


Oregon State University's Baccalaureate Core is a universal educational experience for the 21st-century learner that promotes economic, social, cultural, and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation, and the world.

The curriculum strives to develop students’ intellectual capacities and resiliency to be critical agents who transform knowledge into action. Through deep and integrative experiences, OSU’s general education meets students where they are in their educational journey and equips them for meaningful, lifelong learning. Our Baccalaureate Core is designed to foster student potential to innovate and change the world by solving complex problems, adapting to change, and becoming community members in a global society.

Goals for General Education at Oregon State University
  • Foundational Modes of Inquiry and Innovation — students will use multiple modes of inquiry, within and across a variety of disciplines, to develop fundamental skills and breadth of knowledge that promote lifelong learning and creative problem-solving.

  • Social and Environmental Justice — students will examine evidence from a variety of perspectives to grow their cultural and environmental awareness and increase their capacity to enact social and environmental justice.

  • Navigation of a Complex Global World — students will apply skills necessary for navigating a world with multiple perspectives and global interconnectedness.

  • From Here to Career — students will gain professional skills and competencies designed for adaptability, longevity, and integrity in a global workforce.

The Committee co-chairs and the Bacc Core Director, with the assistance of committee members, conducted virtual Roadshows with students, faculty, staff campus experts, college leadership, and other stakeholders (employers, community colleges, alumni). In total, there were 35 roadshows presented to various stakeholders. In these roadshows, the draft templates from the workgroups were presented.  Roadshow attendees were given the opportunity to discuss these curricular options along with other aspects of the Bacc Core. To allow all attendees the opportunity to provide feedback, participants were put into small breakout rooms in Zoom with a committee moderator who took notes. Participants were also sent a feedback form following the roadshow. A recording of the presentation was made available to stakeholders who were not able to participate in a scheduled roadshow and they could provide online feedback. Overall, around 700 people participated in the roadshows.

  • Read the Executive Summary from the Roadshows, including specific questions asked of attendees, data collection, analysis, and reflection.

In late March 2022, based on feedback received during Roadshows, two new workgroups were formed to conduct research and pose recommendations to the committee. The original three workgroups revised their recommendations, too.


In January 2022, the committee formed three additional workgroups to research and make recommendations on specific topics. These topics were based on issues identified by the 2020 Revision Committee that needed to be addressed before a full structural revision could take place.

The workgroups were:

  • Bookends – This workgroup focused on the possibility of a first-year transition course for students and a synthesis or capstone class. These are considered best practices in general education. The committee also examined the integration of career readiness programming into the Bacc Core.

  • Difference, Power, and Discrimination and Anti-Racism – This workgroup considered an update of our Difference, Power, and Discrimination category, with a particular focus on integrating the recommendations of the Anti-Racism Task Force.

  • Writing Intensive Curriculum (WIC) and Writing II – This group focused on examining whether our current implementation of intermediate writing (Writing II) and our capstone WIC requirements were meeting the needs of students.

These workgroups met winter term and each provided a report with recommendations. The full committee then broke into subgroups, each coming up with a draft Bacc Core model.

In late March 2022, based on feedback received during Roadshows, two new workgroups were formed to conduct research and pose recommendations to the committee:

  • Health and Well-being – This workgroup was charged with examining the integration of health and well-being into the Bacc Core, including the current Fitness requirement and other methods of integrating these topics into the Core.

  • Advanced Communication – This workgroup examined the best ways in which to integrate communication skills into the Bacc Core. Such skills show up in best practices for general education and were mentioned repeatedly in the Roadshows.

In its final phase, the committee considered the Roadshow feedback, the subgroup draft templates, and the workgroup reports to influence the development of our final model. The committee broke into three new subgroups to develop models based on the results of the process over five months. At points of convergence among the strikingly similar templates, the final model came together easily. In cases where the models diverged, the committee invested considerable time and energy into reaching the best outcome. In April 2022, the reform committee committed to a final model.

The first version of this document was shared on May 6, 2022. Since then, there have been two Faculty Senate meetings (May 12 and 20, 2022). Following feedback from the Senate meetings, the Baccalaureate Reform Committee considered multiple proposed changes during a rich and thoughtful discussion. We have revised and added to our proposal and these revisions are published in the second version of the reform report, found in the menu bar below. Some items of note are added budget and support information found in the Implementation section. This is the second version of the report.


In an effort to provide stakeholders with relevant and timely information related to our reform, the Bacc Core Reform Committee (BCRC) Co-chairs and the Bacc Core Director (BCD) have developed a comprehensive communication plan. 


Communication Method Frequency Deliverer Stakeholders
Faculty Senate Meetings Meeting Monthly BCRC Co-Chairs OSU *Faculty and Students
Special Session - Faculty Senate Meeting Meeting Special Session, Friday May 20th 3-5pm BCRC Co-Chairs OSU *Faculty and Students, external interested parties 
Faculty Senate Newsletter Email Monthly Faculty Senate Office OSU *Faculty
Roadshows Meeting As requested BCRC and BCD OSU *Faculty, staff and students, community colleges, industry partners, alumni
Bacc Core Reform and latest updates pages from the Bacc Core Website Web Weekly Managed by BCD OSU *Faculty, staff and students, community colleges, industry partners, alumni
Bacc Core Reform Committee Meeting Weekly Committee members **Unit the committee member is representing

*Professional and Teaching Faculty; **Each college and several units across the university have at least one individual represented on the BCRC. We encourage a feedback channel between committee members and their respective colleges and units with progress reports from the committee. We also encourage all colleges, units and stakeholders interested in learning more about the process, templates and engaging in dialog to schedule a roadshow with the BCRC Co-Chairs and BCD. 

Reform Roadshow - Executive Summary

The Baccalaureate Core Reform Committee (BCRC) concluded the Baccalaureate Core Reform Roadshows and analyzed the data and feedback, which was presented to the BCRC. The executive summary of the feedback was made available. This was an interactive opportunity for the BCRC to share the curricular templates, engage in questions, and collect feedback. Thank you to all our stakeholders for their investment in the process. 

Student Roadshows

  • Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Unified Black Council 
  • TOUR Ambassadors
  • Greek Life
  • Campus-wide Student Forum


College and Branch Campus Faculty and Staff Forums

  • Agricultural Sciences and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences 
  • Engineering
  • Public Health and Human Sciences 
  • Liberal Arts (CLA)
  • Science, Forestry Pharmacy
  • Education and Business
  • Cascades Campus
  • Honor's College


College Leadership Meetings

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences 
  • Engineering
  • Public Health and Human Sciences 
  • Liberal Arts
  • Forestry
  • Science
  • Education


University Stakeholders - Internal

  • Assessment Leads
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • Division of Academic Affairs
  • School of Communication - CLA
  • School of Writing, Literature, and Film - CLA
  • School of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies - CLA
  • Academic Advising Town Hall 


University Stakeholders - External

  • Community Colleges
  • Industry
  • OSU Foundation - Information session