Core Education - Students starting Summer 2025 and after

CORE EDUCATION

For students starting in Summer 2025 and after

Core Education at Oregon State University is a shared experience where students gain knowledge and develop skills to pursue their future. Alongside their major, Core Education prepares students to be adaptive, proactive members of society who are ready to take on any challenge, solve any problem, advance in their chosen career and help build a better world. Oregon State delivers Core Education through the Foundational Core and Signature Core.

42-48 Credits

Total credits required to complete CORE EDUCATION.
Students will complete this requirement through the Foundational and Signature Core.

31-35 Credits

Foundational Core
credit requirements.

11-13 Credits

Signature Core
credit requirements. 

Foundational Core

Through the Foundational Core, students develop fundamental skills and a breadth of knowledge that promote lifelong learning and creative problem-solving. Students begin to explore and address complex topics, which will serve them well in any academic or professional endeavor.  

Students will complete each category in the Foundational Core (31-35 Credits). The Foundational Core courses are lower division.

Writing Foundations serves as an introduction to college-level writing and key rhetorical concepts.

Arts and Humanities courses will promote the development of critical thinking and inquiry through the study of the arts and humanities. Students will reflect on the relationship between the course content and their lived experience. Creative expression is a fundamental human activity that results in the production of objects, environments, and experiences that engage the senses, emotion, and/or intellect. The humanities grapple with a range of human experiences through time and across cultures. The arts* and humanities* include knowledge of history, philosophical traditions, major religions, diverse cultural legacies, performing arts, literature, film, the visual arts, and music. 

Quantitative literacy and analysis skills are vital in our information-rich world.  This category provides students with options among algebra, calculus, and statistics courses allowing them to develop critical thinking skills with essential mathematical concepts and models.

This category develops skills related to communication competency from a social science perspective. In this category, the focus of communication is on ways in which verbal and nonverbal messages are crafted and the potential impact these messages could have, media are the different tools (or channels) used to convey those messages, and society refers to the social context of message creation and reception. The knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from this category are integral to best practices in higher learning and are one of the most sought-after skills by employers. The combination of communication and media provides relevance to applications within emerging digital technology in order to use technology effectively, rather than be used by it. To demonstrate communication competence, students will develop and deliver communication products reviewed by both the instructor and co-learners. 

Social Sciences includes courses that concern people and institutions and how they relate with one another. This includes studies of individuals, families, communities, markets, movements, and political structures from the perspective of contemporary social science.  

Scientific Inquiry and Analysis includes two natural science courses, each with a lab. These courses will engage students in the high-impact practice of scientific inquiry and explore generation and uses for scientific evidence. These courses involve developing knowledge of basic scientific concepts, how science works, collaborative group problem solving and science communication to a general audience. Labs accompanying these courses will engage students in the process of science from observation and hypothesis testing through data collection and analysis culminating in communication of results.  

The inequitable distribution of social, economic, and political power in the United States and globally is sustained through systems of oppression, which represent a variety of discriminatory institutional beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices obscure the origins and operations of systemic oppression in daily life, such that this inequitable power distribution is assumed to be the natural order.  
 
The foundational course in the Difference, Power, and Oppression requirement engages students in a lower-division course focusing on critical reflection about the complexity of the structures, institutions, and ideologies that sustain systemic oppression, discrimination, and the inequitable distribution of systemic power and resources within and across communities. Such examinations will enhance and promote responsible, ethical, and anti-racist engagement in our diverse university community and society in the United States and beyond. 
 
 

Signature Core  

Through OSU’s unique Signature Core, students apply their critical thinking skills to seek solutions and take action to make a positive impact in their chosen field and in society. Students will further develop the skills necessary for navigating a complex and interconnected world.   

Students will complete each category in the Signature Core (11-13 Credits)

Through the Transitions category Oregon State University commits to consciously and deliberately supporting students beginning their OSU educational journey. Students will formulate goals and strategies for their personal, academic, and professional growth; identify ways to engage in their communities; familiarize themselves with tools and resources for student success; and understand the common values that guide OSU’s undergraduate education.  

Student surveys suggest that nearly all students list career-related goals as a primary reason they come to college. The Beyond OSU requirement is intended to incorporate career development into the curriculum, thereby ensuring that every student has the skills and knowledge needed to find meaningful work in their field or advance in their current career after completing their academic journey at OSU. The focus of Beyond OSU will be on career preparation activities that prepare students for their post-graduation goals. Beyond OSU will also help students connect their experiences to the career readiness and career advancement skills both employers and universities have deemed necessary to succeed in the working world: the NACE competencies20. 

Beyond OSU is a minimum non-credit requirement, meaning students are not paying additional money to enroll in a course or to take credits to receive education and support the university deems critical to student success. Non-credit requirements are not meant to be a check box or add a burden to students, rather they are ensuring all students get to plan for their future and economic advancement. Beyond OSU I emphasizes educating students on career development concepts related to students’ career goals. Beyond OSU II requires students to gain insights through participating in experiences and apply those concepts to their future goals. 

The advanced Difference, Power, and Oppression requirement is an upper division and field-specific course that engages students in critical reflection on the complexity of the structures, institutions, and ideologies that sustain systemic oppression, discrimination, and the inequitable distribution of systemic power and resources within and across communities. Such examinations will utilize a field-specific focus in order to enhance and promote responsible, ethical, and anti-racist engagement by preparing students to understand and disrupt these systems as they manifest in their field. 

A central goal of this category is to have students wrestle with complex, multifaceted problems, and work to solve them and/or evaluate potential solutions from multiple points of view. Overall, this is a course that is designed to deepen how students think about problem-solving in ways that transcend disciplinary-specific approaches. Specifically, we want to help students achieve transdisciplinary thinking - a method of studying complex problems that integrates ideas from diverse scholarly fields in order to deal with the inherent complexity of some urgent problems of the present human situation (Oxford).   

In response to longstanding campus interest in implementing a teamwork component into general education requirements, Seeking Solutions courses will include interdisciplinary student teamwork as a core component. Teamwork is a prominent component of best practices in general education. In addition, stakeholder groups, notably our industry partners, consistently emphasize that working in groups with disparate others (people with different backgrounds, goals, and priorities) is an area in which students need experience and practice. 

The issues and problems that are the focus of this category should consider the global dimension of the problem, in accord with our goals for learning and general education at OSU. 

Writing Elevation provides students with quality intermediate-level writing instruction, practice, and feedback between the Writing Foundations and Writing Intensive Curriculum (WIC) categories. The courses in this category will also strengthen the connections between writing and students’ chosen field of study. The goal of this requirement is to elevate students’ ability to write within a range of contexts, while also preparing them for their chosen academic discipline and WIC courses.   

Beyond the writing skills and practice gained in WR I and WR II courses, students need to learn to write as members of the discipline or disciplines in which they have chosen to major.  Writing Intensive courses, which are taken in the major, typically in the junior or senior year, introduce students to the genres, purposes, audiences, content, and conventions of writing in the major.  Student writers gain experience with the resources used in their field and the formats and documentation style used to communicate knowledge.   Through inquiry-based writing in the discipline, students gain understanding and knowledge of disciplinary goals and concepts.  Students are encouraged to complete Writing Foundations and Writing Elevation requirements before enrolling in their WIC course. 

Core Education Learning Outcomes, Criteria, and Rationale

Writing Foundations Learning Outcomes

Students in Writing Foundations shall:

  • Write in varied styles with attention to audience, purpose, and genre, incorporating how language use relates to rhetorical situations.
  • Create texts that synthesize multiple viewpoints around a central idea supported with evidence.
  • Evaluate information critically using sources and foundation citation skills.

Writing Foundations Criteria

Courses in Writing Foundations will:

  • Be WR 121Z. This is the only approved course for Writing Foundations, ratified by the Faculty Senate.
  • Be 4 credits (no more, no less).
  • Focus on the writing process, invention strategies, drafting and revision techniques, and peer review.
  • Require frequent student practice in informal writing exercises and formal writing assignments that receive direct evaluation from the instructor.
  • Develop increasingly sophisticated and efficient writing strategies with emphasis on genre. 

  • Define “rhetorical situations” (Learning Outcome #1) as the interconnectedness of audience, purpose, and context that drives written conventions; students should learn how rhetorical situations influence genre, style, and writing choices. 

  • Use “critically” (Learning Outcome #3) as it refers to evaluation of information that determines credibility; considers power, privilege, identity, and diverse ways of knowing; recognizes misinformation; etc. 

Rationale

Writing Foundations serves as an introduction to college-level writing and key rhetorical concepts. Category outcomes build from guidance from OWEAC, AAOT, and other best practices from writing experts at the state and national levels to ensure alignment with transfer partners.

Arts and Humanities: General Learning Outcomes 

Students in Arts and Humanities will:

  • Describe genres, forms, perspectives, events and/or ideas that have shaped and recorded the human experience.   

  • Analyze examples of human expression and/or human perspectives in changing cultural and/or historical contexts.

  • Employ humanistic, theoretical, and/or philosophical methods to explore the human experience. 

Arts and Humanities: General Criteria 

Courses in Arts and Humanities will:

  • Be at the 100 or 200 level.  

  • Range from 3-4 credits.   

  • Introduce the fundamental ideas, practices, and conventions of the arts and humanities discipline.  

  • Provide students with opportunities to apply the fundamental ideas, practices, and conventions of the discipline by producing a creative or interpretive work. Instructors will provide guidance, formative feedback on small-stakes assignments, and summative feedback on larger projects. In order that instructors can provide guidance and appropriate feedback, classes should be capped at 40. Classes that exceed this cap require the support of a Teaching Assistant.   

  • Emphasize critical thinking. Critical thinking entails asking questions, defining problems, examining evidence and sources, analyzing assumptions and biases, contending with complexity, considering other interpretations, and tolerating ambiguity.  

  • Place the subject matter in a historical and/or cultural context. 

  • Encourage students to make connections with their lived experience. 

  • Do one or more of the following: 

    • Compare/contrast attitudes and values of specific historical periods and world cultures. 

    • Examine the origins and influences of ethical or aesthetic traditions. 

    • Explore the conventions and techniques of genres of artistic expression. 

  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, classlevel restrictions, and college and major restrictions.

Rationale

Arts and Humanities courses will promote the development of critical thinking and inquiry through the study of the arts and humanities. Students will reflect on the relationship between the course content and their lived experience. Creative expression is a fundamental human activity that results in the production of objects, environments, and experiences that engage the senses, emotion, and/or intellect. The humanities grapple with a range of human experiences through time and across cultures. The arts and humanities include knowledge of history, philosophical traditions, major religions, diverse cultural legacies, performing arts, literature, film, the visual arts, and music.

Arts and Humanities: Global Learning Outcomes 

Students in Arts and Humanities: Global will:

  • Describe genres, forms, perspectives, events and/or ideas that have shaped and recorded the global human experience.   

  • Analyze the social and/or cultural impact of inequitable systems in relation to the global movement of peoples, ideas, objects, artistic forms, and/or technologies.  

  • Employ humanistic, theoretical, and/or philosophical methods to explore the human experience. 

Arts and Humanities: Global Criteria 

Courses in Arts and Humanities: Global will:

  • Be at the 100 or 200 level.   

  • Range from 3-4 credits.   

  • Introduce the fundamental ideas, practices, and conventions of the arts or humanities discipline.  

  • Provide students with opportunities to apply the fundamental ideas, practices, and conventions of the discipline by producing a creative or interpretive work. Instructors will provide guidance, formative feedback on small-stakes assignments, and summative feedback on larger projects. In order that instructors can provide guidance and appropriate feedback, classes should be capped at 40. Classes that exceed this cap require the support of a Teaching Assistant.   

  • Emphasize critical thinking. Critical thinking entails asking questions, defining problems, examining evidence and sources, analyzing assumptions and biases, contending with complexity, considering other interpretations, and tolerating ambiguity.  

  • Place the subject matter in a historical and/or cultural context. 

  • Encourage students to make connections with their lived experience. 

  • Do one or more of the following: 

    • Compare/contrast attitudes and values of specific historical periods and world cultures. 

    • Examine the origins and influences of ethical or aesthetic traditions. 

    • Explore the conventions and techniques of genres of artistic expression. 

  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, classlevel restrictions, and college and major restrictions. 

Global Emphasis specific Criteria 

  • Examine connections between multiple geographic regions in a way that focuses on the world outside the United States and emphasizes regions beyond Europe. This may include demonstrating connections between a primary region and its surroundings, or may include a focus on multiple geographic regions. No more than one week or equivalent be spent on a US stand-alone topic. 

  • Explain and connect multiple cultures historically and/or in contemporary contexts. 

  • Emphasize multiple perspectives, including those of non-dominant groups outside the US and Europe.  

Rationale

Arts and Humanities courses will promote the development of critical thinking and inquiry through the study of the arts and humanities. Students will reflect on the relationship between the course content and their lived experience. Creative expression is a fundamental human activity that results in the production of objects, environments, and experiences that engage the senses, emotion, and/or intellect. The humanities grapple with a range of human experiences through time and across cultures. The arts and humanities include knowledge of history, philosophical traditions, major religions, diverse cultural legacies, performing arts, literature, film, the visual arts, and music.

Quantitative Literacy and Analysis Learning Outcomes 
Students in Quantitative Literacy and Analysis will: 

  • Identify relevant quantitative variables and their relationship(s) in a problem.  

  • Solve quantitative problems using appropriate mathematical tools.  

  • Demonstrate reasonableness of a solution and describe limitations of method.   

Quantitative Literacy and Analysis Criteria  
Courses in Quantitative Literacy and Analysis will:  

  • Center on mathematical concepts and mathematical reasoning.  This category is not intended for discipline-specific mathematics or statistics courses (e.g. engineering or business statistics), which focus more heavily on applications.    

  • Emphasize mathematical or statistical models and problem-solving strategies.  

  • Be 4 credits.

  • Be at the 100 or 200 level.  

  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, classlevel restrictions, and college and major restrictions. 

  • Contain assessment items requiring students to show their work and explain their reasoning.   

  • Require students to use mathematical terminology, notation and symbolic processes appropriately and correctly.  

  • Require students to use visual representations, such as charts, graphs, and tables, to both communicate and extract information accurately.  

  • Require students to use mathematical tools to complete estimations and calculations. Mathematical tools include technology, algebra, and arithmetic.  

Rationale

Quantitative literacy and analysis skills are vital in our information-rich world.  This category provides students with options among algebra, calculus, and statistics courses allowing them to develop critical thinking skills with essential mathematical concepts and models. This category is not intended to include domains that may be mathematics adjacent (e.g., discipline-based statistics classes).

Communication, Media, and Society Learning Outcomes 
Students in Communication, Media, and Society will: 

  • Identify communication and media processes as they relate to social phenomena. 

  • Describe different forms of communication and media and the degree to which they meet the needs of diverse audiences and contexts.  

  • Apply communication theory to the development and delivery of speech communication products. 

Communication, Media, and Society Criteria 
Courses in Communication, Media, and Society will: 

  • Be at the 100 or 200 level.   

  • Be 3 credits.

  • Be accessible to both lower and upper-division students. 

  • Cap course size: 30 max students per section, except in a recitation format, where the lecture portion is uncapped, with 20 max students per recitation section of the course. 

    • Note: If used, recitation sections must be worth at least 2 contact hours. Course size is limited so that there is time for thoughtful, thorough, and consistent feedback from instructor and peers on student development and delivery of communication products. Needs to be time for the student delivery of communication products themselves. 
  • Include Speech Communication Products: Students are required to develop and deliver a minimum of 2 formal oral communication products.  

    • On Campus learners: At least one delivered to a synchronous audience that includes the instructor and co-learners (on-site and/or remote). By definition, the term synchronous means that the speech communication product cannot be pre-recorded. 

    • Ecampus learners:  At least one delivered to a synchronous audience that includes co-learners (on-site and/or remote). By definition, the term synchronous means that the speech communication product cannot be pre-recorded.  

  • Include theoretical foundations of communication to guide students in the development and delivery of communication products.  

  • Include exploration of societal phenomena (e.g. trends, behaviors, demographics, emerging technologies, etc.) as they relate to communication and media processes and uses. 

  • Incorporate Instructor Feedback: Formal and formative feedback given to the development and delivery of communication products. 

    • Note: Instructors should be giving timely feedback multiple times to students - both formative and summative will be provided. 
  • Incorporate Peer Feedback: Courses should incorporate opportunities for students to critique and provide feedback on classmate works. 

    • Note: Minimum of one time per term of peer feedback. 
  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, classlevel restrictions, and college and major restrictions.

Rationale

This category develops skills related to communication competency from a social science perspective. In this category, the focus of communication is on ways in which verbal and nonverbal messages are crafted and the potential impact these messages could have, media are the different tools (or channels) used to convey those messages, and society refers to the social context of message creation and reception. The knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from this category are integral to best practices in higher learning and are one of the most sought-after skills by employers. The combination of communication and media provides relevance to applications within emerging digital technology in order to use technology effectively, rather than be used by it. To demonstrate communication competence, students will develop and deliver communication products reviewed by both the instructor and co-learners.

Social Science Learning Outcomes

Students in Social Science will:

  • Explain the informal and formal structures and processes of Institutions and human behavior.
  • Describe how quantitative and qualitative data are used to explain human behavior.
  • Characterize your individual role in the structures, processes, or institutions of society.

Social Science Criteria

Courses in Social Science will:

  • Be at the 100 or 200 level.
  • Range from 3-4 credits.
  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, class‐level restrictions, and college and major restrictions.
  • Be introductory courses to a general field or subfield of social science.
  • Require more than explaining the institution for LO #1. The structures or processes must be placed in the context of an institution and human behavior. This outcome recognizes that social science studies the interaction of people with institutions.
  • Focus on the methodology used in the social sciences that allow us to explain and predict human behavior for LO #2, as such students need to understand how we collect and use data. Therefore, we expect courses to use appropriate social scientific methods to collect data and/or analyze or explain social relations and human behavior. For this outcome, we expect courses to at least introduce the concepts of correlation, two variables moving together, and causation, a change in one variable causing the change in another variable.
  • Focus on the students as a participant in the structures, processes, or institutions for LO #3, as opposed to LO #1 which focuses on overall human behavior and its interactions with structures, processes, and institutions. This outcome serves the University's core values of social responsibility, integrity, and accountability.

Rationale

Social Sciences includes courses that concern people and institutions and how they relate with one another. This includes studies of individuals, families, communities, markets, movements, and political structures from the perspective of contemporary social science.

Scientific Inquiry and Analysis Learning Outcomes

Students in Scientific Inquiry and Analysis will:

  • Utilize scientific language, concepts, hypotheses, theories, and laws of basic natural sciences.
  • Apply the cyclical process of science and think critically by constructing consistent explanations and drawing conclusions based on empirical evidence and current scientific understanding.
  • Articulate the consequences and implications of science for society, daily life, and decision-making.

Scientific Inquiry and Analysis Criteria

Courses in Scientific Inquiry and Analysis will:

  • Be 4 credits and lower division.
    • Separate lab and lecture paired courses may be combined to equal 4 credits to satisfy this requirement. If separate lecture and lab classes are used for this requirement, both the lecture and the corresponding lab must be passed to meet the Scientific Inquiry and Analysis Requirement.
  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, class‐level restrictions, and college and major restrictions.
  • Be centered on fundamental scientific concepts, laws, and theories that broadly characterize basic (rather than applied) natural science. Basic science is defined as science seeking to expand knowledge of empirical phenomena, regardless of the short-term application of that knowledge. The immediate goal of basic science is knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
  • Have a lab as described below:
    • A lab is at least one credit of experiential activities that collectively employ the full spectrum of the scientific process from observation to analysis, interpretation, and communication of results. Such activities shall have students use scientific methodology, tools, and techniques (as appropriate to the field of inquiry), develop and/or use qualitative or quantitative observations from either primary or secondary data, and apply science concepts for inquiry into natural systems or phenomena. Students shall make interpretations, draw conclusions that are rooted in empirical evidence, and communicate their results. Lab component must constitute at least 25% of the 4-credit course grade.
  • Explicitly teach the process of science. The process of science is defined as the iterative and objective manner in which scientists gather data about observable natural phenomena using discipline-appropriate research methods, analyze these data, form hypotheses based on the data, and communicate to and work within a global community of individuals and organizations contributing to science.
  • If possible, address how scientific issues impact social and environmental justice.

Rationale

Scientific Inquiry and Analysis includes two natural science courses, each with a lab. These courses will engage students in the high-impact practice of scientific inquiry and explore generation and uses for scientific evidence. These courses involve developing knowledge of basic scientific concepts, how science works, collaborative group problem solving and science communication to a general audience. Labs accompanying these courses will engage students in the process of science from observation and hypothesis testing through data collection and analysis culminating in communication of results.

Scientific Inquiry and Analysis courses must be taken from two different designators consistent with policy. Each course is worth 4 credits but if majors or programs have 5 credit lab science courses already embedded in their curriculum, they may use those 5 credit courses to fulfill the lab science requirement in the GE.

* This category is a fixed 8 credits (4 credits per course).

DPO Foundations Learning Outcomes

Students in DPO Foundations will:

  • Explain how ascribed differences are socially constructed, change over time, and impact our and others’ lived experiences.
  • Articulate– using historical and contemporary examples – how ascribed differences, combined with inequitable distribution of power across cultural, economic, social, and/or political institutions, result in racism and intersect with other forms of systemic oppression.
  • Describe how assets and resilience demonstrated by members of systematically marginalized communities and cultures play a role in dismantling racism and other systems of oppression.

DPO Foundations Criteria

Courses in DPO Foundations will:

  • Be at least 3 credits and be at the 100-200 level.
  • Be capped at 50 students, (larger lectures with recitations capped at 25 are acceptable). Proposed exceptions to class size caps should be justified through the course proposal process and will be reviewed on an on-going basis by the Bacc Core Committee and the Difference, Power, and Oppression Director.
  • Be regularly numbered departmental offerings rather than x99 or blanket number courses.
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect thoughtfully on their own identities and positions in relation to systems of oppression.
  • Focus primarily on Difference, Power, and Oppression in the United States, although global contexts and impacts of the United States are encouraged.
  • Provide illustrations of ways in which structural, institutional, and ideological oppression arise from socially defined meanings attributed to difference.
  • Provide historical and contemporary (last 10 years) examples of difference, power, and oppression across cultural, economic, social, and/or political institutions.
  • Provide examples of ways in which oppression and privilege occur differently along intersecting identities.
  • Incorporate inclusive pedagogy activities and strategies (e.g., low-risk and ungraded, classroom discussion, small group work, debates, idea mapping, readings from diverse voices, contract grading, and labor-based grading).
  • Include learning materials that are authored or created by people of protected status (statuses as defined by OSU’s discrimination and discriminatory harassment policy) that illustrate the resilience of their communities and how these assets are used to dismantle systems of oppression.
  • Require instructors and recitation instructors to have ongoing training and continuing education (at least once every other year or as defined by the DPO director while teaching DPO) in intersectionality and/or other forms of social justice theories. Option for co-teaching with faculty with more expertise in DPO is encouraged as applicable through Memorandums of Understanding.
  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill this category, including prerequisites, class‐level restrictions, and college and major restrictions.

DPO Advanced Learning Outcomes

Students in DPO Advanced will:

  • Analyze how systemic power operates through the ascription of difference to reproduce structural inequities and how they and others in their field of study are positioned in relationship to those systems.
  • Demonstrate, by using social justice theories, how historic constructions of racism and other forms of systemic oppression result in intersecting inequities – crossroads of oppression – experienced in current times (last 10 years).
  • Compare approaches for dismantling racism and other systems of oppression within their field of study with the goal of advancing cultural, economic, social, and/or political equity.

DPO Advanced Criteria

Courses in DPO Advanced will:

  • Be at least 3 credits and be at the 300-400 level.
  • Be capped at 25 students (larger lectures with recitations capped at 25 are acceptable). Proposed exceptions to class size caps should be justified through the course proposal process and will be reviewed on an on-going basis by the Bacc Core Committee and the Difference, Power, and Oppression Director.
  • Be regularly numbered departmental offerings rather than x99 or blanket number courses).
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect thoughtfully on their own identities and positions in relation to systems of oppression.
  • Have as their central focus the study of the inequitable distribution of power within the framework of particular disciplines and course content.
  • Be taken within the major or in the student’s field of study. Field of study can be defined as a course that relates to a student's major and/or future career.
  • Provide illustrations of ways in which structural, institutional, and ideological oppression arise from socially defined meanings attributed to difference.
  • Provide historical and contemporary (last 10 years) examples of difference, power, and oppression across cultural, economic, social, and/or political institutions.
  • Focus primarily on Difference, Power, and Oppression in the United States, although global contexts and impacts of the United States are encouraged.
  • Incorporate inclusive pedagogy activities and strategies (e.g., low-risk and ungraded, classroom discussion, small group work, debates, idea mapping, readings from diverse voices, contract grading, and labor-based grading).
  • Must include learning materials that are authored or created by people of protected status (as defined by OSU’s discrimination and discriminatory harassment policy) that illustrate the resilience of their communities and how these assets are used to dismantle systems of oppression.
  • Require instructors and recitation instructors to have ongoing training and continuing education (at least once every other year or as defined by the DPO director while teaching DPO) in intersectionality and/or other forms of social justice theories. Option for co-teaching with faculty with more expertise in DPO is encouraged as applicable through Memorandums of Understanding.

Rationale

The inequitable distribution of social, economic, and political power in the United States and globally is sustained through systems of oppression, which represent a variety of discriminatory institutional beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices obscure the origins and operations of systemic oppression in daily life, such that this inequitable power distribution is assumed to be the natural order.

The Difference, Power, and Oppression requirement engages students in critical reflection specific to their field of study on the complexity of the structures, institutions, and ideologies that sustain systemic oppression, discrimination, and the inequitable distribution of systemic power and resources within and across communities. Such examinations will enhance and promote responsible, ethical, and anti-racist engagement by preparing students to understand and disrupt these systems as they manifest in their field.

Transitions Lower Division Learning Outcomes

Students in Lower Division Transitions will:

  • Construct goals and individualized strategies for personal well-being, academic success, and professional development.
  • Practice community-building approaches that allow one to engage in society.
  • Identify institutional resources and tools necessary for student success and well-being.
  • Reflect on how their plans connect to OSU’s General Education and the institutional mission.

Transitions Upper Division Learning Outcomes

Students in Upper Division Transitions will:

  • Create and implement goals and individualized strategies for personal well-being, academic success, and professional development.
  • Evaluate community-building approaches that allow one to engage in society.
  • Identify institutional resources and tools necessary for student success and well-being.
  • Reflect on how their plans connect to OSU’s General Education and the institutional mission.

Transitions Criteria

Courses in Transitions will:

  • Be at least 2 credits, graded with letter grading (A-F). Class sizes are to be capped at 35 students (larger lectures with recitations capped at 35 are acceptable). Prerequisites or discipline-specific offerings for Transitions courses must not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories.
  • Be offered at the lower division (100) and upper division (300) level. Students who are in their first postsecondary education after high school will enroll in the lower division courses, whereas students who have attended other higher education institutions and are further along their educational journey will enroll in the upper division courses.
  • Introduce common technological tools and campus resources and students will critically consider and utilize tools and resources related to their individualized goals.
    • e.g., tools including learning management systems, curriculum mapping, career development, student engagement platforms, and resources such as academic success, tutoring, co-curricular high impact practices.
  • Include guidance, instruction, and materials for personal well-being. Students will reflect on multiple aspects of well-being, including, but not limited to mental health and financial literacy.
    • e.g., health behaviors, living in a diverse community, self-discovery, and growth mindset .
  • Engage students in career exploration process and students will identify potential career goals and relevant actions they can take towards those goals.
    • e.g., clarifying values, interests, strengths, and researching potential career fields, online career development exploration, personal interest inventory.
  • Engage in inclusive community-building approaches, and students will engage in at least one interaction to develop students’ community while attending OSU.
    • e.g., Inclusive Communities module, low-risk and ungraded learning activities, classroom discussion, small group work that encourage leadership skills, interpersonal skills, cross-cultural awareness.
  • Introduce the mission and values that guide undergraduate education at OSU, and students will articulate how general education serves those values.
    • e.g., academic success habits, academic integrity, purpose of general education, Land/Sun/Sea/Space grant designations, Tier I Research institution.
  • Include centrally approved learning materials created by experts within those areas at OSU.
    • e.g., mental health modules created by CAPS, and financial literacy.
  • Require instructors to engage in training developed by experts, the Baccalaureate Core Director, and/or the Center for Teaching & Learning to ensure instructors are approaching the centralized curriculum in a similar manner.

Rationale

Through the Transitions category Oregon State University commits to consciously and deliberately supporting students beginning their OSU educational journey. Students will formulate goals and strategies for their personal, academic, and professional growth; identify ways to engage in their communities; familiarize themselves with tools and resources for student success; and understand the common values that guide OSU’s undergraduate education.

Beyond OSU I: Prepare Learning Outcomes

Students in Beyond OSU I will:

  • Illustrate how their OSU and related experiences connect to career readiness and career advancement skills.
  • Apply life-long career development concepts through the creation of career relevant artifacts.

Beyond OSU I: Prepare Criteria

Courses in Beyond OSU I will:

  • Be at a minimum a non-credit requirement that students take to complement for-credit courses. Transcript visible non-credit requirements help to round out a student’s education to demonstrate career readiness and career advancement skills. Colleges and programs with for-credit courses that meet the criteria and learning outcomes are eligible to have their specific course fulfill this category. Those credits count toward the 180 credits needed to graduate.
  • Demonstrate, as a non-credit course, that students have spent 7-10 hours to complete this requirement, whereas a for-credit requirement institutionally must meet 30 contact hours per credit.
  • Require First year students to follow the sequence – Transitions, Beyond OSU I, Beyond OSU II (therefore Transitions must be completed before taking this course). It is strongly recommended that transfer students also follow the sequence, however, they may take Beyond OSU and Transitions at the same time.
  • Allow for-credit courses that satisfy the Learning Outcomes and Criteria for both Beyond OSU I and Beyond OSU II to be combined within the same course.
  • Require students to create artifacts related to the students’ career goals and interests. These can include resume/CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profiles, personal statements, portfolios, or teaching philosophy.
  • Emphasize the NACE Career Competencies and how students are building these through coursework, research, clubs, student employment, experiential learning, and other life experiences.
  • Emphasize educating students on career development concepts related to students’ career goals.

Beyond OSU II: Engage Learning Outcomes

Students in Beyond OSU II will:

  • Apply career development concepts to relevant artifacts from engagement in a career related experience or activity.

Beyond OSU II: Engage Criteria

Courses in Beyond OSU II will:

  • Be at a minimum a non-credit requirement that students take to complement for-credit courses. Transcript visible non-credit requirements help to round out a student’s education to demonstrate career readiness or advancement skills. Colleges and programs with for-credit courses that meet the criteria and learning outcomes are eligible to have their specific course fulfill this category. Those credits count toward the 180 credits needed to graduate.
  • Demonstrate, as a non-credit course, that students have spent 7-10 hours to complete this requirement, whereas a for-credit requirement institutionally must meet 30 contact hours per credit.
  • Require first year students to follow the sequence – Transitions, Beyond OSU I, Beyond OSU II (therefore Transitions must be completed before fulfilling the Beyond OSU requirement). It is strongly recommended that transfer students also follow the sequence, however, they may take Beyond OSU and Transitions at the same time.
  • Allow for-credit courses that satisfy the Learning Outcomes and Criteria for both Beyond OSU I and Beyond OSU II to be combined within the same course.
  • Require students to gain insights through participating in experiences that can include but are not limited to: site visits, career fairs, job shadowing, informational interviews, internships, undergraduate research, alternative spring break, or other experiential learning opportunities, capstone experiences.
  • Provide students the opportunity to reflect on career focused experiences either by connecting their experiences inside and outside the classroom to the NACE competencies and their future goals or by updating their career artifacts based on their experiences in Beyond OSU.

Rationale

Student surveys suggest that nearly all students list career-related goals as a primary reason they come to college. The Beyond OSU requirement is intended to incorporate career development into the curriculum, thereby ensuring that every student has the skills and knowledge needed to find meaningful work in their field or advance in their current career after completing their academic journey at OSU. The focus of Beyond OSU will be on career preparation activities that prepare students for their post-graduation goals. Beyond OSU will also help students connect their experiences to the career readiness and career advancement skills both employers and universities have deemed necessary to succeed in the working world: the NACE competencies.

Beyond OSU is a minimum non-credit requirement, meaning students are not paying additional money to enroll in a course or to take credits to receive education and support the university deems critical to student success. Non-credit requirements are not meant to be a check box or add a burden to students, rather they are ensuring all students getto plan for their future and economic advancement. Beyond OSU I emphasizes educating students on career development concepts related to students’ career goals. Beyond OSU II requires students to gain insights through participating in experiences and apply those concepts to their future goals.

Seeking Solutions Learning Outcomes

Students in Seeking Solutions will:

  • Analyze a complex, multi-faceted issue that is resistant to a simple solution, including the scope of the problem, identifying and defining its causes, and impacts on a diverse variety of stakeholders.
  • Evaluate the consequences of different approaches or solutions to a complex, multi-faceted issue.
  • Develop a communication plan or product to explain the problem or its potential solutions to one or more identified stakeholder group or other “real world” audience.
  • Demonstrate skills that enable effective collaboration through interdisciplinary teamwork in one or more of these learning outcomes.*

*requires that this outcome is assessed

Seeking Solutions Criteria

Courses in Seeking Solutions will:

  • Curriculum Requirements:
    • Have no prerequisites.
    • Be restricted to students with Junior or Senior standing.
    • Not double count for major requirements.
    • Require recertification for a course to remain in the Seeking Solutions category by requiring enrollment of <=50% majors, averaged over the previous 2 years.
  • Course Content:
    • Be current societal/planetary issues of global relevance
    • Require syllabi to incorporate substantial content or approaches from both of these broad areas of study and inquiry:
      • Biophysical (aka Natural) Sciences or Engineering.
      • Social Science and Human Behavior or Arts and Humanities.
  • Course structure:
    • Require interdisciplinary student teamwork and must be supervised by a trained Instructor (see Training, below).
    • Set group size at 4-7 students.
    • Have class size, credit hours, and recitations (optional) that can accommodate at least 30 minutes of supervision and mentoring per week per group.
    • Have groups that should consist of students from different disciplines and majors, to the extent practicable.
      • Alternatively, students can explore an issue through different (perhaps assigned) disciplinary lenses.
  • Training:
    • Course Developers and Instructors, including Graduate Teaching Assistants, will be required to complete training prior to teaching a Seeking Solutions course. The curriculum for the training will be developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning along with experts in group learning facilitation and transdisciplinary education in consultation with a committee of faculty from the Colleges. The training will cover the purpose of the Seeking Solutions category, transdisciplinary teaching approaches22 for non-majors, and group learning facilitation and assessment23. Group learning facilitation training will need to include specific guidance for online learning environments. Training could also include skills for communication with diverse, non-academic audiences.
  • Professional Development:
    • Course Developers, Instructors, and Graduate Teaching Assistants are encouraged to organize and attend professional development events in order to share approaches and best practices for delivering Seeking Solutions courses.
  • Category Coordination:
    • We recommend a designated Seeking Solutions Program Coordinator to organize trainings, serve as a resource for course developers and instructors, and serve as a nexus for faculty who seek knowledge partners and co-instructors for their courses. The Coordinator will work with Colleges to identify incentives for faculty to lead smaller and field-based courses, as well as support needs for Seeking Solutions training, course development, and course offerings.

Rationale

A central goal of this category is to have students wrestle with complex, multifaceted problems, and work to solve them and/or evaluate potential solutions from multiple points of view. Overall, this is a course that is designed to deepen how students think about problem-solving in ways that transcend disciplinary-specific approaches. Specifically, we want to help students achieve transdisciplinary thinking - a method of studying complex problems that integrates ideas from diverse scholarly fields in order to deal with the inherent complexity of some urgent problems of the present human situation (Oxford).

In response to longstanding campus interest in implementing a teamwork component into general education requirements, Seeking Solutions courses will include interdisciplinary student teamwork as a core component. Teamwork is a prominent component of best practices in general education. In addition, stakeholder groups, notably our industry partners, consistently emphasize that working in groups with disparate others (people with different backgrounds, goals, and priorities) is an area in which students need experience and practice.

The issues and problems that are the focus of this category should consider the global dimension of the problem, in accord with our goals for learning and general education at OSU.

The complexity of requirements for this category, including training for course developers and Instructors, Indicates the need for a Coordinator position comparable to the WIC and DPO Directors. In addition to coordinating training and support, the Seeking Solutions Coordinator could be a resource for faculty interested in team-teaching, review of course content, or other collaborations for activities in this gen ed category.

Writing Elevation Learning Outcomes 
Students in Writing Elevation will: 

  • Construct rhetorically-informed texts that adapt to new writing situations, audiences, and relevant knowledge domains. 

  • Synthesize diverse perspectives in complex conversations using critical analysis and genre-appropriate writing styles and conventions.  

  • Integrate critically-evaluated sources in knowledge-domain-specific documents and arguments.

Writing Elevation Criteria 

Courses in Writing Elevation will: 

  • Be 3 credits, as ratified by the Faculty senate. 

  • Include quality writing instruction, practice, and feedback 

  • Be at the upper division level. 

    • Upper-division rationale: as dictated by the AAOT/CTM and also because this category was intended to strengthen the connection between intermediate writing and a student’s major. Offering courses at the upper division allows students more time to solidify their major and reduces the circumstances in which a student would be required to take an additional Writing Elevation course if they change majors. 

  • Map directly to a knowledge domain that links to appropriate WIC course(s). A course may apply to more than one knowledge domain. 

    • WE courses must be WR-designated and taught by faculty with expertise in teaching general education, knowledge-domain-level writing courses that transfer into multiple disciplines. 

  • Not create unreasonable barriers for students seeking to fulfill these categories, including prerequisites, class-level restrictions, and college and major restrictions. 

  • Can have a pre-req of WR 121Z only, no other pre-reqs are permitted. 

  • Provide concepts and guidelines for determining effective communication within a specific area or knowledge domain, including conventions of that field. 

  • Require frequent student practice in informal writing exercises and formal writing assignments that receive direct evaluation from the instructor. 

  • Focus on the writing process, invention strategies, drafting, peer review, and revision techniques in a specific knowledge domain.

  • Include instruction on knowledge-domain-specific citation tools and information sources.

Rationale

Writing Elevation provides students with quality intermediate-level writing instruction, practice, and feedback between the Writing Foundations and Writing Intensive Curriculum (WIC) categories. The courses in this category will also strengthen the connections between writing and students’ chosen field of study. The goal of this requirement is to elevate students’ ability to write within a range of contexts, while also preparing them for their chosen academic discipline and WIC courses.

 

WIC Learning Outcomes

Students in WIC will:

  • Develop and articulate content knowledge and critical thinking in the discipline through frequent practice of informal and formal writing. 

  • Demonstrate knowledge/understanding of audience expectations, genres, and conventions appropriate to communicating in the discipline.

  • Demonstrate the ability to compose a document of at least 2000 words through multiple aspects of writing, including brainstorming, drafting, using sources appropriately, and revising comprehensively after receiving feedback on a draft.

WIC Criteria

Courses in WIC will:

  • Criterion 1
    • Writing intensive courses shall use student writing as a significant approach to learning.
    • To meet this criterion, courses shall:
      • Give students regular and frequent opportunities to write, including both graded and ungraded writing.
      • Include at least one paper that addresses a controversial question and that asks students to integrate information from more than one source.
      • Require at least 5,000 words (including drafts, in-class writing, informal papers, and polished papers); 2,000 words of this total should be in polished papers which students have revised after receiving feedback and criticism.
      • Restrict enrollments to manageable size (ideally no more than 20 students).
    • Ungraded writing could include course journals; in-class writing focusing on a particular problem, concept, or reading; short (one page or less) summaries of readings; short lists of questions or answers to questions, and the like. Whatever their form, such short (and usually) unrevised assignments ask students to write about what they read and about what they hear in class. This writing could be simply recorded as turned in (or not), or it could be graded quickly on some sort of + (top quality), or 0 (acceptable), - (incomplete) scale.
    • Graded writing could include academic essays, position papers, microthemes, responses to cases, and the like. Students should expect to revise graded writing based on feedback and criticism.
  • Criterion 2
    • Writing intensive courses shall base a significant part of the grade on evaluation of writing.
    • Grades for papers should form at least 30% of the overall grade, with at least 25% of the overall course grade based on evaluation of individually written papers.
    • Collaborative writing projects are appropriate in WIC courses, but individually written papers which have been revised after feedback must also be a significant part of the grade. Writing intensive courses may also use various tests or quizzes which do not involve writing.
  • Criterion 3
    • Writing-intensive courses shall focus on content related to the major disciplines and be taught by faculty knowledgeable about that discipline.
    • A writing intensive course should be a course, or sequence of courses, in the discipline and integral to the degree program. The course should have a structured syllabus with disciplinary content and an enrollment of students who interact with each other and with their professor on a regular term schedule. Part of the learning in a WIC course occurs when students share, discuss, and respond to each others' written work in the context of the common course content over a period of time.
    • Writing intensive courses are not English courses or grammar and punctuation courses; they are discipline courses which use writing tasks to help students learn.
  • Criterion 4
    • Writing intensive courses shall discuss writing issues pertinent to that discipline, as such issues apply both academically and professionally.
    • In determining the course content for a writing intensive course, instructors should also include some discussion of how writing is used by graduate/professionals in that particular discipline. Thus a writing intensive course in engineering should include discussion of the writing done by working engineers, and discussion of what makes that writing effective or convincing. In some fields, this discussion might apply to the kinds of writing done in graduate school.
  • Criterion 5
    • Writing intensive courses shall be upper division.
    • The WIC requirement must total 3 or more credit hours. In the case of a department whose WIC requirement is satisfied by a series of courses, WIC credit will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the entire sequence.
    • Ideally, WIC courses are restricted to 20 students. If anticipated enrollment is greater than the ideal maximum number of students, please explain how faculty will manage the work load.

Rationale

Beyond the writing skills and practice gained in WR I and WR II courses, students need to learn to write as members of the discipline or disciplines in which they have chosen to major.  Writing Intensive courses, which are taken in the major, typically in the junior or senior year, introduce students to the genres, purposes, audiences, content, and conventions of writing in the major.  Student writers gain experience with the resources used in their field and the formats and documentation style used to communicate knowledge.   Through inquiry-based writing in the discipline, students gain understanding and knowledge of disciplinary goals and concepts.  Students are encouraged to complete Writing I and Writing II requirements before enrolling in their WIC course.