Undergraduate General Education Policy

General education is the component of the undergraduate curriculum devoted to those areas of knowledge, methods of inquiry, and ideas that the Purdue University North Central academic community believes are fundamental and common to all well-educated individuals. General education provides knowledge and understanding of the world, which serves as the basis for continued learning.

On December 10, 2010, following the recommendation of the General Education Committee, the Faculty Senate of Purdue University North Central adopted the Essential Learning Outcomes, formulated by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) through their program entitled LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise).

The Essential Learning Outcomes

Beginning in school, and continuing at successively higher levels across their college studies, students should prepare for twenty-first-century challenges by gaining:

Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

  • Through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts
    Focused by engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring

Intellectual and Practical Skills, including

  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Written and oral communication
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Teamwork and problem solving
    Practiced extensively, across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance

Personal and Social Responsibility, including

  • Civic knowledge and engagement—local and global
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
    Anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges

Integrative and Applied Learning, including

  • Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies
    Demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems

Note: This listing was developed through a multiyear dialogue with hundreds of colleges and universities about needed goals for student learning; analysis of a long series of recommendations and reports from the business community; and analysis of the accreditation requirements for engineering, business, nursing, and teacher education. The findings are documented in previous publications of the Association of American Colleges and Universities: Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College (2002), Taking Responsibility for the Quality of the Baccalaureate Degree (2004), and College Learning for the New Global Century (2007). For further information, see www.aacu.org/leap.