University Studies Advisory Committee

Information Literacy


This document provides a description of the Information Literacy component of University Studies. In so doing, it differentiates between common component-level student learning outcomes and discipline-specific course-level learning outcomes, offering examples of both types. The goal is to encourage the development of challenging and varied University Studies courses that share common assessable student learning outcomes, and to outline a clear procedure by which these courses may be proposed and approved.


This component of the University Studies program is designed to foster the development of students' information literacy skills by requiring three information literacy intensive courses: The First Year Experience and two additional information literacy intensive courses, with at least one in the major field of study. The American Library Association has defined information literacy as "a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." Information literacy skills have become crucial for any lifelong learner, in part, due to rapidly changing information technologies and increased access to a variety of information resources. A student's ability to make critical choices about information is essential during his or her college career and beyond. Information literacy is essential in all disciplines and achieving information literacy skills positions students for academic, professional, and personal success.


The following are the Common Student Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy courses. These are aligned with the UNCW Learning Goals. Each course in this category must address all of the Common Student Learning Outcomes for the category, and list these Common SLOs along with course-specific SLOs in the course syllabus. Proposals for inclusion in the category will describe the opportunities which will be provided for students to learn the outcome (readings, class discussion and/or activities, applied projects) and list the specific sources of evidence (papers, projects, quizzes, exams, etc.) that will be used to determine the level of student understanding.

The student will:

  • IL 1. Be able to determine the nature and extent of information needed to solve a problem. [Inquiry; Information Literacy; Critical Thinking]
  • IL 2. Access information effectively and efficiently from a variety of sources. [Information Literacy; Critical Thinking]
  • IL 3. Evaluate information critically and incorporate appropriate information into his or her knowledge base. [Inquiry; Information Literacy; Critical Thinking]
  • IL 4. Individually, or as a member of a group, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. [Information Literacy; Critical Thinking; Thoughtful Expression; Teamwork]
  • IL 5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally. [Information Literacy; Critical Thinking]


Students are required to take 9 hours from this component. (Three hours in First-Year-Experience, and at least six additional IL-intensive hours - at least three hours in the major)