Assessment at UNCW

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The University of North Carolina Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC). "General Education" is the term used by SACS and other accrediting bodies to describe the part of an undergraduate curriculum that provides a breadth of knowledge across disciplines and competency in key transferable skills and abilities (depth of knowledge is developed in the major fields of study).

The general education program plays a major role in helping students connect and apply the knowledge and experience they acquire at UNCW to the challenges they will face in both their personal and professional lives. The goals of general education are not tied to specific departments or majors, but instead are dispersed across disciplinary borders and nurtured across the whole of undergraduate study. While there is a general education curriculum, called University Studies, that provides a broad foundation for student learning, general education is also thought of in terms of broad learning outcomes, the knowledge and set of abilities that are needed by citizens and workers throughout their lives. Through this lens, general education becomes broader than the "gen ed curriculum" to also include any work within the university experience that helps students cultivate these broad learning outcomes. The goals for each student at UNCW are to:

  • acquire foundational knowledge, theories and perspectives in a variety of disciplines (Foundational Knowledge);
  • engage in rigorous, open-minded and imaginative inquiry (Inquiry);
  • locate, evaluate, and effectively use information by applying a variety of academic and technological skills (Information Literacy);
  • integrate multiple methods and perspectives to critically examine complex problems (Critical Thinking);
  • effectively express meaningful ideas in speech and writing (Thoughtful Expression);
  • demonstrate basic proficiency in speaking, listening, writing and reading in a language in addition to English (Second Language);
  • describe and examine the importance and implications of human diversity (Diversity); and
  • describe and examine the intellectual and ethical responsibilities of active global citizenship (Global Citizenship).

Because of the dual nature of general education, there are two purposes for General Education Assessment:

  • The first purpose is to assess student learning within the University Studies curriculum in order to provide faculty information that can be used for program improvement.
  • The second purpose is to assess student ability levels on the UNCW Learning Goals to assure that students leave the university with the knowledge and skills to be successful in the 21st century.

General Education Assessment at UNCW uses assignments that are embedded in courses, along with common rubrics for most of the Learning Goals. The Learning Goals are assessed on a 3-year recurring cycle. You can read more about the specific undertakings of General Education Assessment here.