Institutional Research and Planning

Institutional Effectiveness:
General Education

Assessment of General Education Competencies

UNCW identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. General education is the foundational component of an undergraduate degree program through which students come in contact with the basic content and methodology of the principal areas of knowledge, such as humanities and fine arts, the social and behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences and mathematics.

At UNCW, General Education is a critical element of all undergraduate degree programs, and the delivery of courses related to general education is shared across a number of academic departments.  The Assessment of General Education is facilitated through inter-office and inter-departmental collaborations, and led by faculty and staff within the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Office of Undergraduate Studies, and the Office of General Education. The expected learning goals that we believe capture the intended college-level general education competencies that UNCW envisions for its undergraduate students are:

  • Global Citizenship
  • Diversity
  • Second Language
  • Thoughtful Expression
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Inquiry
  • Foundational Knowledge

These learning goals represent the skills, knowledge, dispositions and intended student learning outcomes needed to ensure the breadth of learning characteristic of a liberal education at UNCW. Find out more about the UNCW Learning Goals here.

General Education Assessment Cycle

The UNCW Learning Goals are assessed on a cycle. The assessment cycle is not rigid, yet accommodating to allow some flexibility to gather more information, as needed.

The General Education Assessment Process

UNCW has adopted an approach to assessing its learning goals at the University Studies level that uses course-specific assignments that are a regular part of the course requirements. The strength of this approach is that the learners' artifacts are an authentic assessment, a true and direct measure of students' performance. The students' artifacts are collected and scored by trained scorers who use a uniform rubric. Rubric training and calibration exercises are conducted regularly to ensure a fair and unbiased assessment of students' achievement. Aggregate results are shared annually with the campus community, and results are used to improve curricular strategies.

"While the pace of change in higher education can be slow, general education has emerged as a space of innovation, collaboration, thoughtfulness, creativity, and inquiry" (AAC&U, 2018 ). 

General Education Assessment Coordinator

UNCW has a dedicated member of the campus community who oversees the assessment of our General Education Learning Goals. 

Lea Bullard
General Education Assessment Coordinator
Alderman Hall 104 C 5900