Overall Approach to General Education Learning Outcomes
The university is committed to assessing within its General Education program six categories of learning outcomes. These include:
- Creative Thinking
- Discovery and Reflection
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Intercultural Knowledge
- Social Scientific Inquiry and Analysis
- Scientific Reasoning
In addition, the university is committed to assessing the following two University Learning Outcomes in both the General Education program and the major programs:
- Effective Communication
- Critical Thinking
The university is committed to measuring the achievement of the program’s outcomes and using assessment as a rationale for program revisions.
These six categories are a distillation and reflection of careful discussion among faculty and staff as to what skills and characteristics ought to represent an Aurora University graduate. What has emerged is a picture of a graduate who demonstrates intellectual and ethical integrity; who is well informed and seeks quality evidence; who reflects critically on values, actions and consequences; who engages with those holding values and perspectives different from his or her own and seeks out alternative perspectives; who participates responsibly in the community and world; and who contributes to a culture of compassion and respect for dignity. Students who demonstrate effective communication and critical thinking can be characterized as those who read and listen critically; who discuss ideas with respect and openness; who pose and pursue meaningful questions in a range of areas; who analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and arguments; who make connections among academic and nonacademic experiences; who use technology responsibly; who collaborate and exhibit creativity; and who write and speak with clarity and purpose.
Finally, there is a commitment within the core curriculum to engage with primary sources, i.e., original writings, research or productions by scholars, experts, artists or thinkers. Interaction with primary sources, rather than other people’s interpretations of them only, marks the entry into the process of inquiry and critical thinking. The ultimate aim is a curriculum grounded in the university’s core values, which provides the kind of transformative education articulated in the university’s mission and vision statements.