This page contains information about the Liberal Education Program at UMD. It provides faculty and staff with information needed to understand the Liberal Education Program mission, categories, and current list of approved courses. It also provides details on the Liberal Education Program approval process, including requirements, processes, forms, and tips. The Liberal Education Program is overseen by the Liberal Education Subcommittee. Contact information is provided at the bottom of the page.
A liberal education prepares individuals to lead productive and socially responsible lives in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Liberal education at UMD helps students develop competencies that can be adapted for use in any occupation and by virtually any individual. Liberal education at UMD is not restricted to any particular part of the curriculum but is woven through each student’s course of study, including core requirements and requirements for the major. Liberally educated students are “Prepared, Informed, and Committed.”
The Liberal Education Program consists of 10 categories across three domains:
Part I. Language and Reasoning Skills (9 credits)
a. Writing and Information Literacy -WRIT 1120 (3 credits)
b. Oral Communication and Languages (3 credits)
c. Logic and Quantitative Reasoning (3 credits)
Part II. Knowledge Domain (21 credits)
a. Natural Sciences (6 credits, 2 designators, 1 lab)
b. Social Sciences (6 credits, 2 designators)
c. Humanities (6 credits, 2 designators)
d. Fine Arts (3 credits)
Part III. Key Topics (9 credits)
a. Global Perspectives (3 credits)
b. Cultural Diversity in the US (3 credits)
c. Sustainability (3 credits)
The Liberal Education Program requires a maximum of 39 credits of coursework; however, a single course can be used to satisfy multiple requirements, reducing the total number of credits. The following options are available for designing courses to meet multiple requirements.
All courses currently approved in the Liberal Education Program can be viewed at: http://www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/current/futurelibed.html
Requirements for Approval of a course in the Liberal Education Program
As recommended in the Liberal Education Task Force Final Report (dated 9/4/2009; view full report here), courses approved for liberal education credit must meet the following five criteria:
If approved by the appropriate department, a liberal education course may also be used to satisfy a requirement within the major or minor.
* Key Topics courses offered at the 3000 and 4000 level within the major will not be required to serve a wide spectrum of students.Deadlines
Liberal Education proposal forms may be submitted at any time throughout the year; courses are reviewed on a rolling basis. Proposals must be submitted to the Academic Affairs office by the following deadlines. See below for process and instructions.
*If the deadline date falls on a weekend, the proposal(s) are due the next following business day.
Descriptions & Forms
Liberal Education Program assessment and reporting processes are consistent with the standards adopted by the UMD campus. Assessment is an ongoing process for all programs that uses a 3-year assessment cycle and a related reporting cycle. The Liberal Education Program assessment and reporting dates are as follows:
Having partial data in the first reporting year will demonstrate progress toward campus assessment goals and establish processes to be used in subsequent years.
Assessment: Ongoing, 3-year cycles
Faculty who teach one or more classes in the Liberal Education Program will conduct assessment for each course throughout a category’s 3-year assessment cycle in order to obtain a sufficient sample size. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document for information about course assessment.
a. Faculty are to use the assessment rubric designed for the category’s SLOs. If a course has been approved for two categories, assessment must be conducted for both categories.
b. If more than one faculty member teaches a course, those teaching the course should discuss what the assessment process will entail and who is responsible for tracking assessment results. Any/all faculty teaching the course may conduct assessment during the 3-year assessment cycle.
c. Faculty should keep a few examples of student work from each assessment to describe in reports and at category review sessions.
d. Faculty may choose to download and keep track of assessment results in the “Course Assessment Results Tracking File.” See below under Rubrics and Forms. This is an Excel file that has the necessary formulas built into the template. Data includes:
Note: 4 SLOs are provided in the tracking file, though some categories have only 3 SLOs to report; use the SLO columns in the file that are applicable to the category.
Reporting: 3rd year of the 3-year assessment cycle
August-September: Faculty complete the Assessment Plan form for each course in the category – 1 form/course if multiple faculty teach a course and use the same assessment, or 1 form/faculty/course (separate forms are available for each category, see below under Rubrics and Forms).
May-August: Faculty complete the Assessment Results form – 1 form/course if multiple faculty teach a course and use the same assessment or 1 form/faculty/course (separate forms are available for each category, see below under Rubrics and Forms). If the “Course Assessment Results Tracking File” has been used, provide the values from the “Total/Average” row in the report.
October: Faculty participate in category review session. Bring samples of student work kept from assessment throughout the 3-year cycle.
Rubrics and Forms
Sample course assessment plans (forthcoming)
The Liberal Education Subcommittee is charged with overseeing the campus’ Liberal Education Program. The Liberal Education Subcommittee works with other educational committees to review and strive toward continuous improvement of liberal education at UMD. The subcommittee will report to as well as act on behalf of the Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC). Specifically, the subcommittee will: revise and oversee the course submission process for courses to become part of the Liberal Education Program (LEP); review, accept or reject all courses proposed for inclusion in the LEP; monitor the LEP and make recommendations to TLC relative to issues such as: (a) numbers of courses per category; (b) seat availability; (c) representation of courses at 1xxx-4xxx levels; (d) departmental and collegiate representation, and so forth; monitor the patterns of petitions for substitutions and advise EVCAA for future action and maintain channels of communication with the Assessment Subcommittee.
Membership consists of 12 elected voting members: 2 faculty members from each college (CEHSP, CLA, LSBE, SCSE, SFA), 1 staff, and 1 student; and 2 ex-officio non-voting members: 1 academic advisor from one of the five colleges and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. Here is the current subcommittee membership:
*Jing Bai is unable to serve spring 2016, Mohammed Hasan will represent SCSE in her absence.
For feedback or guidance on the Liberal Education proposals, please contact your representative(s) indicated above. Contact information for individuals can be found using UMD e-mail or the UMD directory. For general Liberal Education inquires, email Nancy Burley firstname.lastname@example.org.