Educators are all too familiar with the question: But what does this have to do with real life? SNHU is answering this question with the new 45-credit undergraduate General Education Core, which maps course work to learning outcomes that translate into high-demand skills student will apply in their professional and personal lives.
General Education Core courses include introductory course work in such areas as English, math, history, psychology, business and more; they create a foundation for advanced learning in students’ selected disciplines. In designing its General Education curriculum, SNHU referenced the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), an American Association of Colleges and Universities initiative that champions national standards for general education course work.
The core is mapped to these standard essential learning outcomes:
- Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world
- Critical and creative thinking
- Personal and social responsibility
- Integration, application and reflection
General Education Core courses are divided into three levels: Foundations courses are introductory courses in English and math; Exploration courses encompass the humanities, literature, science, information technology, math, economics and philosophy; and the Integration course is the capstone in which students demonstrate what they have learned.
The core includes broader areas of study to better accommodate our online, adult population of transfer students. For example, we will accept transfer credit for most social science courses that fit the general education curriculum even if a particular course is not taught on campus.
SNHU 107 and the New COCE Seminar
The campus core includes required orientation and assessment courses geared toward professionally inexperienced 18- to 22-year-olds plus one-credit outcomes assessment courses. While this core meets the needs of our campus students, adjustments were necessary for our adult learners.
The COCE General Education team modified the core for adult students and will introduce SNHU 107 Success Strategies, an orientation course tailored to COCE students’ needs. It counts as a general education elective for ease of transfer. Key benefits include full-time faculty who collaborate with advisors to provide more holistic support, an introduction to online learning, automated assessments for improving performance, individualized strategies for success, and more.
Additionally, instead of being required to take three one-credit outcomes assessment courses created for campus students, COCE students will take a single three-credit seminar course from related professional areas. This capstone course serves as a final evaluation of the skills the university expects students to be able to demonstrate as they finish the General Education Core. This approach will help students synthesize and reflect on what they have learned. “These courses recession-proof their resumes and map directly to what employers are telling us they need for a 21st-century workforce,” Siciliano said. “These changes also make it much easier for students to receive appropriate credit for transfer courses and to help plan the remainder of their studies at SNHU.”