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General Education system changes learning outcomes and tags

The new learning outcomes required for General Education (photo/onu.edu)

The new learning outcomes required for General Education (photo/onu.edu)

Recently, the ONU general education requirements went under a change. The General Education requirements have always had learning outcomes, which represented the skills and knowledge that ONU felt was important to all students regardless of their major. Now the school has decided to change certain outcomes and get rid of tags. 

The change happened in Spring 2016 after the outcomes were reviewed after a five year period of time. After reviewing the outcomes, ONU decided to do away with some learning outcomes, and just change others. The University also decided to review the tag system as well. They found that a more direct system would be beneficial to all. 

Previously, there were seven learning outcomes for students to complete under the General Education system. Now, there are ten, with a slight difference in requirements. Before, students finished an outcome by completing two tagged classes that fell under that outcome. 

Under the new ten outcomes, the University decided to assign one tagged class to each outcome, which benefit both the students and faculty. Instead of researching for classes with multiple tags, students can search for one class that meets a particular learning outcome. For faculty, they can advise students in which classes to take without having to see how many tags a course has. 

Although the new changes to the General Education requirements seem to be very simple, the new system itself underwent an 18 month approval process. The decision is a curricular issue so it went through the faculty as a whole. It first went through the University of General Education Committee, then the University of Academic Affairs Committee, on to the University Council, and finally through the University faculty altogether.

Julie Hurtig, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, explained how the new change was not considered lightly.

It had a definite political movement as it went through an approval process with the campus. We had much discussion across all colleges to gather that input as we were going along because it is something that affects all of us. It affects us as students, it affects us as faculty advisors, it affects us as alumni looking back on what skill set the institution was able to impart upon us as we went out and became professionals.”

As this new system affects students the most, there seems to be no complaints on the new changes. This is no surprise as it cuts back the amount of confusion students had when completing General Education.

Business Management student, Carmen Angus, is happy with the changes.

I think the new system is easier to understand and achieve and it will help our advisors help us pick the right classes to take.”

Throughout the upcoming year, students may find their general education requirements complete as the tagged classes they took carry over into the new learning outcomes. Current students will likely have no cause for complaint, as well as incoming students who experience the new straightforward General Education requirements.