General Education Curriculum Mission Statement: The General Education Curriculum (GEC) of The University of Southern Mississippi is designed to equip its graduates with a broad range of knowledge and skills and the wisdom to deploy them appropriately. In order to build lives of dignity and purpose, university graduates in the 21st century will need to
- analyze and evaluate private, public and professional discourse
- assume leadership roles, making use of effective oral and written communication
- engage their local, national and global communities as responsible citizens
- integrate knowledge across subject matters and disciplines
- approach problems with enthusiasm, energized by a spirit of inquiry
- adapt to professional, technological and social change with flexibility and resourcefulness
- make choices, conscious of intellectual, social and ethical contexts
- see themselves, their communities and their nation in historical context
- assess scientific data and conclusions
- appreciate the arts and their contribution to enlarging the human spirit, and
- collaborate with others to create a humane world
The faculty and administration of The University of Southern Mississippi are committed to providing educational experiences that empower our students not only to meet these challenges, but also to engage the future using the habits of learning acquired during their university education.
General Education Curriculum Oversight
The University of Southern Mississippi Academic Council provides general supervision over the undergraduate academic affairs of the University including the General Education Curriculum. The General Education Committee of the Academic Council is responsible for reviewing and recommending to the Academic Council all courses proposed for inclusion in the university’s undergraduate General Education Curriculum. The committee is also responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of all courses included in the General Education Curriculum according to the policy, procedures and criteria specified in the Academic Council Bylaws. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness provides administrative support to the Academic Council.
General Education Curriculum Student Learning Outcomes: The General Education Curriculum is structured for students to attain specific learning outcomes organized around the nine categories of the General Education Curriculum. Each category is associated with one or more broad learning principles and identifies specific student learning outcomes that are met by all courses within that GEC category.
There are 14 unique student learning outcomes across all nine categories. Because GEC 01, GEC 02, GEC 03, GEC 04, GEC 05, GEC 07, and GEC 09 each have a significant writing component, the two student learning outcomes related to written communication are repeated for each of these categories. Because GEC 08 and GEC 09 each have a significant speaking component, the student learning outcome related to oral communication is repeated for each of these categories. The General Education Curriculum student learning outcomes are:
- Students will develop a topic and present ideas through writing in an organized, logical, and coherent form and in a style that is appropriate for the discipline and the situation.
- Students will use Standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage.
- Students will write a coherent analytical essay of a rhetorical situation or through written communication effectively analyze the components of an argument.
- Students will differentiate the basic concepts in a discipline of science.
- Students will employ the scientific method, interpret scientific data, and reach a plausible conclusion.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to work with real world situations involving fundamental math concepts.
- Students will evaluate major developments in world history, the historical roots of contemporary global cultures, or the literary, philosophical, or religious contributions of world cultures.
- Students will comprehend and proficiently interpret text.
- Students will understand the influence of art, music, theatre and/or dance on culture.
- Students will actively provide their own reasoned judgment of art, music, theatre and/or dance.
- Students will identify theories of human behavior, societal development, human decision making, and group/social processes and apply theories and methodologies to real world situations and current issues and concerns.
- Students will recognize the effects of diversity among individuals or within/among groups/social systems.
Students will find, use, and cite relevant sources of information.
Students will use appropriate strategies to speak effectively in professional, social, or personal contexts.
General Education Curriculum Student Learning Outcome Assessment
All GEC courses are required to be assessed based on the GEC student learning outcomes. An annual GEC assessment report must be submitted by the academic unit. Additionally, selected students may participate in the administration of a national, standardized General Education Assessment Exam.
Writing and Speaking in the General Education Curriculum
Fluency in communication is the hallmark of an educated person. Therefore, the General Education Curriculum emphasizes the development of college-level communication skills of all students.
Writing. Courses in the first five GEC categories require students to write a minimum of 2,500 words. In addition, English 102 requires students to write at least 5,000 words. Each degree plan specifies: (1) an upper-level course that is writing intensive and (2) a capstone. In each of these courses, students are required to write a minimum of 5000 words.
Speaking. Each degree plan specifies: (1) an oral communication course and (2) a capstone. Both of these courses require the successful completion of a minimum of two significant and graded speaking assignments.
Writing and Speaking Resources for Students and Faculty. The University of Southern Mississippi is committed to providing a learning environment that offers enhanced support for strengthening speaking and writing skills. Students have access to individualized assistance with writing and speaking assignments for any course through the university’s Writing Center and Speaking Centers on both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses. Online tutoring is available for distance education students. The centers offer free, personalized assistance at any stage of the process with the goal of helping students become more effective writers and speakers. The Speaking Center also includes a presentation rehearsal studio with the tools and space to rehearse, record and view a presentation. Faculty members have the opportunity to participate in a faculty development seminar designed to enhance student learning outcomes in oral and written communication across the curriculum. Faculty resources for incorporating writing and speaking assignments are also available through the centers.
General Education Curriculum Syllabi
Syllabi of courses in the General Education Curriculum must include a statement or description of: (a) GEC Student Learning Outcomes addressed in the course; (b) course content and related activities; (c) student reading and writing requirements, where appropriate; (d) instructional methods and resources; and (e) student performance standards (including rubric if applicable).
Final Exams or Projects in the General Education Curriculum
All courses in the first six General Education Curriculum categories require a significant final project or proctored final examination.
General Education Curriculum in the Degree Programs
Students should check the degree plan for their major for specific courses that satisfy the GEC requirements.