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General Education

General Education

A Reach Toward Excellence

Effective Fall 2019; Updated Fall 2021

The General Education Program at Delaware State University is predicated on the University’s definition of the educated person.  Delaware State University, through its General Education curriculum and its specialized major curricula, provides a set of academic experiences designed to produce within students the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that empower them to solve problems, clarify values, secure and sustain meaningful professions and careers, and embrace learning as a life-long process.  Thus, Delaware State University aims to graduate an educated person possessing the following characteristics:

  • Fundamental skills in communication, computation, and critical thinking necessary for life-long learning.
  • A sense of self-dignity and self-worth.
  • An ever-expanding capacity for appreciating, understanding, and sympathizing with the human condition in all its variations of cultural, social, racial, ethnic, moral, and physical diversity.
  • Knowledge and skills necessary for meaningful and productive living.
  • A desire to know more about one’s environment and the global perspective.

The General Education Program is the University’s commitment to providing breadth and depth to students’ academic, cultural, social, moral, ethical, and physical development during their undergraduate experience.

The General Education Program recognizes that teaching and learning embrace several bodies of knowledge, skills, and sensibilities that combine to form the whole student.  Therefore, at Delaware State University the goals of the General Education Program are divided into those areas of study that best describe the experiences that all students are required to complete in order to complement those experiences that the specialized curriculum in each major program of study provides.


The following goals of General Education speak to breadth, integration, and scaffolding of knowledge, skills, and sensibilities that are inherent in the mission of the University.  The goals of General Education are the following:

  1. General Education should focus on the essential attitudes and behaviors that promote reflection and encourage life-long learning, wellness, and engagement with ideas, issues, and new experiences.
  2. General Education should foster the development of critical thinking; curiosity about the social and natural worlds in which we live; appreciation for the complexities of knowledge and tolerance for ambiguity; and a capacity for attaining perspective on one’s own life through self-examination and the study of others.
  3. General Education should engage students in activities that strengthen their ability to read, write, speak, listen, and think effectively.
  4. General Education should provide students with opportunities to examine and reflect upon moral and ethical problems and issues.
  5. General Education should enable students to use technology in order to access and manipulate information competently.
  6. General Education should enable students to understand and appreciate the ways social and cultural differences and similarities structure human experiences and knowledge – in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.  As an important aspect of General Education, students should understand multicultural dimensions of the world in which we live, especially the experiences of people of African descent.
  7. General Education should emphasize study in breadth and encourage students to explore the ways disciplined inquiry in the major can shed light on broader issues in their own lives and to render service to humanity.

Components of the Program

The General Education Program at Delaware State University consists of a Core, Breadth Areas, Senior Capstone Experience, and corresponding five educational constructs (assessed through the 5Cs rubrics). 

The Core

Include courses that all students must complete because they are fundamental to all learning and basic to the mission of the University.  The Core provides students with the knowledge and habits of mind that they will need in order to accomplish their academic goals in all major programs.  A grade of “C” or better is required in all Core courses.

Core Course # Core Course Name Credits
XXXX-191 University Seminar I 1
XXXX-2XX Career Accelerator and Leadership  3
ENGL-121 Rhetoric and English Composition I 2
ENGL-122 Rhetoric and English Composition II 2
ENGL-124 Research, Rhetoric and English Composition III 2
ENGL-123 Rhetoric and Speech 3
GLOB-395 Global Societies (Students must have junior status) 3
XXXX-4XX Senior Capstone 3

Course Descriptions:

University Seminar:  XXXX*-191

University Seminar is a two semester, general education course sequence designed to provide students with the essentials for a smooth transition to college life and academic success. Academic skills will be developed. These skills include critical reading, thinking, listening, writing, speaking, and using the library, the Internet and word processing. Values clarification, coping with peer pressures and the impact of a healthy lifestyle will be addressed. Opportunities will be provided for self-evaluation and growth in basic learning strategies as well as personal and career goals. Knowing the history of the University, feeling connected to the institution, and sharing a common educational experience with other freshmen are important goals of this course.

Students entering Delaware State University with sixty (60) credit hours or an associate degree do not have to take University Seminar. Some Departments may advise these students to take the course since they need the content of the departmental component of University Seminar. A grade of “C” or better is required.

* XXXX is the primary code of the department in which the student is majoring. Undeclared majors take UNIV-191. No more than one (1) credit hour of University Seminar I can be used in the GPA and towards graduation. The department chair and/or the advisor will decide which of the courses will count toward graduation.

Global Societies GLOB-395

This course is designed to develop persons with educated and informed perspectives on the world for the twenty-first century. These are individuals who know their world, and who can understand facets of globalism which transcend time, space and place. Factors to be considered include global geography, global themes of the past, the global marketplace, and global political, social and cultural developments. This will enable students to appreciate the past, comprehend the present, and be effective and knowledgeable global citizens for the future. A grade of “C” or better is required. Students must have a minimum of 60 credit hours to register for Global Societies.

Breadth Areas

Include categories of courses from which students must choose a designated number of credit hours that provide breadth and the well-roundedness of a liberal education in the arts, history, literature, other humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and social sciences. Minimum grade requirements for Breadth courses vary by major program. See curriculum sheet.

Breadth Course # Breadth Area Minimum Credits
HIST-XXX History 3
ENGL-XXX Literature 3
XX-XXX Social Sciences 3
XX-XXX Arts/Humanities 6
MTSC-XXX Mathematics 3
XX-XXX Natural Sciences with Laboratory 3

It is important to note that each student and advisor must consult the curriculum and the Across-the-Curriculum plan for specific requirements of their program. Certain honors courses or colloquia may satisfy breadth area requirements.  Consult with the Director of General Education for specifics.

List of courses in the Breadth Areas

Breadth Area Definitions and Student Learning Objectives
The General Education Committee has approved a set of definitions and student learning objectives (SLOs) for courses that are part of the Breadth requirements of the General Education. These SLOs will form the basis for assessment rubrics that will be developed in the near future. All Breadth courses should list the appropriate SLOs on their syllabi and address how their course learning objectives relate to these SLOs.

Five Educational Constructs (5Cs)

5 c diagramThe 5Cs are five dimensions that DSU students should be able to demonstrate by completion of their program of study. These dimensions are distinct, but they also must interact throughout the curriculum from first year through graduation. Graduates from Delaware State University’s undergraduate programs are to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, and problem-solvers in the world’s pluralistic and global societies, some critical concepts should infuse the general education program and major curricula. These 5C outcomes should be linked with research and professional development that lead to the most effective instructional strategies, course activities, and assessments of student learning and program effectiveness.

The 5C concepts that are integrated throughout the general education program and major curricula, and which produce the desirable learning outcomes in students are the following: (1) Civic Engagement; (2) Cognition; (3) Communication; (4) Content; and (5) Creativity  

Since these areas are integrated throughout the curriculum, there will be overlaps between some breadth courses, major courses, and 5C requirements. Therefore, the 5C rubrics will be utilized to assess student learning in all three levels of the general education program. The 5C learning outcomes of general education – should infuse as many other courses as possible.  These outcomes connect general education courses to each other and to the majors.

It is important to note that each student and advisor must consult the curriculum for specific requirements of their program. Certain honors courses or colloquia may satisfy one of these requirements. Consult with the Director of General Education for specifics.

1.     Civic Engagement

College graduates should understand how the various forms of civic engagement such as volunteerism, political activism, environmentalism, and service learning impact the global community.  Students should understand the changing dynamics of a global society which is no longer circumscribed by the boundaries of nations and continents. The world is a global community and students should acknowledge and appreciate the cultural pluralism of this diverse world or society. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of various political and economic systems, and the positive and negative aspects of globalization. College graduates should understand the importance of utilizing self-reflective practices to analyze their lived experiences while identifying the intersections between the larger society and culture.

2.    Cognition

College graduates should be able to move beyond the mere conveying or restating of other’s facts and ideas. Instead, students should be able to reflect upon and evaluate information to formulate new ideas or question existing information while utilizing reasoning and inferencing skills.  Students should be able to analyze and evaluate their own arguments and those of others in order to confirm or deny the accuracy, validity, and reliability of their own reasoning and of the various sources of information.

Students should also be able to conduct disciplined inquiry in problem solving. They should be able to identify a problem, analyze it, determine potential solutions, evaluate the possible outcomes, and implement the solution. Being able to think critically and solve problems is one of the hallmarks of becoming an educated person.

3.    Communication

College graduates should be able to communicate effectively. Students should be able to do the following: comprehend, analyze, interpret, and evaluate various texts; write and speak effectively and correctly; and listen actively to what instructors and peers are saying. Since effective communication skills are essential for success in contemporary society, this outcome should be emphasized and assessed in all components of the general education program. 

College graduates should understand the importance of global communication because their world is no longer restricted by the boundaries of nations and continents. Delaware State University’s legacy as a historically black college enables it to provide students with the unique opportunity to communicate from African-American perspectives.

4.    Content
In order to become productive and contributing citizens in their major field of study, students must have critical content knowledge in the discipline (academic program of study). Students should be able to master concepts critical to understanding and using their discipline effectively in a contemporary society. They should be able to articulate the foundational basis of their discipline’s approach to understanding the human and/or natural world. In their discipline, students should be able to identify and effectively utilize core disciplinary concepts/information. Furthermore, they should be able to integrate this information in a cross-disciplinary manner in order to engage with significant questions and problems.

5.    Creative Thinking
College graduates should be able to utilize a knowledge base that emphasizes the importance of going beyond conventional standards of idea implementation and problem solving. Creative thinking should stress the variety of ways to problem-solve by considering the profound impact of the collaborative effort of teamwork.  

Students should be able to do the following: (a) determine the nature and origin of a problem to determine creative solutions to the problem; (b) collect and analyze data and can proficiently interpret the data and communicate the information to colleagues; (c) assess the advantages and disadvantages of each possible solution; (d) use appropriate team-building skills and conflict resolution strategies to build confidence within the group; and (e) execute the solution. Being able to use creative thinking to solve problems is one of the hallmarks of becoming an educated person.

5C Rubric alignment with General Education Courses 
(Please note: This list is a general guide. Students and Advisors must consult the individual program Across-the-Curriculum Plan for additional course requirements or options.)

Assessment Data Collection System (ADCS) Reports

The Assessment Data Collection System (ADCS) is a homegrown custom application developed by IT representatives to facilitate student learning assessment data collection and reporting for general education rubrics. In most academic programs, these rubrics are also utilized to collect/report on student learning data for core courses in the major. Since its inception in spring 2010, this tool has allowed the Assessment Office, General Education committee, Department Chairs, and instructors to collaborate for an efficient university level assessment process that also drills down to the course and student level. 

ADCS Rubrics Schedule 

Course section assessment submission rates by term 

Fall 2019

Fall 2020

Fall 2021