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What are Essential Learning Outcomes?

Essential learning outcomes describe what every undergraduate should know and be able to do upon graduation, regardless of major. In order to achieve that goal, students need to be given opportunities to acquire and practice the knowledge and skills identified as “essential” in both their general education and in their disciplinary majors or programs of study.  

The selection of these outcomes has been a subject of discussion in a University committee for several years, and is currently under discussion as part of the Strategic Plan (goal one).  In principle, the university has chosen four essential outcomes for the time being:

  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Critical thinking

These outcomes, and their assessment, are being phased in over time.  As of the Fall of 2014, assessment methods have been chosen for Written Communication and Critical Thinking.