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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Vol Core begins fall 2022. Therefore, students pursuing graduation requirements in the 2022-2023 academic catalog or later will complete Vol Core requirements. Faculty should begin proposing courses as soon as possible so that approved courses can be incorporated into degree programs for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Please note key dates in the implementation of Vol Core.

Requirements for the Vol Core are described online and will appear in the undergraduate catalog beginning with the 2022-2023 academic year.

Vol Core is similar in some ways to Gen Ed, but is designed to more fully integrate competencies needed by all students into their program requirements. See a side-by-side comparison.

Courses at all levels can be considered. Departments will want to look at the criteria for each Vol Core category to determine whether a particular course might be a good fit.

Credit hours for Vol Core courses may not always be three hours. Some appropriate courses may carry more or fewer than three credit hours, especially in the OC, AOC, AAH, and EI categories.

Some categories have prerequisites that are either required or strongly recommended.

  • Courses in the WC category must have the following prerequisite in addition to any other requirements determined by the department: English 102, 132, 290, or 298.
  • Courses in the AOC category are strongly encouraged to require the oral communication (OC) Vol Core course used in the program (e.g., CMST 210, 240; CE 205; PHIL 244) as a prerequisite. (Note that a course may be approved as either OC or AOC, but not both.)

Yes, but only if the course has been approved under both Gen Ed and Vol Core. Courses previously approved under Gen Ed will not automatically be applied to Vol Core, even if the category names and learning outcomes are the same. Departments wanting courses to count in both will want to look carefully at each category’s criteria to determine the best fit. Proposal forms contain an option to have the course evaluated under one curriculum or both, so the same form may be used if the category name is the same; however, different categories will require different forms.

Courses approved under Gen Ed will not automatically be added to Vol Core. Departments wanting courses to count in Vol Core will want to look carefully at the criteria for each category to determine the best fit and then submit an appropriate Vol Core proposal, noting on the form whether the course has previously been approved for Gen Ed.

  • A course approved under Gen Ed and not Vol Core must continue to be taught following the characteristics under which it was approved whenever it is offered throughout the standard six-year teach-out period, which ends no later than the end of the 2026-2027 academic year.
  • A course approved under both Gen Ed and Vol Core must meet the standards of both during the teach-out period, after which the course is only required to meet the Vol Core criteria.

For more information, please see the Expectations for Phasing out a General Education Course.

Approved courses are normally carried over to subsequent catalogs, although each course is reviewed periodically to ensure it continues to meet the corresponding criteria. Please review the Guidelines for Revising and Removing General Education Courses for more information.

Procedural Questions

Departments are invited to submit a proposal, using forms available on the Undergraduate Council website under the corresponding Vol Core category. If the department wants a course considered for more than one category, then a separate form is required for each.

Individual courses may appear under more than one Vol Core category if the learning outcomes for all of the categories are met. For example, one course could be WC, AH, and EI as well as part of the student’s major requirements.

However, there are exceptions:

  • Courses may apply for either OC or AOC, but not both.
  • No course may be used to satisfy two Expanded Perspectives requirements.

Yes. Departments will want to look carefully at the criteria for categories in each curriculum to determine the best fit for the course. The same proposal form may be used for both Gen Ed and Vol Core if the category name is the same; however, different categories will require separate forms.

Please be aware that the deadline for submitting proposals under the current Gen Ed is October 15, 2020.

On the Volunteer Core Course Proposal Form, the following question is asked for each learning outcome: “What is the assessment plan for this Volunteer Core outcome?” The answer to this question should include:

  1. A description of the student work that will be used to assess each learning objective.
    • The student work may be an exam, an essay, a lab report, a reaction paper, a set of homework problems, a short-answer response provided on a mid-term exam, selected multiple-choice questions from a quiz, etc.
    • If there are multiple sections of the course and the different sections of the course don’t share identical assignments, select student work from each section that as closely as possible resembles the work from the other sections.
    • More than one learning outcome can be assessed by the same student work.  If so, clarify which outcome(s) will be assessed by which part of the student work; e.g., Questions 1-5 are for outcome 1 and questions 10-15 are for outcome 2.
    • The assignment/exam/paper/etc. does not have to be made specifically for the purpose of this assessment. In fact, it is preferable that the student work be an assignment or test that is a normal part of the course.
    • Do not use an extra credit assignment; the work needs to be something that all students in the course or section complete.
    • Do not assess rough drafts; use final versions only.

b. The sampling method to be used for the assessment. The sample should be as representative of the student population in the course as possible. The sampling method used is based on the number of students that are predicted to take the course:

    • Randomly collect at least 20% of the student work from all sections of the course OR work from all students in 20% of the sections of the class.
    • If the 20% sample represents 50 or fewer students, at least 50 samples should be collected.
    • If the course enrollment is below 50, student work from every student in the course should be collected.

Yes. The EI subcommittee is distinct from the N, R, and S subcommittees, so the course must be evaluated by each of the relevant subcommittees. As the EI subcommittee gains experience with the review process, they may be able to streamline the process for these designated courses.

Vol Core course proposals should be submitted as soon as possible. Since this is a new curriculum, courses will need to be approved in time to be incorporated into program requirements. For that reason, initial Vol Core proposals should be submitted no later than December 1, 2020. After that date, course proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, but must be submitted no later than October 15 of the year prior to the effective catalog year.

Proposals are reviewed by subcommittees made up of faculty from a variety of disciplines, who identify courses that meet the criteria for a particular category and recommend approval of those courses to the full General Education Committee, the Undergraduate Council, and Faculty Senate.

Courses approved under the current Gen Ed are listed in the academic catalog. Since Vol Core will not appear in the catalog until fall 2022, a running list of approved Vol Core courses will be available online on each category’s page on the Undergraduate Council’s website. Beginning with the 2022-2023 catalog, the approved courses will appear in the undergraduate academic catalog.

Category-Specific Questions

If foreign language courses are approved as meeting the Global Citizenship-International (GCI) learning outcomes, one semester of a foreign language could be used to satisfy the GCI requirement and the second semester would satisfy one Expanded Perspectives Elective.

If American Sign Language (ASL) courses are approved as meeting the Global Citizenship-US (GCUS) learning outcomes, one semester of ASL could be used to satisfy the GCUS requirement and the second semester would satisfy one Expanded Perspectives Elective.

The Vol Core curriculum guarantees exposure to the arts and humanities and the social sciences for all students while also introducing flexibility for students to pursue a minor or to choose courses of special interest. In addition, courses that might have been categorized as AH or SS in the previous Gen Ed might remain in the same category or become GCI, GCUS, or EI in Vol Core.

The expectation is that students already take courses within their major in which disciplinary communication is sufficiently emphasized to meet the AOC designation. Many departments will not need to create a new course to satisfy this requirement.

These are distinct categories with proposals reviewed by different subcommittees. Separate proposals would need to be completed.

Since the Cultures and Civilizations category only exists in the current Gen Ed and not in Vol Core, proposals for CC courses will be accepted only through October 15, 2020. The subcommittee will continue to review petitions through the end of the 2026-2027 academic year.

No. The EI subcommittee will consider proposals for new courses or existing courses that already meet or may be easily revised to meet the EI criteria.

Students will need at least two courses with a minimum of one credit hour each from at least two different subjects (course prefixes) for a total of nine hours.

Students’ responses to surveys indicated that they often felt frustrated by the belief that lower level Gen Ed courses were not relevant to their selected major or degree program. EI courses are intended to create relevant learning experiences, often within a students’ major, that situate the course content in a broader way, with dimensions of application, collaboration, reflection, or interdisciplinary connections. It is expected that almost every major will apply for EI designation for at least one upper-level required course.

Yes, overlap of EI courses with other Volunteer Core categories as well as with courses within the student’s major or minor is encouraged. EI courses may be within the student’s major, minor, any other Vol Core area, or may be an elective.

Yes, but only if it meets the stated criteria. Many lower-level courses rely on exams for the majority of assessment, and the criteria for EI requires that students “produce an investigative, creative, or practical work relevant to the course topic.”

Yes. Many capstone or similar courses may meet the EI criteria.

Yes. Students would, however, need to meet any prerequisites for the EI course they wish to take.

Yes. For example, a course for a management major could be both an AH and an EI.

Contemporary Issues and Solutions (CIS) is a graduation requirement rather than part of the Vol Core general education requirement. CIS may overlap with the Global Challenges requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences, study abroad, internships, Experience Learning, capstone courses, or even co-curricular activities.