UNIVERSITY CATALOG: 2020-2021

Undergraduate Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The following student learning goals and student learning outcomes reflect the mission of the University to “help students develop academic competencies, professional skills, critical and creative abilities, and ethical values of learned persons who live in a democratic society, an interdependent world and a technological age.” Through its rich and diverse offering of degree programs and its General Education program, CSUN ensures that all graduates attain these goals and maintain academic integrity. Consistent with its role as a learning-centered University, the campus also recognizes that these learning goals are promoted and enhanced in many formal and informal campus activities and environments outside the classroom.

One of the important purposes of the General Education program is to ensure that every CSUN undergraduate engages in each of these fundamental learning goals. Although many courses integrate more than one goal and set of student learning outcomes into their curricula, placement of a course into a specific section of the General Education program signifies that the course will emphasize the learning goals and student learning outcomes of that section. All General Education courses should meet the student learning goals of the GE section they are in. General Education courses in Basic Subjects and those designated as satisfying the Information Competency (IC) and Writing Intensive (WI) goals should meet all of the student learning outcomes of the section/designation. General Education courses in sections B1, B2, B3, B5 and C-F should meet at least two of the student learning outcomes of their GE section. Courses in the U.S. History and Local Government section must meet the Title 5 requirements as prescribed by California law. Courses meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) requirement (GE Breadth Area F) must meet three of the student learning competencies for the statewide ethnic studies requirement as prescribed by Title 5.

All CSUN students are responsible for pursuing the following learning goals in the General Education program at CSUN. These goals are grouped into four categories: basic skills, subject explorations, United States History and Local Government, and special designations. Each graduate from CSUN is expected to master the student learning outcomes that are identified for each goal.

Basic Skills

The first four goals involve basic skills that provide students with the knowledge and abilities they will find useful and necessary in other GE and University courses and in their pursuits after graduation. The fundamental areas of basic skills are:

  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning

Students will learn how to read to understand complex topics and write about them, how to distinguish correct from faulty reasoning, how to study and appreciate mathematical ideas and quantitative reasoning, and how to make public presentations of their own thoughts and research.

Subject Explorations

The General Education Subject Exploration categories are meant to promote a broad-based interdisciplinary education. The next five goals provide students with a broad background in disciplines at the University in order that they appreciate the breadth of human knowledge and the responsibilities of concerned citizens of the world. Students acquire the knowledge and skills to become lifelong learners and gain an appreciation of different perspectives and insights from which to view human endeavors.

Special Designations

Courses with the special designation of IC (Information Competence) provide students with basic skills in using information retrieval tools and practices that enhance their ability to evaluate and synthesize information competently and ethically. Courses with the special designation of WI (Writing Intensive) provide students with continued practice in expressing themselves through writing in various forms within different disciplinary contexts. Students must take at least two courses that have an IC designation: one in the Basic Skills section and one in any Subject Exploration area. Students must select nine units that have a WI designation from Upper Division General Education courses within Subject Explorations or U.S. History and Local Government.

Basic Skills

1. Oral Communication (A1)

Goal: Students will understand the basic concepts and practices associated with public speaking and will make public presentations of their own thoughts and research.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills when listening, reading, thinking and speaking.
  2. Create, organize and support ideas for various types of oral presentations.
  3. Evaluate contexts, attitudes, values and responses of different audiences.
  4. Identify, evaluate and apply different styles of presentation utilizing effective delivery techniques in public speaking.
  5. Demonstrate acceptable ethical standards in research and presentation of materials, including proper verbal citations.

2. Written Communication (A2)

Goal: Students will analyze and reflect on complex topics and appropriately synthesize their own and others’ ideas in clearly written and well-organized edited American English.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Analyze and compare perspective, meaning and style in different texts, including those that reflect multicultural images and voices.
  2. Construct a theme or thesis and organize and develop a substantial, balanced and convincing defense of it in a voice, tone, language and format (e.g., essay autobiography, report, editorial, case study, inquiry and research) appropriate to the purpose of the writing.
  3. Use logical support, including informed opinion and fact, as well as their interpretations, to develop ideas, avoiding fallacies, biased language and inappropriate tone.
  4. Demonstrate satisfactory competence in the conventions of Edited American English and the elements of presentation (including layout, format and printing).
  5. Select and incorporate ideas derived from a variety of sources, such as library electronic and print resources, books, journals, the Internet and interviews, and document them responsibly and correctly.
  6. Apply a variety of strategies for planning, outlining, drafting, revising and editing written work.

3. Critical Thinking (A3)

Goal: Students will analyze information and ideas carefully and logically from multiple perspectives and develop reasoned solutions to problems.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Explain and apply the basic concepts essential to a critical examination and evaluation of argumentative discourse.
  2. Use investigative and analytical thinking skills to examine alternatives, explore complex questions and solve challenging problems.
  3. Synthesize information in order to arrive at reasoned conclusions.
  4. Evaluate the logic and validity of arguments, as well as the relevance of data and information.
  5. Recognize and avoid common logical and rhetorical fallacies.

4. Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4 and B5)

Goal: Students will gain competence in mathematical reasoning necessary for informed judgment and decision making.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Represent, understand and explain mathematical information symbolically, graphically, numerically and verbally.
  2. Develop mathematical models of real-world situations and explain the assumptions and limitations of those models.
  3. Use models to make predictions, draw conclusions, check whether the results are reasonable and find optimal results using technology when necessary and appropriate.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of mathematical reasoning, including the ability to prove simple results and/or make statistical inferences.

Subject Explorations

5. Scientific Inquiry (Sections B1-3, B5)

Goal: Students will develop basic knowledge and learn key principles in the natural sciences, including an understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry through laboratory, activity and/or field-based study.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic knowledge, principles and laws in the natural sciences.
  2. Explain how the scientific method is used to obtain new data and advance knowledge.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the logical foundations and boundaries of science.
  4. Recognize the contribution and potential of science in human society and everyday life.
  5. Demonstrate competence in applying the methods of scientific inquiry.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to apply scientific knowledge and to critically assess real-world issues and make sound decisions.

6. Arts, Humanities, and U.S. History (Section C)

Goal: Students will understand the rich history and diversity of human knowledge, discourse and achievements of their own and other cultures as they are expressed in the arts, literatures, religions and philosophy.

Student Learning Outcomes for C1 and C2

Students will:

  1. Explain and reflect critically upon the human search for meaning, values, discourse and expression in one or more eras/stylistic periods or cultures.
  2. Analyze, interpret and reflect critically upon ideas of value, meaning, discourse and expression from a variety of perspectives from the arts and/or humanities.
  3. Produce work/works of art that communicate to a diverse audience through a demonstrated understanding and fluency of expressive forms.
  4. Demonstrate ability to engage and reflect upon their intellectual and creative development within the arts and humanities.
  5. Use appropriate critical vocabulary to describe and analyze works of artistic expression, literature, philosophy or religion and a comprehension of the historical context within which a body of work was created or a tradition emerged.
  6. Describe and explain the historical and/or cultural context within which a body of work was created or a tradition emerged.

Student Learning Outcomes for C3

Students will:

  1. Describe and analyze significant events covering a minimum time span of approximately one hundred years and occurring in the entire area now included in the United States of America, including the relationships of regions within that area and with external regions and powers as appropriate to the understanding of those events within the United States during the period under study.
  2. Describe and analyze the role of major ethnic and social groups in such events and the contexts in which the events have occurred.
  3. Describe and analyze events presented within a framework that illustrates the continuity of the American experience and its derivation from other cultures, including consideration of three or more of the following: politics, economics, social movements and geography.

7. Social Sciences and California and Local Government (Section D1, D3/D4)

Goal: Students will understand the complexities of social relations and human experiences and the ways in which they have changed over time, as well as the nature, scope and the systematic study of human behaviors and societies. Students will understand and reflect upon United States history, institutions and ideals; the Constitution of the United States; and the principles of state and local government as established in California.

Student Learning Outcomes for D1

Students will:

  1. Explain how social scientists conduct the systematic study of social relations, human experiences and patterns of change over time.
  2. Analyze and explain the multiple perspectives found in the social sciences that underlie debates on important historical and contemporary issues.
  3. Apply appropriate social scientific methods to collect data, analyze, evaluate, explain and/or solve problems in social relations and human behavior.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of how social problems impact individuals, communities and societies.

Student Learning Outcomes for D3/D4

Students will:

  1. Describe and analyze the political philosophies of the framers of the Constitution and the nature and operation of United States political institutions and processes under that Constitution as amended and interpreted.
  2. Explain and examine the rights and obligations of citizens in the political system established under the Constitution.
  3. Describe and examine the Constitution of the state of California within the framework of evolution of federal-state relations and the nature and processes of state and local government under that Constitution.
  4. Explain and analyze contemporary relationships of state and local government with the federal government, the resolution of conflicts and the establishment of cooperative processes under the constitutions of both the state and nation, and the political processes involved.

8. Lifelong Learning (Section E)

Goal: Students will develop cognitive, physical and affective skills, which will allow them to become more integrated and well-rounded individuals within various physical, social, cultural, and technological environments and communities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Identify and actively engage in behaviors conducive to individual health, well-being or development, and understand the value of maintaining these behaviors throughout their lifespan.
  2. Identify and apply strategies leading to health, well-being or development for community members of diverse populations.
  3. Apply the knowledge and skills of science and technology and evaluate how they impact individuals, the community and/or society.

9. Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages (Section F)

Goal: Students will understand the diversity and multiplicity of cultural forces that shape the world through the study of cultures, gender, sexuality, race, religion, class, ethnicities and languages with special focus on the contributions, differences and global perspectives of diverse cultures and societies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Describe and compare different cultures.
  2. Explain how various cultures contribute to the development of our multicultural world.
  3. Describe and explain how race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sexuality and other markers of social identity impact life experiences and social relations.
  4. Analyze and explain the deleterious impact and the privileges sustained by racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, homophobia, religious intolerance or stereotyping on all sectors of society.
  5. Demonstrate linguistic and cultural proficiency in a language other than English.

Designations

10. Information Competence (Campus GE Designation IC)

Goal: Students will progressively develop information competence skills throughout their undergraduate career by developing a basic understanding of information retrieval tools and practices, as well as improving their ability to evaluate and synthesize information ethically.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed.
  2. Demonstrate effective search strategies for finding information using a variety of sources and methods.
  3. Locate, retrieve and evaluate a variety of relevant information, including print and electronic formats.
  4. Organize and synthesize information in order to communicate effectively.
  5. Explain the legal and ethical dimensions of the use of information.

11. Writing Intensive (Campus GE Designation WI)

Goal: Students will develop their abilities to express themselves and the knowledge they have obtained through practicing various forms of writing within different disciplinary contexts. Writing intensive courses will build upon the skills gained in the Written Communication section of Basic Skills. In each WI course, students will be required to complete writing assignments totaling a minimum of 2,500 words.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Develop and clearly define their ideas through writing.
  2. Ethically integrate sources of various kinds into their writing.
  3. Compose texts through drafting, revising and completing a finished product.
  4. Express themselves through their writing by posing questions, making original claims and coherently structuring complex ideas.
  5. Revise their writing for greater cogency and clarity.
  6. Utilize adopted communication modes and documentation styles of specific disciplines (MLA, APA, Chicago, CBE, etc.) where appropriate.

12. Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement (Campus Designation: ES)

Each course meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) requirement must fulfill a minimum of three out of the following five learning objectives as appropriate to their lower- or upper-division status.

These learning objectives must be used in addition to any learning objectives and criteria established and required by each campus’ Ethnic Studies department/unit/program (as traditionally defined) faculty for all courses meeting the GE Breadth Area F graduation requirement.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Analyze and articulate concepts such as race and racism, racialization, ethnicity, equity, ethno-centrism, eurocentrism, white supremacy, self- determination, liberation, decolonization, sovereignty, imperialism, settler colonialism and anti-racism as analyzed in any one or more of the following: Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina and Latino American Studies.
  2. Apply theory and knowledge produced by Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino American communities to describe the critical events, histories, cultures, intellectual traditions, contributions, lived-experiences and social struggles of those groups with a particular emphasis on agency and group-affirmation.
  3. Critically analyze the intersection of race and racism as they relate to class, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, national origin, immigration status, ability, tribal citizenship, sovereignty, language and/or age in Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino American communities.
  4. Explain and critically review how struggle, resistance, racial and social justice, solidarity and liberation, as experienced, enacted and studied by Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and/or Latina and Latino Americans are relevant to current and structural issues, such as communal, national, international and transnational politics as, for example, in immigration, reparations, settler-colonialism, multiculturalism and language policies.
  5. Describe and actively engage with anti-racist and anti-colonial issues and the practices and movements in Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino communities to build a just and equitable society.