Faculty members from any UI college are invited to participate in the CLAS Core by submitting proposals for courses with their administrative home in the instructor's college. A summary of requirements for GE proposals is available here.
Goals of the GE CLAS Core
GE CLAS Core courses provide a broad foundation of contextual knowledge and a focused practice of transferable skills necessary for a lifetime of learning. The program consciously articulates the learning process, the value of this learning, and the modes of inquiry, tools, and methods associated with particular areas of study and how they interact with each other.
Students thus acquire a broad, interdisciplinary perspective that allows them to make connections across areas of specialization and to approach problem-solving from multiple perspectives. This broad base complements the student's in-depth study within the major.
Core courses especially focus on skills and the incremental development of skills by starting with simpler concepts and assignments to help the student reach the complexity of deep learning which includes its application and integration with other knowledge.
Core courses are numbered below 3000 and serve students making the transition into the University of Iowa, helping students to understand the expectations of the College while providing the tools needed for more advanced academic work in the major.
Faculty teaching a CLAS Core course are especially aware of the difficulties that students might have when adjusting to the expectations of a rigorous academic community. Instructors in the program thus help to connect students to resources and pay special attention to teaching students how to learn as well as what to learn. Core courses especially focus on skills and the incremental development of skills by starting with simpler concepts and assignments to help the student reach the complexity of interdisciplinary learning which includes its application and integration with other knowledge. Instructors do not assume students have the background vocabulary or skills needed to be successful in the course but expose students to these skills, for example, before requiring their use.
For specific information on the GE Comprehensive Outcomes visit this page.
Course Attributes: Best Practices
CLAS Core courses share organizational and pedagogical attributes that help define the the goals of the General Education CLAS Core. These support the student's transition to UI and challenge students to become engaged, motivated learners.
All CLAS Core courses use the following best practices:
- Assume no prior student knowledge in the course content.
- Build from simple and/or informal assignments to more complex and/or formal ones, giving the student the opportunity to develop and master skills that are needed for achieving academic excellence and success in the course.
- Give early and frequent evaluation of student work, helping to define and motivate students to achieve academic success.
- Provide models and/or rubrics to define academic expectations so that students understand the standards of the course and the student’s own performance in relation to these standards.
- Use a variety of teaching and assessment strategies throughout the semester to better engage students in their own learning and in order to reach the wide range of students with various needs in the course.
- Integrate the instructor’s research within the course, reflecting the dual mission of the College while helping the students to understand the tools of inquiry and how these tools operate in “real life.”
- Encourage students to learn from each other whenever possible, particularly through large and small group discussions, student organized study groups, and by the use of peer mentors, supplemental instruction, writing fellows, and creative activities that engage students, thus widening the process for students “learning how to learn.”
- Use technology as a supplemental tool to support engaged learning when feasible, encouraging students to pursue a topic or a skill in more depth outside the classroom.
- Discuss academic integrity from the position of community obligation, trust, and learning while also reminding students of the consequences for academic misconduct.