General Education

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General education is “general” in several clearly identifiable ways: it is not directly related to a student‘s formal technical, vocational, or professional preparation; it is a part of every student‘s course of study, regardless of his or her area of emphasis; and it is intended to impart common knowledge, intellectual concepts, and attitudes that every educated person should possess.

West Virginia University at Parkersburg espouses the philosophy that education is both idea and act. Students are encouraged to think, to read, and to know, as well as to apply. In the general education courses, students are encouraged to challenge themselves in the following areas:

Demonstrate capabilities in  Increase understanding in Develop an awareness of Expand appreciation of
*Reading, writing, speaking, listening *Numerical data *Ethical perspectives *Fine and
performing arts
*Abstract inquiry *Scientific inquiry *Cultural value systems
*Logical reasoning *Global issues
*Problem Solving *Historical perspectives

General education supports the notion of a free, democratic society which, in turn, demands an informed, thoughtful and ethical citizenry. Through general education, students are encouraged to observe how humans are connected to each other, thereby discovering their common humanity. The core is designed to expose students to those activities and patterns of thought which are most truly human: the sciences, history, literature, and the arts.

Through the core studies, students are encouraged to think critically and analytically, to integrate knowledge, to solve problems, to be innovative, to synthesize ideas and actions, and to care about the public good. In essence, General Education is a study of human life and a quest for knowing the best way to live.

WVU Parkersburg provides a flexible general education that meets the needs of certificate, associate, transfer and baccalaureate degrees and prepares students for the workplace and participation in the workings and concerns of their families, communities, state, country and world at large.

By participating in General Education, students will have the following measurable learning outcomes:

  1. Composition and Rhetoric: Students will illustrate a fundamental understanding of the best practices of communicating in written English and meet the writing standards of their college or program-based communication requirements.
  2. Science and Technology: Students will successfully apply systematic methods of analysis to the natural and physical world, understand scientific knowledge as empirical, and refer
  3. Mathematics and Quantitative Skills: Students will effectively use Mathematics and quantitative techniques and the practical application of numerical, symbolic, or spatial concepts.
  4. Society, Diversity, & Connections: Students demonstrate understanding of and a logical ability to successfully analyze human behavior, societal and political organization, or communication.
  5. Historical Inquiry and the Past: Students interpret historical events or philosophical perspectives by identifying patterns, applying analytical reasoning, employing methods of critical inquiry, or expanding problem-solving skills.
  6. Creativity and the Arts: Students will successfully articulate and apply methods and principles of critical and creative inquiry to the production or analysis of works of art.

Critical Thinking Skills

Comparing & contrasting, classifying, induction, deduction, error analysis, constructing support, abstracting, analyzing multiple perspectives

Advanced Application of Knowledge Strategies

Advanced decision making, investigation, experimental inquiry, problem solving, invention

Classroom Assessment Tools

Standardized tests objective tests, test essay questions, formal papers, presentations, journal entries, peer feedback materials, course and discipline-related detailed rubrics

Promise of Quality

WVU Parkersburg is nationally accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Under the guidance of HLC, institutional-wide assessment occurs every 10 years of all programs, including general education. In addition, program reviews occur every five years on a rotating basis. The institution collects data on pertinent information, such as flexibility of class scheduling and completion rate.

General Education Benefits

  • Flexible access – traditional, online, blended and alternative delivery format classes.
  • Clear pathways to the next course of study – “Career Ladder” programs assure credits earned will not be wasted.
  • Meaningful projects prepare students to take part in the world at large.
  • Classes taught by instructors familiar with diverse student populations – from recent high school grads, to workers undergoing retraining, to seniors deciding to further their education.
  • Most classes transfer to other colleges in West Virginia due to a statewide general education course transfer agreement. The college aligned with West Virginia University’s General Education in 2015 to assure transferability.
  • Multiple 2 + 2 programs with West Virginia University
  • All certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degree programs at WVU Parkersburg require the completion of a general education core.

General Education Course Highlights

  • 100 percent of courses require students to learn discipline-specific terms and concepts in a useful process. • 82 percent of courses feature writing as a key component. • Courses regularly employ a variety of critical thinking skills in the classroom.
  • Logic, reasoning and the ability to analyze multiple perspectives were recognized as key components in the classroom experience.
  • Instructors use a wide variety of classroom assessment tools.
  • Students are encouraged to go beyond critical thinking into advanced application of knowledge.
  • Most courses in the general education curriculum have multi-discipline components.
  • Workforce skills and behaviors are regularly measured through assessment of attendance, timely assignment completion, ability to work in groups, safety, writing, interpersonal and public speaking, and other skills.

To learn more about the disciplines that play a role in General Education at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, click on the links below:
Criminal Justice | Economics | Computer Science | Math | Sciences | Art | Communication Media Studies | Communications | History
English | Music | Psychology | Sociology


All general education rubrics are based in a common learning model, Dimensions of Learning, in order to set a common learning standard and allow for cross discipline assessment and pedagogical discussions among programs and disciplines.

HLC Documents

HLC Assessment Faculty Resource Book pdf
A Snapshot of General Education Meta-Data pdf