Academic Foundations and the Core Curriculum

Midwestern State University is a leading public liberal arts university committed to providing students with rigorous undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and the professions. Through an emphasis upon teaching, augmented by the opportunity for students to engage in research and creative activities alongside faculty and to participate in co-curricular and service programs, Midwestern State prepares its graduates to embark upon their careers or pursue advanced study. The university’s undergraduate education is based upon a comprehensive arts and sciences core curriculum. The understanding that students gain of themselves, others, and the social and natural world prepares them to contribute constructively to society through their work and through their private lives.

To achieve the goals of academic foundations the faculty of Midwestern State University, in accordance with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) guidelines, has developed a core curriculum for all baccalaureate degrees. This curriculum addresses the core objectives identified by the the THECB and the university's liberal arts mission.

The Core Learning Objectives identified by the THECB include:

  1. Critical Thinking Skills (CT) - creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
  2. Communication Skills (COM) - effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
  3. Empirical and Quantitative Skills (EQS) - manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  4. Teamwork (TW) - ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
  5. Social Responsibility (SR) - intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities
  6. Personal Responsibility (PR) - ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making

The following objectives underlie the design of the core curriculum.

  1. The curriculum is designed to provide each student a range of knowledge, skills, and intellectual approaches that will support his/her efforts to develop a full and productive life. To meet this objective the University offers a course of study that contributes to the development of a meaningful career and to the continued growth of the student both as an individual and as a rational and ethical member of society.
  2. First, the curriculum emphasizes the acquisition of fundamental skills–skills necessary for learning, judgment, and self-expression. Chief among these are reading, analytical and critical thinking, cogent oral and written expression, computation, and quantitative reasoning.
  3. Second, the curriculum seeks to develop each student’s understanding of him/herself in relation to others through a study of the liberal arts and sciences. Such study provides exposure to the collective knowledge and experience of mankind; each student learns to gather, organize, and communicate this knowledge and experience in relationships to the cultural, social, and physical environment.
  4. In the aggregate, the core curriculum provides a substantial base for the second phase of university education; academic specialization to achieve significant mastery in at least one discipline or interdisciplinary field. The core curriculum not only introduces students to a variety of disciplines (and thus to related career options), but more importantly provides a perspective from which to view specialized study in relation to the whole range of human experience and endeavor. As the student proceeds to academic specialization, each academic department maintains and nurtures this integrating perspective.
Assessment of the Core Objectives
As part of Midwestern State University's ongoing core assessment efforts, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness collects assessment data and reports for use by the Midwestern State University community. The Core Learning Objectives identified by the THECB include:
  1. Critical Thinking Skills (CT)
  2. Communication Skills (COM)
  3. Empirical and Quantitative Skills (EQS)
  4. Teamwork (TW)
  5. Social Responsibility (SR)
  6. Personal Responsibility (PR)
Midwestern State University utilizes a rotational and sampling method to collect results from in-class assessments for the core objectives. This plan not only reduces the reporting burden on instructors, but also ensures that all core instructors have a yearly reporting duty, and that all objectives are covered consistently in a four year cycle. The proposed targets account for variations in our approved rubrics, while also setting appropriate achievement goals. Courses are grouped by course prefix, and each group will be assigned one objective, of their three or four, to report for each year. These objectives are then rotated throughout the four year cycle (refer to Core Curriculum Assessment Schedule below).

Target:
80% of students should score 2 or higher on the THECB approved rubric. (2 is passing on all rubric scales: 3 point, 4 point, and 5 point.)
 
Reporting Goal:

100% of courses will provide data.

 

Reporting:
Sampling

You are not obligated to evaluate the work of every student.  Each instructor should determine the number of students to evaluate since the scope and complexity of the work being evaluated varies greatly across disciplines and courses.  An adequate random sample of your students' work to submit is appropriate.

 

Rubrics
Please use the AAC&U Value rubrics.

 

Spreadsheet of Results
Please try to keep a spreadsheet of the results that show the dimensional scores of the rubrics, as well as the total scores. We do not need the students’ names. The average and the pass/fail should automatically calculate as you enter in the data. Spreadsheet templates have been provided below.Save the file using the following convention:
Course-Last name-Academic Year (AY)                 
MWSU1234-Harris-2020

 

Enter the Results
To enter the overall results for each rubric, use the Data Reporting Form. Faculty can use their MSU email to log in. If you teach multiple sections of the same course throughout the year, you can aggregate the results for the specific course across the entire academic year and enter the information only once. We are only looking at this on a yearly basis. The following questions will be asked on the form:
  • Do you report by semester or academic year?
  • Which semester/academic year are you reporting for?
  • Please enter the course department and number. (Ex: ENGL1113, PSYCH1133, MATH2013)
  • How many sections of this course are you reporting on with this form?
  • Please identify the core objective being reported on that was assigned by your department chair.
  • Please give a brief description of the assignment being evaluated.
  • What was the name of the rubric you used?
  • Please select the type of scale your rubric used.
  • How many of the sample achieved satisfactory score for the assigned objective on the approved rubric? (Ex: A score of 2 or higher on a 4 point scale)
  • Please upload the spreadsheet, a copy of the assignment being graded with the rubric, and a copy of the rubric.
Attach Files
Copy an example of the assignment, the rubric, and the spreadsheet with the rubric results and submit the reporting form. You will have to select a file, upload it, and then select another file.  The system will not allow you to select multiple items to upload at once.

 

Questions or Concerns?
Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness with any questions or concerns.
Core Curriculum Assessment Schedule
Core Objective Assessment Schedule by Course/Subject
AY 2021
(Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
AY 2022
(Fall 2021, Spring 2022)
AY 2023
(Fall 2022, Spring 2023)
AY 2024
(Fall 2023, Spring 2024)
ART CT COM TW SR
BIOL QNT TW CT COM
BUAD CT COM QNT SR
CHEM TW CT COM QNT
CMPS 1023 COM SR PR CT
CMPS 1044 COM QNT CT COM
COUN 2023 COM CT QNT SR
COUN 2143 COM CT PR SR
ECON COM QNT SR CT
EDUC COM CT QNT SR
ENGL 1103, 1123, 1143, 1153, 2123, 2203 PR CT COM TW
ENGL 2413, 2423, 2613, 2623, 2813, 2823 COM CT PR SR
ENSC TW CT COM QNT
FREN COM SR PR CT
GEOS COM QNT TW CT
GERM COM SR PR CT
GNSC TW CT COM QNT
HIST CT COM SR PR
HUMN COM CT PR SR
LATS COM SR PR CT
MATH CT COM QNT CT
MCOM 1233, 1243, 2403, 2523 TW PR COM CT
MCOM 2213 SR CT COM TW
MUSC TW SR CT COM
MWSU PR TW CT COM
PHIL CT COM SR PR
PHYS COM QNT TW CT
POLS SR PR COM CT
PSYC QNT SR CT COM
SCIE COM QNT TW CT
SOCL 1133 SR QNT CT COM
SOCL 1143 CT COM QNT SR
SOCL 2233 SR PR CT COM
SPAN COM SR PR CT
SPCH CT COM TW PR
THEA TW SR CT COM
WGST CT COM SR PR