General Education

GE Course Review

Every five years, General Education (GE) courses are reviewed by the campus GE Committee (known as CAB). This is mandated by the Academic Senate's GE Policy and includes a review of antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies, in line with the Senate's Resolution in Condemnation of Violence Against Black People and Commitment to Antiracist Policies and Practices (PDF), which commits our campus to "a healthy racial campus climate that result[s] in equitable educational experiences." 
  • Policy Implementation and Consultation

    In 2021-22, a Curriculum Advisory Board (CAB) subcommittee consisting of students, staff, and faculty met to discuss the review process.

    This subcommittee included faculty from seven departments and four colleges, officers from the Asian & Pacific Islander Council, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Chicano/Latino Council, and Native American Staff & Faculty Association, as well as representatives from the Associated Students, Office of Faculty Development, Office of Accessible Technology and Services, and Educational Opportunity Program (including PATH Scholars).

    In Fall 2021, this subcommittee recommended seeking CAB and student feedback on Daniel Soodjinda's (CSU Stanislaus) "Antiracist, inclusive, and culturally sustaining course objectives." Focus groups took place with students in the CCLC, Honors Program, REACH Program, Office of Tribal Relations, and STAR Center.

    The Chair and Vice Chair of the Black Faculty and Staff Association reviewed the feedback from student focus groups and CAB and recommended the creation and adoption of a faculty self assessment that utilizes Soodjinda's course objectives (with modifications based on student feedback), and strongly encouraged that faculty be provided with sample self studies and resources.

    In Spring 2022, CAB accepted and endorsed this recommendation with minor changes to ensure faculty participation and privacy.

  • Review Process

    Each year, all faculty members who teach a section of a course under review will complete a Self-Study (for their Department Chair) about GE subject area as well as antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies. 

    Then, for each GE course, Department Chairs will submit a report to the Curriculum Advisory Board (CAB), using evidence from the faculty Self-Studies to address questions about antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies, and using the syllabus to provide evidence that the course meets the expectations of the GE Area and (where relevant) the Pathway and/or GE Minor.

    Faculty and Chairs who have already begun self-assessing their GE Courses will have the opportunity to upload existing documentation rather than completing the entire self assessment.

    CAB will review the Chair's report, and may require changes to the course to resolve any issues with the GE subject area and (where relevant) the Pathway or GE Minor. At this time, CAB will not require any changes to a course based on Chairs' answers to questions about antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies, but CAB will monitor that faculty and Chairs are reflecting upon and, ideally, implementing antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies, and may recommend changes to help cultivate "a healthy racial campus climate that result in equitable educational experiences" (Academic Senate Resolution in Condemnation of Violence Against Black People and Commitment to Antiracist Policies and Practices).

  • Review Schedule (subject to change)

    22-23: Courses in GE Areas Oral Communication (A1), Written Communication (A2), Critical Thinking (A3), and American Institutions (AI)

    23-24: Courses in GE Areas Quantitiative Reasoning (B4), Social Sciences (D), and Upper Division Quantitative Reasoning (UD-B)

    24-25: Courses in GE Areas Physical Science (B1), and Upper Division Social Sciences (UD-D)

    25-26: Courses in GE Areas Life Science (B2), and Upper Division Arts & Humanities (UD-C)

    26-27: Courses in GE Areas Arts (C1), Humanities (C2), Lifelong Learning & Self Development (E), and Ethnic Studies (F)

  • Descriptions of GE Subject Areas

    GE subject areas are defined in Executive Order 1100 as follows:

    A1 Oral Communication & A2 Written Communication Students taking courses in fulfillment of Subareas A1 and A2 will develop knowledge and understanding of the form, content, context and effectiveness of communication. Students will develop proficiency in oral and written communication in English, examining communication from the rhetorical perspective and practicing reasoning and advocacy, organization, and accuracy. Students will enhance their skills and abilities in the discovery, critical evaluation, and reporting of information, as well as reading, writing, and listening effectively. Coursework must include active participation and practice in both written communication and oral communication in English.

    A3 Critical Thinking In critical thinking courses, students will understand logic and its relation to language; elementary inductive and deductive processes, including an understanding of the formal and informal fallacies of language and thought; and the ability to distinguish matters of fact from issues of judgment or opinion. In A3 courses, students will develop the abilities to analyze, criticize, and advocate ideas; to reason inductively and deductively; and to reach well-supported factual or judgmental conclusions.

    B1 Physical Science, B2 Life Science, & B3 Laboratory Activity  In Subareas B1-B3, students develop knowledge of scientific theories, concepts, and data about both living and non-living systems. Students will achieve an understanding and appreciation of scientific principles and the scientific method, as well as the potential limits of scientific endeavors and the value systems and ethics associated with human inquiry. The nature and extent of laboratory experience is to be determined by each campus through its established curricular procedures.

    B4 Mathematics/Quantitiative Reasoning Through courses in Subarea B4 students shall demonstrate the abilities to reason quantitatively, practice computational skills, and explain and apply mathematical or quantitative reasoning concepts to solve problems. Courses in this Subarea shall include a prerequisite reflective only of skills and knowledge required in the course. In addition to traditional mathematics, courses in Subarea B4 may include computer science, personal finance, statistics or discipline-based mathematics or quantitative reasoning courses, for example.

    C1 Arts & C2 Humanities Across the disciplines in Area C coursework, students will cultivate intellect, imagination, sensibility and sensitivity. Students will respond subjectively as well as objectively to aesthetic experiences and will develop an understanding of the integrity of both emotional and intellectual responses. Students will cultivate and refine their affective, cognitive, and physical faculties through studying works of the human imagination. In their intellectual and subjective considerations, students will develop a better understanding of the interrelationship between the self and the creative arts and of the humanities in a variety of cultures. Activities may include participation in individual aesthetic, creative experiences; however, Area C excludes courses that exclusively emphasize skills development. Students may take courses in languages other than English in partial fulfillment of this requirement if the courses do not focus solely on skills acquisition but also contain a substantial cultural component. This may include literature, among other content.

    D Social Sciences Students learn from courses in multiple Area D disciplines that human social, political and economic institutions and behavior are inextricably interwoven. Through fulfillment of the Area D requirement, students will develop an understanding of problems and issues from the respective disciplinary perspectives and will examine issues in their contemporary as well as historical settings and in a variety of cultural contexts. Students will explore the principles, methodologies, value systems and ethics employed in social scientific inquiry. Courses that emphasize skills development and professional preparation are excluded from Area D.

    E Lifelong Learning & Self Development This requirement is designed to equip learners for lifelong understanding and development of themselves as integrated physiological, social, and psychological beings. Physical activity may be included, if it is an integral part of the study elements described herein. Content may include topics such as student success strategies, human behavior, sexuality, nutrition, physical and mental health, stress management, information literacy, social relationships and relationships with the environment, as well as implications of death and dying or avenues for lifelong learning. Courses in this area shall focus on the development of skills, abilities and dispositions.

    F Ethnic Studies Courses that are approved to meet this requirement shall meet at least 3 of the 5 the following core competencies. Campuses may add additional competencies to those listed.

    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. Critically review how struggle, resistance, racial and social justice, solidarity, and liberation, as experienced and enacted 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, 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 and a just and equitable society.
  • Antiracist Teaching Objectives

    CAB has adopted the following Objectives, created by Dr. Daniel Soodjinda (CSU Stanislaus), and modified with permission during the consultation process. These Objectives will continue to evolve with feedback from students and instructors. A shared goal of these Objectives is that course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments should affirm and validate Asian, Black, Latinx/e, Indigenous, Native American, and other People of Color by normalizing those voices through a course’s curriculum.

    1. Course content is inclusive/accessible for students to process with their own unique abilities and strategies.
    2. Students are offered multiple opportunities to demonstrate knowledge (via assessment strategies) in ways that are best aligned to their own unique abilities.
    3. Assessments and feedback are provided in such a way that allows students to self-assess their own strengths, learning gaps, and needs.
    4. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments emphasize and support the maintenance of students’ diverse, multiple, and intersectional identities.
    5. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments foster and empower student competence, student agency and the desire to effect change.
    6. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments develop cultural knowledge that is co-constructed through students’ lived experiences and that normalizes sharing, critiquing, reviewing and renewing.
    7. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments are aligned to student assets and resources (content knowledge background, learning strengths, ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, linguistic resources) as well as student interests and aspirations.
    8. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments address student barriers, which may include content knowledge background, learning challenges, cultural backgrounds (ethnicity, race, socio-economic status) and/or linguistic challenges.
    9. Course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments are developed through a lens that: A) Explores racial justice issues; B) Provides opportunities for students to think critically about race and racism and their intersections with the course’s central concepts; C) Confronts and disrupts racial inequities (in the classroom and as related to the course’s central concept); D) Normalizes a critical lens; E) Actively de-centers whiteness.
    10. Instructors interrogate, confront, abolish, and redevelop course content, student activities, instructional strategies, and assessments that are steeped in white supremacist, oppressive, deficit-oriented, and racist underpinnings.
    11. Courses have a space that allows students to critique and challenge, and provide feedback to instructors when students face oppression, or are not represented or heard.
  • Antiracist Teaching Objectives Resources

    For antiracist pedagogy resources keyed specifically to courses' GE Subject Areas, visit the following page from the Office of Faculty Development's hub for Research in Equity, Antiracism, Diversity and Inclusion (READI):

    To support faculty in completing the GE Course Review form, CAB, in coordination with Faculty Development’s READI program and the Office of Undergraduate Education, is providing two Support Workshops. At these Support Workshops faculty can complete their Self-Study alongside others and receive support from relevant CAB and READI program faculty.

    • Support Workshop #1 for Faculty Self-Study Tuesday 11/15, 3:30-5:30pm, BUTE 101.
      A concurrent Zoom session will also be available. FAculty completing the Self-Study have already received a link to the zoom session. For the link contact Dr. Corey Sparks,
    • Support Workshop #2 for Faculty Self-Study Wednesday, 11/30, 1-3pm, BUTE 101.
      A concurrent Zoom session will also be available. FAculty completing the Self-Study have already received a link to the zoom session. For the link contact Dr. Corey Sparks,
  • Important Advice from your Students

    During the 2021-22 consultation on the construction of a GE course review process, students (from the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, Honors Program, REACH Program, Office of Tribal Relations, and STAR Center) strongly supported the twelve antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies, but had very important concerns to share with instructors.

    • Students want instructors to take these objectives seriously.
    • Students want instructors to research publications on students lived experiences and cultural assets, rather than expecting students to "teach" their instructors (in reference to Objectives 6, 7, and 9).
    • Students want instructors to be especially aware of never putting BIPOC students in situations where they might be expected represent their cultures (in reference to Objectives 4, 6, and 7).
    • Students want instructors to be mindful and respectful of students who don't share the underlying values expressed by the antiracist teaching practices and pedagogies (in reference to Objective 2).
    • Students want instructors to implement student self grading judiciously since students with imposter syndrome may self assess much more harshly than students with less or no imposter syndrome (in reference to Objective 10).
    • Students want instructors to be aware that classroom climate surveys about racism are never really anonymous for students from deeply underrepresented groups, and BIPOC students fear retaliation for providing honest feedback (in reference to Objective 11).
    • Students want instructors to never use student experiences, perspectives, or testimony in their own research or advancement.