Roots of Contemporary Issues [ROOT]

As the academic centerpiece of WSU’s First-Year Experience, [ROOT], commonly known as History 105 / 305, or Roots of Contemporary Issues, provides a common intellectual foundation for college learning, upon which students build for the remainder of their undergraduate careers and as they navigate and shape an ever changing world within and beyond the university. ROOT is among the first UCORE designations students complete at WSU and engages students with five of WSU’s Seven Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate. ROOT prepares students to understand the world around them using historical approaches, sources, and modes of communication. Courses engage students with historical perspectives on environmental change, globalization, inequality, competing systems of knowledge, and conflict.

Incoming first-year students take History 105 to satisfy ROOT. Incoming transfer students who have not satisfied all lower-division UCORE with either an Associate’s degree or an Interstate Passport, and who have at least 45 credits, take History 305.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students, regardless of major, who successfully complete [ROOT] should be able to:

  • Examine multiple historical case studies that inform human life in the 21st century. (WSU Learning Goal: Integrative Learning)
  • Recognize the complexity of causes and outcomes of historical change. (WSU Learning Goal: Critical Thinking)
  • Use appropriate evidence from primary and secondary sources to answer historical questions. (WSU Learning Goal: Information Literacy)
  • Use historical approaches and evidence to understand the diversity of the human experience across time and space. (WSU Learning Goal: Diversity)
  • Communicate historical ideas and evidence in written forms with intentionality, clarity, accuracy, and organization. (WSU Learning Goal: Written Communication)

Revised outcomes approved Spring 2022.

View approved ROOT courses


  • HISTORY 105 and HISTORY 305 syllabi, instruction, and assessments are all coordinated by the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program Director, Assistant Director, and Curriculum Coordinator.
  • History 105 is a 3-credit lower-division course for all first-year students.
  • History 305 is 3-credit upper-division course for transfer students with at least 45 credits but without a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA). 
  • Given its unique position within the UCORE curriculum, the ROOT course carries a strong responsibility for baseline evidence of student learning. Assessment reports from previous years are available from the RCI program’s annual assessment process and UCORE key assessments.

Additional Resources

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Required Learning Outcomes

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