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Washington State University
UCORE: University Common Requirements Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Proposing and Renewing UCORE Courses

Per Faculty Senate, prospective UCORE courses are approved through a formal review process. Existing UCORE courses are renewed through a review process that ensures continued alignment with student learning outcomes.

Major or minor changes to a course that holds UCORE designation requires review by the UCORE Committee only if the request is to change the UCORE designation (i.e. requesting to change from HUM to SSCI). For all other course changes, please visit the registrar’s curriculum change website.

Use the buttons below to select your department’s desired review process. Note: If you are using a screen reader, you can ignore the buttons. Content is already visible in your reader.

Proposing New UCORE Courses

The UCORE component of the baccalaureate provides the breadth of learning that complements more focused study in the major. The balance of breadth and depth in every degree recognizes that effective leaders in all fields draw on a breadth of knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplines. In addition, UCORE courses merit particular attention for several other reasons. UCORE courses may comprise most of students’ first year course loads. In many cases, a particular UCORE course that a student takes in a given designation may be the only college-level course taken from that disciplinary perspective. For these non-majors, UCORE courses not only introduce students to the specific topic of a given course but also to the modes of inquiry, evidence, and critical thought that govern the wider disciplinary arena.

  1. Preparing materials (for undergraduate studies committees/faculty):
    1. Review the UCORE Curriculum for the required student learning outcomes.
    2. Communicate with instructors across all sections on all campuses (if applicable) where the course is currently or intended to be offered. If the course already exists, gather recent syllabi and representative assignment prompts. Consider the extent to which syllabi and assignments are in sync to advance student learning outcomes before the course is submitted for UCORE designation.
    3. For multi-section and/or multi-campus courses, form a working group of faculty (if not already in place) involved in the course. Expectations are that learning outcomes and the means to achieve them are apparent and similar across all sections and campuses, but that faculty may adopt varied assigned readings, assignments, topics, or activities. 
    4. Develop a master syllabus that includes clear communication to students about the course’s place within the UCORE curriculum and includes up-to-date student learning outcomes and and university-required syllabus components.
    5. Complete a learning outcomes grid and submit it with the syllabus and assignment prompts. Grids for each designation can be downloaded and completed as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG].
    6. Select, revise, or develop assignment prompts and activity descriptions, including criteria for evaluation, that collectively demonstrate how the course meets all student learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Consult the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness’s Assignment Design webpage, as needed.
  2. Complete a UCORE course request form. The form will ask you to upload the syllabus, learning outcomes grid, and assignment and activity prompts/descriptions.
  3. Respond to communication from the UCORE committee regarding any further information or revision, as needed.
  4. After approval, share the final new course request package with all instructors teaching the course.
  1. A master syllabus that includes clear language about the course’s place within the UCORE curriculum. For adaptable sample paragraphs, consult your chosen designation’s curriculum page on this website.
  2. A completed student learning outcomes grid for the course’s specified UCORE designation that explicitly aligns course assignments, activities, and assessment with student learning outcomes. Grids for each designation can be downloaded and completed as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG].
  3. Activity descriptions and/or assignment prompts. Prompts should include descriptions of the purpose(s), task(s), and criteria by which students will be evaluated in relation to the learning outcomes (may be in the form of a rubric).
  4. A completed UCORE course request form. The form will ask you to attach the aforementioned documents. For access issues related to the form, please email ucore.wsu@wsu.edu.

The UCORE committee will return for revision any proposals that lack any of the aforementioned components. Returned proposals may miss subsequent review deadlines and delay UCORE designation.

If you plan to offer a UCORE course for the first time in Fall semester, the deadline for submission is October 1 of the previous Fall semester.

If you plan to offer a UCORE course for the first time in Spring semester, the deadline for submission is February 1 of the previous Spring semester.

Renewing UCORE Courses

All courses that hold UCORE designation undergo periodic renewal to ensure that they continue to meet general education learning outcomes at WSU. The UCORE committee periodically revises and/or clarifies UCORE Learning Outcomes based on latest national best practices, assessment data, university policy initiatives, and other criteria. Therefore, departments seeking renewal should carefully adhere to the following steps to ensure that courses successfully renew UCORE status. Recognizing that courses evolve over time, your department is welcome to request renewal of the course under a different UCORE designator, if you find that is a better fit.

After a pilot renewal process involving five courses in AY 2018-19, a four-year process of renewal of UCORE courses commenced in 2019-20. Any course approved for UCORE designation before AY 2018-19 will undergo renewal during this period. The UCORE Committee put on hold submissions during AY 2020-21 per COVID-19, thus delaying the process by a year. The renewal schedule (revised May 2021) now concludes renewals in 2024, with final reviews taking place in Fall 2024. See the UCORE renewal schedule.

  1. Ensure that UCORE courses on all campuses contribute as expected to advance WSU’s Seven Learning Goals, helping to confirm that the university offers a coherent general education curriculum through which students can develop a breadth of knowledge and range of transferable skills needed in any major or career path.
  2. Refine strategies for communicating the value to students and other stakeholders of a broad general education that complements depth of study within major programs.
  3. Confirm department ownership of and responsibility for their UCORE courses:
    1. Departments develop appropriate infrastructure for consistency and regularity of UCORE course offerings.
    2. Faculty regularly review and update syllabi to align with UCORE learning goals and outcomes.
    3. New instructors know when they are teaching a UCORE class and they have access to recent syllabi and assignments.
    4. Faculty assess student learning and share/discuss results, to help refine UCORE courses and assignments.
    5. Departments improve UCORE courses and instruction over time; periodically correcting syllabus drift.
    6. Faculty responsible for UCORE courses regularly communicate within and across campuses, including for multi-section courses.
  4. Value diverse approaches to course design and teaching, leveraging the unique strengths of each campus, discipline, faculty, and students, within UCORE’s framework for general education.
  5. Give commendations – recognize strong samples and practices.
  6. Suggest areas for improvement – reference strong samples and practices.
  1. If you do not intend to seek UCORE renewal for a particular course, so long as nothing else about the course is changing, complete a UCORE course request form and select the drop option. If you do intend to seek renewal…
  2. Getting started (for department chairs/undergraduate studies committee chairs)
    1. Consult the UCORE renewal schedule to determine which courses to prepare for renewal in any given semester. The schedule runs through 2024 in the approximate order in which courses were originally proposed and approved while balancing UCORE committee review capacity.
    2. Communicate with department faculty and/or staff to determine (a) who has been teaching this course in recent years and (b) how syllabi, assignments, and expectations are communicated to instructors for the course’s specified UCORE learning outcomes.
    3. Determine whose responsibility it will be to collect and prepare renewal materials. Communicate submission deadlines and other relevant information and/or materials to relevant colleagues as necessary.
    4. Department chairs should review prepared submission materials before submitting (see step 3 below).
  3. Preparing materials (for undergraduate studies committee chairs/faculty)
    1. Review the UCORE Curriculum for the required student learning outcomes for the course’s intended UCORE designation.
    2. Communicate with instructors across all sections on all campuses (if applicable) where the course is currently or intended to be offered. Gather recent syllabi and representative assignment prompts. Consider the extent to which syllabi and assignments are in sync to advance student learning outcomes before the course is submitted for renewal.
    3. For multi-section and/or multi-campus courses, form a working group of faculty (if not already in place) involved in the course. Expectations are that learning outcomes and the means to achieve them are apparent and similar across all sections and campuses, but that faculty may adopt varied assigned readings, assignments, topics, or activities. 
    4. Develop a master syllabus that includes clear communication to students about the course’s place within the UCORE curriculum and includes up-to-date student learning outcomes and and university-required syllabus components.
    5. Complete a learning outcomes grid and submit it with the syllabus and assignment prompts. Grids for each designation can be downloaded and completed as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG].
    6. Select, revise, or develop assignment prompts and activity descriptions, including criteria for evaluation, that collectively demonstrate how the course meets all student learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Consult the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness’s Assignment Design webpage, as needed.
    7. Complete a UCORE course request form. The form will ask you to upload the syllabus, learning outcomes grid, and assignment and activity prompts/descriptions.
    8. Respond to communication from the UCORE committee regarding any further information or revision, as needed.
    9. After approval, share the final new course request package with all instructors teaching the course.
  1. A completed UCORE renewal form. Click here for a sample completed renewal form.
  2. A master syllabus that includes clear language about the course’s place within the UCORE curriculum. For adaptable sample paragraphs, consult your chosen designation’s curriculum page on this website.
  3. A completed student learning outcomes grid for the course’s specified UCORE designation that explicitly aligns course assignments, activities, and assessment with student learning outcomes. Grids for each designation can be downloaded and completed as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG].
  4. Activity descriptions and/or assignment prompts. Prompts should include descriptions of the purpose(s), task(s), and criteria by which students will be evaluated in relation to the learning outcomes (may be in the form of a rubric).
  5. A completed UCORE course request form. The form will ask you to attach the aforementioned documents. For access issues related to the form, please email ucore.wsu@wsu.edu.

The UCORE committee will return for revision any renewal package that lacks any of the aforementioned components.

Consult the UCORE renewal schedule to see when to submit specific courses for renewal. If a course is up for renewal in Fall semester, submit the renewal package by December 1. The UCORE committee will review it no later than the end of the subsequent Spring semester. If a course is up for renewal in Spring semester, submit the renewal package by April 1. The UCORE committee will review it no later than the end of the subsequent Fall semester.

NON-SUBMISSION

Prior to each semester, chairs and directors can expect communication from the UCORE director about upcoming renewals. The UCORE Committee will assume that units that do not submit courses by the deadline listed in UCORE renewal schedule do not intend to renew. In these cases, courses will lose UCORE status within two semesters. For example, a course not submitted by a Fall deadline would not hold UCORE designation beginning the following Fall semester.

***If you do not intend to seek UCORE status renewal for a particular course, so long as nothing else about the course is changing, please promptly complete a UCORE course request form.

If the renewal package is submitted on time but upon committee review does not ultimately satisfy the learning outcomes for the particular UCORE designation, the course’s UCORE status will drop two semesters after the committee’s notification of decision. For example, a course reviewed by the committee in Spring semester would drop its UCORE status the following Spring semester. Alternately, the UCORE Committee may return renewal packages for revision.