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WSU Undergraduate Education UCORE

For Faculty & Advisors /

Proposing, Revising, and Renewing a UCORE Course

Prospective UCORE courses must be approved through a formal proposal and review process. Revisions to existing UCORE courses that require major curricular changes must also be approved by the UCORE committee. Existing UCORE courses must be renewed through a formal process to maintain alignment and adherence to UCORE learning outcomes. 

Please use the buttons below to select your department’s desired approval 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

*Following these steps if you are requesting UCORE designation for either a brand new course (never taught) or an existing WSU course (currently taught).

For each of WSU’s baccalaureate students, the UCORE component of their degree provides the breadth of learning that complements more focused study within the major. The balance of breadth and depth in every degree reflects the recognition that effective leaders in all fields of work 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 a student’s full course load in their first semester or first year at the university. In many cases, the particular UCORE course that a student takes in a given designation will 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. Ultimately, all UCORE classes should focus clearly on the development of student learning, especially the cultivation of transferable skills, including but not limited to communication, information literacy, and critical thinking. Courses should enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities as articulated in the WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes, which encourage the development of lifelong learning skills of integrating and synthesizing concepts in order to solve real problems.

  1. Getting started (for department chairs/undergraduate studies committee chairs/faculty involved in teaching the course):
    1. Review the current UCORE Handbook for updated information about the Learning Outcomes for the course’s intended UCORE designator and other elements needed for UCORE courses/syllabi. Identify specific outcomes that the course fulfills. Note that each designator has specific sets of required outcomes.
    2. Communicate with department faculty or staff to determine (1) who has been teaching this course (if previously taught without UCORE designation) in recent years and (2) how syllabi and expectations are communicated to instructors.
    3. Determine whose responsibility it will be to collect and prepare proposal materials.
    4. Communicate submission deadlines and other relevant information and/or materials as necessary.
    5. Department chairs should review and sign off on new course request materials before faculty member completes new course request form (see step 3 below).
  2. Preparing materials (for undergraduate studies committees/faculty):
    1. Review the current UCORE Handbook for updated information about the Learning Outcomes for the course’s intended UCORE designator and other elements needed for UCORE courses/syllabi. Identify specific outcomes that the course fulfills. Note that each designator has specific sets of required outcomes.
    2. Communicate with other instructors across all sections on all campuses where the course is currently offered (if course is not entirely new) to collect recent syllabi and representative assignment prompts that fulfill the Learning Outcomes for the course’s UCORE designator.
    3. For multi-section and/or multi-campus courses, form a steering committee or regular working group of faculty (if not already in place) involved in the course to ensure consistency and communication of learning outcomes. Expectations are that UCORE 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, activities, etc as they see fit. Consider the extent to which syllabi and assignments are in sync to advance the UCORE learning outcomes before the course is submitted for UCORE designation. Reconcile any divergences before submitting the new UCORE course request. Moving forward, all faculty that may teach the course in the future will have a clear sense of the expectations.
    4. Develop a master syllabus that includes (1) clear language about the course’s place within and value of UCORE to students’ undergraduate experience, (2) a completed Learning Outcomes Grid for this course (see sample UCORE syllabus), and (3) up-to-date required components per WSU’s Syllabus Checklist. Be clear throughout the syllabus, including in the Learing Outcomes grid, how assignments and activities advance the required learning outcomes. A completed Learning Outcomes Grid is required in the syllabus for any course seeking UCORE designation. Grids for each designator can be downloaded, completed, and inserted as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG]. Also consult the sample UCORE syllabus.
    5. Select a representative assignment prompt or prompts to include in the new course request. In some cases, key assignment prompts and assignment descriptions in syllabi will require revision from previous iterations if the course has been taught in the past. Be sure that the prompt or prompts collectively address all required learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Consult the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning’s Assignment Design webpage for assistance.
    6. After approval, share the final new course request package with all instructors currently or potentially teaching the course. Use it as a training or orientation tool for any instructors teaching the course in the future.
  3. Complete the New UCORE Course Request Form  via our course review platform, Workzone, in full.
    1. As part of completion of the New UCORE Course Request Form, you will be asked to upload the following documents: (1) master syllabus, and (2) representative assignment prompt(s). Please upload as a single combined PDF file. Title the file as follows: Course Prefix_Course Number_UCORE Designator.
    2. Respond to requests from the UCORE committee regarding any further information.
  1. A completed New UCORE Course Request Form.
  2. A detailed master syllabus that includes the following components:
    1. Clear language about the course’s place within UCORE, including how the course fulfills learning outcomes for its specific UCORE designation and value of UCORE to students’ undergraduate experience. For instance, the syllabus for a Diversity [DIVR] course should clearly address how the course helps students move beyond perception-based comparisons, understand how power, privilege, stereotypes are constructed and sustained, etc. Social Science [SSCI] syllabi should not only address how the course fulfills disciplinary learning outcomes, but does so within the context of UCORE’s [SSCI] requirements, including the use of quantitative reasoning. The UCORE Handbook contains required elements for each UCORE designation. For sample UCORE syllabus language, consult this adaptable UCORE syllabus language document.
    2. A completed Learning Outcomes Grid for the course’s specified UCORE designation that explicitly spells out which UCORE, course, and (if applicable) program learning goals the course will advance. To “advance” a student toward a learning goal means that by the end of the course, each student that passes the course will have a greater ability, as specified by the learning goal, than the student had when beginning the course. Students should have practice with feedback in order to improve their ability. Grids for each designator can be downloaded, completed, and inserted as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG]
    3. Up-to-date Syllabus Components: Review the current Syllabus Checklist for requirements, recommendations, and additional resources related to course planning and syllabi. This document is updated annually, to provide up-to-date language for current required policy statements, as well as resources to assist faculty. Additional information is available on the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education’s policies page.
  3. A representative assignment prompt or prompts that faculty teaching the course agree advance(s) the required learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Be sure that the prompt or prompts collectively address all required learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. 

***The UCORE committee will not consider a course for UCORE designation if the proposal package lacks any of the aforementioned components. Proposals will be returned for revision and may miss subsequent deadlines as stated below.

Beginning in August 2019, the UCORE committee will transition away from Sharepoint and begin using Workzone for its review and approval process. This shift will apply to all new, revise, and renew UCORE course requests. You can access all UCORE request forms here: https://ucorewsu.sharedwork.com/requests

As part of completing the New UCORE Course Request Form, you will enter your WSU email address, which will serve as your user ID to access Workzone. Once your request is reviewed, you will be set up as a partner user to receive any requests for revision. You will also have the ability to upload any revised materials as necessary. For access issues related to Workzone, please contact either Clif Stratton (clif.stratton@wsu.edu) or Anne Peasley (anne.peasley@wsu.edu).

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

Revising Existing UCORE Courses

Revising a course that hold UCORE designation may or may not require review by the UCORE Committee, depending on the nature of the change.

If you are requesting a major change to a course that holds UCORE designation and you are not also renewing the course’s UCORE status at the same time, use this UCORE Major Change Request Form. Your request will also involve review by your college dean, the Office of the Registrar, and the Catalog Subcommittee of Faculty Senate.

If you are requesting major changes while also requesting renewal of a course’s UCORE status, see the “My department intends to renew an existing UCORE course” section of this webpage to access the “UCORE Renewal Request Form”. There is a place on the form to request major changes as part of the renewal process. 

If you intend to drop a course’s UCORE designation, please use the Drop UCORE Designation Request Form.

Use the UCORE Major Change Request Form to request the following Major Curricular changes outside of your course’s assigned renewal period: 

  1. Change to UCORE designation (i.e. change from DIVR to HUM)
  2. Change to subject (course prefix)
  3. Change to course number
  4. Increase in course credits
  5. Change in variable or repeat credit
  6. Addition of conjoint status (note: UCORE CAPS courses cannot hold conjoint status)
  7. Revision to grading type (note that students cannot receive UCORE credit if a UCORE course is taken pass/fail)
  8. Revision to lecture/lab/studio ratios

The UCORE Committee will not review Minor Curricular changes to courses that hold UCORE designation. Please visit the registrar’s curriculum change website for appropriate steps and required minor curricular change forms. Minor changes include:

  1. Title changes
  2. Catalog description changes
  3. Prerequisite changes
  4. Addition or removal of cross-listing
  5. Addition or removal of University of Idaho cooperative status
  6. Credit reduction, including reduction in variable or repeat credit
  7. Dropping a non-service course
  8. Dropping “Writing in the Major [M]” status

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 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 will commence in Fall 2019 and conclude in Fall 2023. Any course approved for UCORE designation before AY 2018-19 will undergo renewal during this period. 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 skills.
  2. Communicate 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. Ensure that courses approved are periodically reviewed and updated to meet current UCORE requirements at an appropriate level of rigor.
  5. 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.
  6. Give commendations – recognize strong samples and practices.
  7. Suggest areas for improvement – reference strong samples and practices.
  1. If you do not intend to seek UCORE status renewal for a particular course, so long as nothing else about the course is changing, complete a Drop UCORE Designation Request Form. 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 from Fall 2019 through Spring 2023 in the approximate order in which courses were originally proposed and approved.
    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.
    4. Communicate submission deadlines and other relevant information and/or materials to relevant colleagues as necessary.
    5. Department chairs should review and sign off on (initial) prepared submission materials when ready (see step 3 below).
  3. Preparing materials (for undergraduate studies committee chairs/faculty)
    1. Review the current UCORE Handbook for updated information about the Learning Outcomes for the course’s UCORE designator and other elements needed for UCORE courses/syllabi. Identify specific outcomes that the course fulfills. Note that each designator has specific sets of required outcomes.
    2. Communicate with other instructors across all sections on all campuses where the course is offered to collect recent syllabi and representative assignment prompts that fulfill the Learning Outcomes for the course’s UCORE designator.
    3. For multi-section and/or multi-campus courses, form a steering committee or regular working group of faculty (if not already in place) involved in the course to ensure consistency and communication of learning outcomes. Expectations are that UCORE 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, activities, etc as they see fit. Consider the extent to which syllabi and assignments remain in sync to advance the UCORE learning outcomes or have diverged over time. Reconcile any divergences before submitting the final renewal package. The committee expects that moving forward, all faculty that may teach the course in the future will have a clear sense of the expectations.
    4. Develop a master syllabus, most likely based on an exemplary recent delivery, that includes (1) clear language about the course’s place within and value of UCORE to students’ undergraduate experience, (2) a completed Learning Outcomes Grid for this course (consult the sample UCORE syllabus), and (3) up-to-date syllabus components per WSU’s Syllabus Checklist. Be clear in the syllabus how assignments and activities advance the required learning outcomes. A completed Learning Outcomes Grid is required in the syllabus for any course seeking renewal. Grids for each designator can be downloaded, completed, and inserted as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG].
    5. Select representative assignment prompt or prompts to include in the renewal package. In some cases, key assignment prompts and assignment descriptions in syllabi will require revision from previous iterations. Consult the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning’s Assignment Design webpage for assistance. Be sure that assignment prompts collectively demonstrate how students will practice and develop each of the skills enumerated in the learning outcomes for the course’s particular UCORE designation.
    6. Download and complete the two-page renewal form in full.
    7. Assemble the completed (1) renewal form, (2) master syllabus, and (3) representative assignment prompt into a single PDF file. Title the file as follows: Course Prefix_Course Number_UCORE Designator
    8. Ask your department chair to review the renewal package and initial.
    9. After successful renewal, share the final renewal package with all instructors currently or potentially teaching the course. Use it as a training or orientation tool for any instructors teaching the course in the future.
  4. Submit renewal package; respond as needed (for chairs or department staff)
    1. Beginning in August 2019, the UCORE committee will transition away from Sharepoint and begin using Workzone for its review and approval process. This shift will apply to all new, revise, and renew UCORE course requests. You can access all UCORE request forms here: https://ucorewsu.sharedwork.com/requests. To initiate a renewal request, use the UCORE Renewal Request Form. Note that the UCORE Renewal Request Form is simply an entry form into the Workzone portal – a way to register your request with the UCORE committee and to provide basic information about your course. The bulk of your communication about the course will occur in the aforementioned two-page renewal form and accompanying syllabus and assignment prompt(s). Early renewal submissions are welcome.

    2. Respond to requests from the UCORE committee regarding any further information.
  1. A completed UCORE course renewal form.
  2. A detailed master syllabus that includes:
    1. Clear language about the course’s place within UCORE, including how the course fulfills learning outcomes for its specific UCORE designation and value of UCORE to students’ undergraduate experience. For instance, the syllabus for a Diversity [DIVR] course should clearly address how the course helps students move beyond perception-based comparisons, understand how power, privilege, stereotypes are constructed and sustained, etc. Social Science [SSCI] syllabi should not only address how the course fulfills disciplinary learning outcomes, but does so within the context of UCORE’s [SSCI] requirements, including the use of quantitative reasoning. The UCORE Handbook contains required elements for each UCORE designation. For sample UCORE syllabus language, consult this adaptable UCORE syllabus language document.
    2. A completed Learning Outcomes Grid for the course’s specified UCORE designation that explicitly spells out which UCORE course, and (if applicable) program learning goals the course will advance. To “advance” a student toward a learning goal means that by the end of the course, each student that passes the course will have a greater ability, as specified by the learning goal, than the student had when beginning the course. Students should have practice with feedback in order to improve their ability. Grids for each designator can be downloaded, completed, and inserted as follows: [ARTS] [BSCI] [CAPS] [COMM] [DIVR] [HUM] [PSCI] [QUAN] [SSCI] [WRTG]
    3. Up-to-date Syllabus Components: Review the current Syllabus Checklist for requirements, recommendations, and additional resources related to course planning and syllabi. This document is updated annually, to provide up-to-date language for current required policy statements, as well as resources to assist faculty. Additional information is available on the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education’s policies page.
  3. A representative assignment prompt or prompts that faculty teaching the course agree advances the required learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Be sure that the prompt or prompts collectively address all required learning outcomes for the course’s UCORE designation. Consult the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning’s Assignment Design webpage for assistance.

***The UCORE committee will not consider a course for renewal if the renewal package lacks any of the aforementioned components.

Beginning in August 2019, the UCORE committee will transition away from Sharepoint and begin using Workzone for its review and approval process. This shift will apply to all new, revise, and renew UCORE course requests. You can access all UCORE request forms here: https://ucorewsu.sharedwork.com/requests. To initiate a renewal request, use the UCORE Renewal Request Form

Note that the UCORE Renewal Request Form is simply an entry form into the Workzone portal – a way to register your request with the UCORE committee and to provide basic information about your course. The bulk of your communication about the course will occur in the aforementioned two-page renewal form and accompanying syllabus and assignment prompt(s). Early renewal submissions are welcome.

As part of completing the UCORE Renewal Request Form, you will enter your WSU email address, which will serve as your user ID to access Workzone. Once your request is reviewed, you will be set up as a partner user to receive any requests for revision. You will also have the ability to upload any revised materials as necessary. For access issues related to Workzone, please contact either Clif Stratton (clif.stratton@wsu.edu) or Anne Peasley (anne.peasley@wsu.edu).

The UCORE Committee has organized the first round of renewals to take place over four years from Fall 2019 through Spring 2023. Renewal will take place in the approximate order in which courses were originally approved.

Consult the UCORE renewal schedule to see when to submit specific courses for renewal. Courses that are not submitted by the deadline listed in the renewal schedule will lose UCORE status within two semesters. For example, a course not submitted by 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 Drop UCORE Designation Request Form.

  • If a course is up for renewal in Fall semester, submit the renewal package by December 1. The UCORE committee will review the package 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 the package no later than the end of the subsequent Fall semester.

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.