Office of the

UMKC Essentials

Fall 2020, UMKC will implement UMKC Essentials, the new general education program. All incoming first-time college (FTC) students will be required to complete UMKC Essentials curriculum. Incoming transfer students may opt for the MDHE Core 42 curriculum.

In 2016, Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer convened a new general education task force. The task force was charged with the review and re-design of the University’s General Education Program in order to meet existing requirements of the Higher Learning Commission and new requirements outlined in Missouri House Bill 2651: Higher Education Core Curriculum Transfer Act. The core and emphasis of the program will focus on the skills, knowledge, and values that UMKC students should demonstrate at the conclusion of their studies to demonstrate competence as individual citizens, professionals, and community leaders. 

UMKC Essentials Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

UMKC Essentials, the new general education program beginning Fall 2020, engages students and faculty in teaching and learning that is less about covering content in typical domains using a lecture-based approach. Instead, UMKC Essentials will explore general education courses through critical thinking, tackling challenging problems, and exploring a variety of disciplines.

Mission: “As you engage in UMKC Essentials, you will build your communication and critical thinking skills, hone your creative abilities, and tackle challenging problems by exploring varied disciplines.”

Vision: “UMKC Essentials will prepare you for the dynamic, diverse world that needs your contributions as both an informed citizen and in complex workplaces.”

The General Education 2.0 Task Force developed the UMKC Essentials curricular model and student learning outcomes. Over 200 UMKC faculty participated in related showcases and meetings. More than 50 faculty and staff are serving on implementation teams to prepare campus for the First Semester Experience in Fall 2020.  Faculty Senate provided feedback to the task force during academic year 2016-2017. The Provost approved the curricular model and student learning outcomes in March 2017.  

Goal: UMKC students will communicate effectively orally and in writing.

Student learning outcomes for oral communication:

  1. Communicate a clear central message
  2. Develop a purposeful organizational pattern
  3. Incorporate materials to support the central message
  4. Use delivery techniques appropriate to the goal and the context
  5. Choose language responsive to the goal and the context
Student learning outcomes for written communication:
  1. Develop a clear focus
  2. Construct a purposeful organizational scheme appropriate to the rhetorical situation
  3. Identify, analyze, and synthesize credible and relevant sources to support focus
  4. Compose appropriate and relevant content to illustrate mastery of subject
  5. Employ format, style, syntax, and usage appropriate to the rhetorical situation
  6. Utilize appropriate mechanics, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

Goal: UMKC Students will produce, interpret, and present quantitative information.

Student learning outcomes for quantitative analysis:
  1. Select and correctly apply foundational mathematical systems (e.g., arithmetic, algebra, geometry) and/or statistical methods to solve problems
  2. Analyze information presented in mathematical and symbolic forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables)
  3. Draw appropriate conclusions based on mathematical, statistical, or formal analyses, while recognizing the limits of these analyses
  4. Apply mathematical, statistical, and logical methods in order to determine reasonableness of real-world claims

Goal: UMKC Students will explore issues, ideas, artifacts, and events from multiple perspectives to formulate an evidence-based opinion or conclusion.

Student learning outcomes for critical thinking and analytical reasoning:
  1. Identify a topic, problem, or issue to be addressed
  2. Locate relevant information representing various points of view
  3. Evaluate alternative points of view
  4. Synthesize diverse points of view
  5. Draw a conclusion that is a logical inference from the evidence

Goal: UMKC Students will explore the role of socially responsible citizens and leaders in a democratic society and contribute toward the betterment of the community.

Student learning outcomes for civic and urban engagement:
  1. Analyze general characteristics of relationships between individuals in personal, communal, cultural, political, or economic contexts
  2. Analyze social problems, beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors among individuals, communities, cultures, or markets
  3. Examine the balance between the rights and responsibilities of the individual and the rights and responsibilities of others in an interpersonal, social, cultural, political, or economic context
  4. Evaluate how members of a community, culture, or society both affect and are affected by others, and how one's own civic participation can make a positive contribution to public life

Goal: UMKC Students will draw on a variety of disciplines to examine the factors defining cultural identities, to examing complexities of human cultures, past and present, and to come to an informed sense of self and others.

Student learning outcomes for culture and diversity:

  1. Analyze the factors that shape their own culture and worldview
  2. Examine how cultural beliefs influence behaviors and practices at the individual, organizational, or societal levels
  3. Assess how their own attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and biases impact their interactions with those different from themselves
  4. Recognize the value of worldviews different from one's own

General Education 2.0 Model

As directed by the General Education 2.0 Task Force Charge, GE2.0 will “be driven by clearly stated and measurable student learning outcomes that articulate the essential competencies which faculty strive to instill in all UMKC’s undergraduate students” (Bichelmeyer, July 2016). GE2.0 is not a curriculum, but a program that will provide a common intellectual experience for all UMKC undergraduate students. 

As approved, the model contains two types of courses, foundational courses and essential question courses. Foundational courses include two courses in Written Communication, one course in Oral Communication and one Math Pathways course. The Foundational courses are guided by and will be assessed on the Written and Oral Communication and Quantitative Reasoning SLOs, respectively. 

The remaining six courses (18 credit hours) are satisfied through Essential Questions (EQ) courses. EQ courses are guided by and will be assessed by the Critical Thinking, Culture & Diversity and Civic and Urban Engagement SLOs.

The first EQ course is the First Semester Experience (FSE). As directed by the GE2.0 Charge, FSE provides “a baseline common denominator experience for undergraduate students in all degree programs” (Bichelmeyer, July 2016).  FSE includes lively and engaging classes, peer and mentor conversations around mega majors (groups of related majors), and an introduction to campus resources. Students will also select different events and experiences in which to participate in Kansas City.

The five other EQ courses contain three courses in Critical Thinking, one course in Culture & Diversity and one course in Civic & Urban Engagement. As stated, these courses are guided by and will be assessed on the respective SLOs. Furthermore, the Critical Thinking courses expose students to critical thinking in three separate disciplinary areas (one course each): humanities, social science, and natural science.

Recommendations for course sequencing is as follows (FTC unless otherwise specified)
FYE and Foundational Courses:

  • FSE (including initial RooWriter) and Written Communication I will be completed first semester (or 15 hours if not full time)
  • Math Pathway and Oral Communications will be completed within first 30 hours
  • Written Communication I is a pre‐requisite for Written Communication II
  • Written Communication II will be completed within the first 60 credit hours
  • Written Communication II must incorporate the final administration of the RooWriter
  • For students transferring Written Communication II, the RooWriter will be completed as a pre‐requisite to any WI courses or within the first 75 credit hours.
  • Students will have a minimum of 30 credit hours or sophomore standing prior to enrolling in Culture and Diversity course
  • Students will have a minimum of 30 credit hours or sophomore standing prior to enrolling in Civic Engagement course

First 12 Hours - Foundation 
Writing (6 hrs)
Oral Communication (3 hrs)
Math Pathway (3 hrs)

Second 18 Hours - Essential Questions
1st Semester Experience (3 hrs)
Critical Thinking in Natural & Physical Sciences (3 hrs) - 100-/200-level classes
Critical Thinking in Arts & Humanities (3 hrs) - 100-/200-level classes
Critical Thinking in Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 hrs) - 100-/200-level classes
Culture & Diversity Class (3 hrs) - 100-/200-level classes
Civic Engagement Class (3 hrs) - 100-/200-level classes