4 Gen Ed at PSU

The information in this section of the book about PSU’s General Education program is from Plymouth State University’s 2017-18 Academic Catalog.

Plymouth State University provides opportunities for students to cultivate the mind in ways that will lead them to full awareness as adults, and to lives in which occupational achievement is balanced by social responsibility, cultural experience, and personal happiness. The University measures its excellence, not by the quality of students who enter its doors, but by the quality it adds to those who graduate. Because of this commitment, Plymouth State University believes that every student must receive a strong general education as well as specialized instruction in a field. The undergraduate General Education program gives students a broad perspective on ideas and an awareness of diverse human experiences and cultures.

The General Education program is meant to ensure that students develop the skills necessary for academic success and lifelong learning, an appreciation of the various ways scholars consider and understand human experience, and an appreciation of the process by which different approaches to scholarship can be brought to bear on the same problem. Courses taken to ensure breadth of knowledge emphasize the relevance and application of methods of inquiry and
content to students’ lives.


To live and learn in a multicultural, multimedia, multidimensional world, students need certain skills. These are the competencies expected of an educated person, the skills needed for lifelong learning. In this General Education program, the following skills are developed in meaningful contexts.

Critical Thinking: the abilities to compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize; and to challenge underlying assumptions; to take imaginative leaps and intellectual risks; and to solve problems creatively and effectively.

Reading: the achievement of advanced literacy; that is, the ability to comprehend written material within a variety of genres, and to articulate one’s response verbally and in writing.

Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to analyze quantitative materials and use quantitative techniques to solve problems.

Writing: development of a writing process that includes the ability to pre-write (brainstorm, outline, take notes, free-write) on a selected topic; to prepare, assess, and organize information; and to compose, revise, and edit a polished product.

Speaking and Listening: the ability to use both verbal and nonverbal skills to communicate effectively in one or more languages, to listen actively, and to take part respectfully in group discussions.

Conducting Research: the ability to locate, comprehend, and synthesize information; and to understand what constitutes reliable evidence for decision making.

Working with Information Technology: the ability to perform searches; to use word processing and spreadsheets; to work with database management systems and presentation software; to work with software to enhance the creative process; and to make effective use of software to organize information and to communicate with others.

Collaborating with Others: to know, understand, and respond to others’ feelings and perspectives; to work and learn in teams to enhance interpersonal relationship skills; and to develop an awareness of leadership approaches and the ability to influence others.


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First Year Seminar Readings by Cathie LeBlanc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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