College of Liberal Arts

General Studies & Advising Center

GenSt 400 Course Syllabus

Fall 2011

Instructors: Tom Whitacre, Anna Chow
Phone: 509-335-8731
Text: Integrated and Critical Thinking Guide 

Six Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate 

Visual Representation

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Learning Coutomes:

Student will be able to:

  1. Critically analyze their college experiences by reflecting upon coursework, major curriculum, extracurricular activities, and personal development (University Learning Goal # 5—Self in Society--Understand their own values, goals, and perspectives in order to gain an understanding of those held by other individuals and cultures.)
  2. Apply their degree to personal, professional, and academic goals (University Learning Goal # 6—Specialty--Apply the concepts of the discipline to personal, academic, service learning, professional, and/or community activities.)
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills by utilizing multiple perspectives, appropriate context, and strong grammatical abilities in writing (University Learning Goal # 1—Critical and Creative Thinking--Consider multiple perspectives from various people while not censoring their own perspective. University Learning Goal # 4—Communication--Visually express ideas, propositions, and beliefs in coherent, concise, and technically correct forms effective with general and disciplinary audiences. )
  4. 4) Research career options using university and networking resources.
  5. 5) Provide pertinent feedback to the General Studies Program which allows curricular and service improvements.

Catalog Description

General Studies Portfolio 1 credit; prereq senior standing. Evaluating one's educational experience and presenting that evaluation in written and symbolic form. S, F grading

Credit: Academic Regulation 27 - One semester credit is assigned for a minimum of 45 hours of time commitment. For independent work such as GenSt 400, three hours per week average for a 15-week semester is expected.

Course Requirements

Written Assignments

These assignments are designed for you to examine and reflect critically on your own experiences as a General Studies major, and they function as an occasion for you to assess our program. This is an opportunity to integrate your college education, in terms of achievements, struggles, and powerful learning experiences. This effort needs to be part reflective and part research, utilizing all available resources relevant to the discussion, rather than write papers limited to personal narratives.

The Integrated and Critical Thinking Guide will be used to grade your first assignment. Critical thinking is one of the most important and valuable qualities that college students can possess. It not only applies to the college setting but also in the professional arenas and everyday life. Employers are constantly seeking to hire people who can not only think, but critically assess each problem and situation from multiple perspectives and come up with relevant solutions. Applying the Integrated and Critical Thinking Guide to this course will help us to improve and refine instructional methods which will enhance higher intellectual skills over students' college careers and beyond.

Please type your answers (double-spaced, 12-point font, and 1" margins) and pay attention to grammatical form.

Assignment 1

Write a reflective paper evaluating your experience in completing a General Studies degree.

  1. Analyze your selection of General Education Requirements (GERs — intercultural studies, sciences, diversity, Tier III, etc.), concentrations or areas (primary vs. secondary, or areas 1, 2, and 3), and your use of free electives or prior course work for another major.
  2. Demonstrate the relation of each of these three components of the degree to your personal and professional goals.
  3. Discuss your plans for integrating your educational experience to your employment. Be sure to include discussions of the multi-disciplinary aspects of the program, your areas of expertise, and any additional input (from career services, community college preparations, study abroad, internship, athletic programs, clubs and extracurricular activities, etc.) that are relevant to the discussion.

    (Parts A, B, and C should be 5 pages minimum in length and you need to use the critial thinking guide for this paper)
  4. Create a visual representation of your college experience and how it will affect your future. This can be a chart, diagram, graph, etc. that shows significant experiences or events that have caused a changed in your college career, e.g. moving away from home, change of major, study abroad, internship, death in the family, marriage, first job, etc. Be creative! Include a paragraph or two about the significance of your model and why you chose these particular events.
    See Visual Representation
  5. Complete a self-assessment of the first assignment. This assessment will ask you to rate your completion of the first assignment according to the Integrated and Critical Thinking Guide. It will also ask that you give some feedback about the assignment and the guide. Your response will be anonymous and confidential and will not affect your grade for the course.
    See Self-assessment

Due: September 16, 2011

Assignment 2

Select one of the following projects:

  1. Utilize university and Internet resources to create and assemble a resume and a letter of application for a specific position application (attach a copy of the position notice).

  2. Describe and assess how the General Studies degree affects your experience in a current or past employment. This should not be purely a summarizing of courses taken for the degree, but encompass a critical examination of how these courses apply to your employment. (3 pages minimum)

Due: October 14, 2011

Assignment 3

Complete the General Studies Senior Exit Survey. This survey is designed to assess the quality of the services offered by the General Studies Program. Since identifying your honest, constructive opinion is the purpose of this survey, the grade will be based on the thoroughness of your answers, not the content or nature of the opinions you express. Individual responses will be kept confidential. This survey will be available on online, however, currently it cannot be submitted online so you will need to print out a hard copy to submit to the General Studies Program. Access the survey at:

Due: November 18, 2011.

Resources for Writing Assignments

Because this course is for students with senior standing, effective writing style and correct grammar and syntax are expected. You might wish to consult texts you used in writing courses (Engl 101, [M] classes, technical writing courses) or standard style manuals (APA, Chicago Manual of Style) for assistance. Footnotes are not required unless you quote something. If you have written application letters or resumes for other courses, you may use them for this course; however, please note that your submission must be for a specific position for which your letter and resume might be altered.

Resources for Position Notices

You may use any standard job listing service, Internet or otherwise, and should select a position for which you might actually apply. If your materials submitted for grading are examples you have actually used in applying for a position, please let us know if you were successful. If you are willing, please indicate if you are willing to allow use of your examples for other students with your name and other identifying information removed.


The course is S, F. The papers will also be S, F graded. An S on each assignment is required for an S in the course.

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CAS General Studies & Advising Center, Daggy Hall 201, PO Box 642421, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-2421
509-335-8731 • Contact Us • Last updated December 16, 2011.