NDUS hosts General Education Summit to announce common learning outcomes

October 29, 2014

The North Dakota General Education Council hosted its fall summit Friday, Oct. 10 at Bismarck State College. The council is made up of representatives from each public, private and tribal institution in North Dakota with the goal of improving general education delivery in the state.


Nationally, many colleges and universities are looking at ways to improve student learning by focusing on college-level outcomes. Since 2009, the NDGEC has held a series of summits where faculty and staff engaged in conversations regarding trends and issues in North Dakota general education.  This summit brings together the unified work of the institutions of North Dakota in agreeing on five student outcomes:

  • Breadth and depth of knowledge,
  • Critical and creative thinking,
  • Quantitative literacy,
  • Written communication and
  • Oral communication.

“No longer is a set amount of minutes or credits a guarantee of excellence,” said Teresa Tande, associate professor at Lake Region State College and president of the council. “Students need to be able to demonstrate what they know and what they can do.”


The day before the summit, statewide faculty experts worked together to define a standard of achievement for each of the above learning outcomes. Based on discussion at the Summit, each North Dakota campus will be able to have a conversation about those standards before the NDGEC votes on them in the spring.


“I am thrilled to see that you are attempting to measure attributes of student success which (unlike graduation rates or passing courses rates) are directly related to what a college/university is supposed to do,” said Rep. Eliot Glassheim in an email to the North Dakota University System office.


“The North Dakota University System is extremely supportive of this grassroots, faculty-led commitment to transformative learning that enables students to meet emerging challenges in the workplace and to raise the quality of student learning,” said Lisa Johnson, NDUS Director of Systemwide Student Entry, Transfer, and Retention. “The agreement on learning outcomes is a great accomplishment for our state and, more importantly, our students.”