Compass Curriculum

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Overview of Program

What is the new Compass Curriculum program?

This is our first faculty approved campus-wide general education program for all colleges. This program started in the Fall of 2014 with freshman. Transfer students began the program in the Fall 2015.

In addition to the existing composition and quantitative reasoning requirements already shared across colleges, the new curriculum framework consists of all freshmen taking a Gateway Experience (the former Freshman Seminar) course, followed by three Explore courses, a Navigate course (in the third year), and a Summit Experience. Note that the Summit Experience may possibly be a senior seminar course and can be from 0-3 credit hours within the major.

Other integrated components include two Writing Intensive courses, an Inclusiveness Course, and a Sustainability course. Students are also required to take a quantitative reasoning course, and everyone will still be required to do a writing portfolio. LAS area and DOG requirements remain unchanged for students in LAS.

Critical Components:
Gateway Experience- Oral Communication and Responsibility are critical components to the Gateway Experience. Explore- These courses introduce students to a breadth of disciplinary perspectives and methods providing a broad level of understanding within a particular discipline.
Navigate- These courses must focus on “Knowledge in Action,” centering on how engagement in real world endeavors is informed by academic knowledge.
Summit Experience- A Summit Experience centers on allowing students to synthesize skill development. Summit Experiences include a focus on communication skills as well as critical and/or creative thinking. This course is offered within the major.
Writing Intensive Courses (WIC)- WIC courses must emphasize writing as a process and assign at least 3000 words across assignments. This course could be integrated into students' majors, general electives, or general education coursework.
Sustainability Courses- Students will learn about social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, among others.
Inclusiveness (Global/Diversity)- Focus on preparing students for a society with diverse experiences, perspectives and realities, both in the US and, ideally, globally. May also focus on the dynamics and consequences of inclusion and exclusion.

How will this affect my students?
Freshmen that entered in 2014 or later (and transfer students under 30 credit hours) are required to take a Gateway Experience course (GPS 1010). Currently around 80% of our freshman students already take Freshman Seminar. Starting in the Fall of 2014, new students in all colleges on campus will take this intentionally designed program, giving them a signature UCCS experience and preparing them for their professional futures.

Explore courses and LAS Area requirements

How do Explore courses relate to LAS Area Requirements?
The Explore curriculum is comprised of courses focusing on 1) the Physical and Natural World, 2) the Arts, Humanities, and Cultures, and 3) Society, Social and Economic institutions, Health, and Human behavior. While these areas generally track the LAS Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences well, Explore courses are requested from all colleges on campus.

Students will take three courses from the Explore curriculum with each course being from a different category.

Your department may consider listing up to 12 courses on the Explore list per area. For LAS departments, courses can be listed on both the Area requirement list as well as the Explore list, but students can't double-dip. LAS students must decide if a course will count for an LAS Area requirement or an Explore course.

How many Explore courses can my department propose to the GE program?
Your department can propose up to 8 courses/area per department. In fact, LAS departments may consider proposing all of their current Area courses, or adding new courses to the Explore list that are not on the Area requirement list.

Can an Explore course be upper division?
Yes: Explore courses can be lower or upper division.

Are all Explore courses open to students from all majors?
While departments may limit entrance based upon prerequisites, courses without prerequisites or with minimal prerequisites are encouraged.

Can a course offered from a student's major department count towards their Explore courses?

How many Explore courses can a student take in the area of their minor?
Students can take two Explore courses in their minor in LAS.

What if a student takes an Explore course worth more credits than the minimum 3 for their course? For example, what if a student takes a 5 credit course instead of a 3 credit course? Can two credits count towards their LAS area requirements for that component?
No. While there is a minimum number of credits required, three Explore courses of at least three credit hours are required, as well as three courses from each area of the area requirements.

LAS DOG requirements and the Inclusiveness (Diversity/Global) requirement

How do courses that are approved for the LAS DOG requirement fit within the new GE framework?
The LAS DOG requirements remain unchanged for students in LAS. However, LAS courses (with C&R approval) that are currently approved on the DOG list in Diversity and Global Awareness may be submitted to the Inclusiveness (Global/Diversity) category. If courses on the current LAS approved DOG list are approved as Inclusiveness courses on the Compass Curriculum list, then LAS students may count them as their Compass Curriculum requirement. We hope that these courses will also be available to students of all colleges as well, where appropriate.

Integrated Components (Writing Intensive, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability)

Are courses within the Writing Intensive, Inclusiveness, or Sustainability components required to be upper division?
One of the Writing Intensive courses must be upper division. However, the Inclusiveness or Sustainability courses can be upper or lower division.

What type of support is available for faculty as they revise courses to include more writing?
We hope that existing courses can be adapted so that writing assignments help students develop disciplinary ways of knowing. Along these lines, Writing Intensive courses may be eligible for instructional support via "Writing Fellows." Writing Fellows help support writing assignments in a course by meeting with students, attending and participating in class activities, providing feedback on drafts, etc. Other instructional support includes seminars and stipends for your faculty to help with the revision of writing assignments.

Navigate courses

Are all Navigate courses open to students from all majors?
Ideally, all Navigate courses will be open to students of all majors, even if the course is offered for credit within a major, but this is not a requirement.

Can a Navigate course be lower division?
No. Navigate courses must be at the 3000 level.

Can courses count as both Explore and Navigate?
No. The intention of the program is for students to get a fundamental breadth of knowledge in a field as an Explore course. Navigate courses allow students to put their knowledge in action, actively applying and integrating knowledge beyond their major discipline.

Can a course offered with a disciplinary perspective within a student's major count towards their Navigate?
No. The intention is that students will take Navigate courses that broadly expand their perspective beyond their major discipline.

Counting courses as more than one category

Can a course count in both a main category (Explore, Navigate, Summit), and as Integrated Component (Inclusiveness, Writing Intensive, Sustainability)?

Student Success Related Policies

  1. Policy on students who change colleges after taking their second writing course.
    The policy of the Compass Curriculum is that students who take two approved writing program courses, regardless of the approved course, have completed the requirements of the Compass Curriculum. In some cases there may be additional college requirements, and the Compass Curriculum will defer to the college decision in those cases regarding if another course is necessary. In that case the request to take the additional course will come from the college, not the Compass Curriculum.
  2. Double counting courses between the Explore curriculum and the major.
    Explore courses must be taken outside of the major. If a student takes an Explore course from a department and then changes their major to one which includes that course in the major requirements, then an additional Explore course must be taken outside of the major.
  3. Students who matriculate at UCCS before fall 2014 are not required to take the Compass Curriculum even if they change colleges in their continuous enrollment at UCCS.
  4. Students who matriculate at UCCS before fall 2014 but then stop out for up to two years (and who do not enroll at another institution of higher learning within this time) are not required to enroll in the Compass Curriculum.
    This policy is directed towards military students who are deployed.

  5. Students who earn a bachelor's degree or higher from UCCS before fall 2014 and thereafter begin studies on an additional bachelor's degree are exempt from the Compass Curriculum.
  6. Students who hold a bachelor's degree from another institution, but matriculate at UCCS during or after fall 2014, will be viewed as transfer students.
  7. Students who enroll at UCCS with 13 or more transferrable credit hours are considered transfer students and will be exempt from the Compass Curriculum during the 2014-2015 academic year.
  8. Minimum grade requirements for Compass Curriculum courses.
    The minimum passing grade that will count for credit for a Compass Curriculum course is a D-. Departmental and college rules apply for courses within a student's major.
  9. Credit for courses that are cross-listed in LAS and Navigate.
    Under the conditions where a student takes a cross-listed course (e.g., WEST and HUM), credit for the Navigate will be given for either course assuming that it is an approved course for Navigate in the Compass Curriculum.
  10. Appeals to the Compass Curriculum.
    The Compass Curriculum Appeals Committee will review student appeals under the following conditions: 1) Students are in their last semester at UCCS and have a valid reason to request waiver of a Compass Curriculum course, and 2) under conditions where there is a disagreement regarding transfer credit for a course that students are requesting replace a Compass Curriculum course.

    This committee is comprised of faculty members at UCCS who will hear student's appeals. The Faculty Director of the Compass Curriculum will have veto authority on all committee decisions.