About The UCCS Compass Curriculum Program

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

What is it?

The Compass Curriculum is the campus-wide undergraduate, general education program at UCCS. This program was created to give you the right tools, knowledge, and experience for success in today’s world after you graduate.

Why are we doing this?

College prepares you to build a successful, sustainable career and to succeed in life. Long gone are the days when a person worked for one company or job for the bulk of his or her working life. Today, most people have multiple careers over their lifetimes. Breadth, adaptability, creativity, and ingenuity are vital and we have built a program to help you be successful regardless of where life takes you. You need to be prepared for careers that haven’t even been thought of yet! In 1990 were people preparing to develop new phone apps?

Does this matter to employers?

We have used input from employers regarding what they want to see in our graduating students to develop the program. What will give you a competitive edge?

We found employers of all kinds look for graduates who...

  • Have a solid professional foundation in your field of study.
  • Bring some breadth to their core disciplines.
  • Can problem-solve and think critically.
  • Possess a creative edge.
  • Have strong professional ethics.
  • Can communicate well in writing and speaking.
  • Bring collaborative skills and experience.
  • Understand the importance of sustainability and inclusivity.

How do we know it will work?

This program is built around the American Association of Colleges and Universities Liberal Education and America’s Promise (AAC&U LEAP) research and recommendations for successful graduation of undergraduate students. The program is intentionally developed to be centered around High Impact Practices (HIPs) for retention, graduation, and professional development. That means that students should stay in college, graduate, and be prepared for their future professional endeavors.

How does it work?

Students will take first-year writing courses and a quantitative-reasoning course and will be expected to submit a writing portfolio. Here is an explanation of each component of our signature program:

  • Gateway Program Seminar (GPS) Introduces students to UCCS, the Compass goals, academic skill preparation, and oral communication, a key skill that employers value.  
  • Explore Courses Expose students to a breadth of disciplinary perspectives that shape decision-making. Students take one course focused on the Physical and Natural World, one on the Arts and Humanities, and one on Cultures, Society, Social and Economic Institutions, Health and Human Behavior. Students are encouraged to take courses from all colleges, including professional schools, which will count toward their overall GE program. Courses integrate High Impact Practices such as Writing Intensive, Inclusiveness, and common learning experiences (such as general chemistry for science majors).  
  • Navigate Courses Taken in the third year, focus on the concept of “Knowledge in Action”; students learn and apply knowledge from a range of disciplines. These interdisciplinary courses are offered from across the campus and connect colleges, departments, and academic disciplines in new ways, with a goal of applying academic knowledge to real world endeavors. Courses may include team-taught courses, service learning, internships, and collaborative, common-learning experiences.  
  • Inclusiveness (Global/Diversity) Courses 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. This course may be integrated into an Explore course or other courses that fulfill requirements in the students’ major.  
  • Sustainability Courses Enable students to cultivate self-awareness and understanding of their impact on economic, social, or environmental sustainability at the local, national, and international levels. Courses aim to promote an understanding of sustainability as a set of conditions that enable humans to live compatibly with the environment to allow social and economic needs of present and future generations to be met. This course may be integrated into an Explore course or other courses that fulfill requirements in the student’s major.  
  • Writing Intensive Courses  Incoming freshman will take one lower division and one upper division course focused around using writing for critical thinking and the concept of writing as a process. Students write, on average, twelve pages throughout the semester with peer review, revisions, and feedback on their writing. Ideally this course is in the major, however, this course could be integrated into an Explore course.  
  • Summit Experience Course Course or experience taken in the senior year in the major and designed to apply and integrate knowledge in the major. Encourages communication skill development employers would like our graduates to have.  

Where can you go for help? Student Success! UCCS has Student Success advisors with whom you should meet once a year, or even once a semester to help plan out your courses before graduation. Go to //www.uccs.edu/advising for more information.