General Education Competencies
Through the General Education experience at Clemson University, undergraduate students will gain knowledge of Clemson's core competencies. The evidence demonstrating knowledge of these general education competencies will be documented in an ePortfolio.
Effective oral and written communication is the means by which all competencies will be demonstrated. Students should include an example of their best work in each of the following eight areas:
Arts and Humanities
Demonstrate an understanding of the arts and humanities in historical and cultural contexts.
Demonstrate the ability to critically compare and contrast world cultures in historical and/or contemporary contexts.
Demonstrate mathematical literacy through solving problems, communicating concepts, reasoning mathematically, and applying mathematical or statistical methods, using multiple representations where applicable.
Demonstrate scientific literacy by explaining the process of scientific reasoning and applying scientific principles inside and outside of the laboratory or field setting.
Science and Technology in Society
Demonstrate an understanding of issues created by the complex interactions among science, technology, and society.
Demonstrate an understanding of social science methodologies in order to explain the consequences of human actions.
Ethical Judgment and Critical Thinking are "distributed competencies;" which means they are not necessarily connected to any one specific course. You will collect your best examples from a variety of courses and activities during your time at Clemson University. These competencies must be demonstrated by work from your junior and/or senior years.
Demonstrate an ability to identify, comprehend, and deal with ethical problems and their ramifications in a systematic, thorough, and responsible way.
Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze the quality and utility of knowledge gained throughout the undergraduate experience and apply this knowledge to a wide range of problems.
- Class notes and outlines should not be submitted for any competency.
some papers or assignments you may need to include additional analysis in order
to demonstrate your understanding of the competency.
of these types of papers include original artworks, performances, creative
writing book/film summaries, reaction or reflection paper,opinion pieces,
nursing care plans, and education lesson plans.
- Be careful with citations. Make sure that the citations are not missing.
Check for in-text citations and works cited or reference lists. This is
required for your communication score even if this was not required in the
class in which the artifact was produced.
same artifact can satisfy two competencies as long as the work reflects and
satisfies both of competencies to which it is tagged. For each competency, the
work must have a separate and distinct rationale statement which indicates why
that artifact was chosen for that competency.
unique artifacts are PREFERRED, so use your best judgment when doing this.
a rationale statement that clearly and specifically articulates how the
artifact satisfies the competency. Why did you choose this artifact in
careful with grammar and/or punctuation deficiencies as they result in lower
scores and failures. Check and recheck for grammar, spelling, and punctuation
you tag an artifact that was a part of a group project, please specify and
explain your specific and autonomous role in the project. You will receive a GW score until this is
- If you have no artifact on hand you can create and original one of your
own, just be sure that it fulfills the competency.
- You can submit more than one artifact for any competency. An acceptable
score on one submission is enough to be satisfactory as part of the
- Work from your junior and senior years is more likely to demonstrate your
learning at Clemson than work produced in your freshman and sophomore
- Work completed for AP and IB courses is considered college level and can be used for your portfolio if it meets the requirements for a specific competency.
Arts and Humanities
- To demonstrate
an understanding of
this competency you need to provide an analysis of the historical and cultural
meaning of the material. You also need
to connect ideas, events, people, and significance in relation to the work or
topic being analyzed.
assignments, opinion pieces, extra credit visits to performances, galleries,
etc. typically do not satisfy the requirement because they do
not require the student to analyze the artwork or performance as it relates to
its historic and cultural contexts.
artworks, performances, creative writing, architectural designs, etc. are
accompanied by an artist’s statement that explains how the work relates to its
historic and cultural context.
all literature (or visual art, musicology etc.) assignments fit this
competency. Analyses limited to formal qualities or content only – themes,
imagery, composition, musical motifs, comparisons of texts – are insufficient UNLESS the
formal and content elements are explicitly put into a relation with historical
and cultural contexts.
chronologies of historic facts, or biographies of literary or artistic figures
are insufficient. For example, historical facts or events need to be analyzed
in terms of their larger effect on cultural sensibilities, understandings,
ideals, roles, etc. An artist’s
biography must be contextualized within larger historic and cultural movements
and events, and also related to their works of art. Artifacts
should have the arts and humanities as their topic, not merely employ
humanistic methodologies or sources. For
example, a discussion of racism, homosexuality, or abortion that draws on
rhetorical methods or cultural studies scholarship does not suffice because its
social issue, not the arts and humanities. However, a rhetorical analysis of a
speech about racism, homosexuality or abortion as a literary artifact,
examining the word choice and persuasive techniques used, and how they
related to a particular historic moment and cultural location would work.
papers on drug abuse in general are social science artifacts (even if using
humanistic methodologies and epistemologies); papers analyzing an anti-drug
public service announcement as an aesthetic artifact related to its history and
culture would work.
includes (but is not limited to) fields such as literature/creative writing,
performing arts, visual arts, architecture/landscape architecture.
- Humanities includes (but is not limited to) fields such as philosophy and religion.
the events or climate of opinion that surround a work of art or artistic
movement during its time. In defining historical context, it is usually helpful
to specify the year/era (e.g., colonial America) while comparing it with events
or public opinion from previous or subsequent time periods. Events include such
things as wars, elections, technological inventions, etc.
the society of a work of art or artistic movement. This is broader than just
international culture but could include, for example, family culture, Deaf
culture, gendered cultures, Southern culture, etc. This includes public
beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors in a particular time and place. It also includes the influence/impact of
historical events and innovations such as technological advancements,
socio-economic changes, etc.
from freshman- and sophomore-level courses are not appropriate for satisfying
the Critical Thinking competency.
- Ideal artifacts for the satisfaction of this competency include:
- professional portfolios
for Education majors, a student teaching portfolio with substantial reflection
for Health Science majors, an electronic professional portfolio with
substantial reflection and analysis
papers containing substantial original theoretical contributions or empirical
essay, assigned during the final semester of the student’s undergraduate
career, in which the student is required to reflect on his/her coursework,
evaluate the knowledge he/she has gained, and apply that knowledge to a
situation, phenomenon, his/her future career, etc. (e.g. the critical thinking
essay assignment in the Sociology Senior Capstone course)
especially reminded that artifacts for the critical thinking competency must
“demonstrate the ability to critically analyze the quality and utility of
knowledge gained during the undergraduate experience. This
may mean that students will need to add an analytic component to
an existing paper or project to make it suitable for this competency.
- Artifacts must deal with more than one WORLD culture. Compare and contrast
at least two cultures form different countries. Consider multiple aspects
of these cultures.
and contrasts of world cultures is necessary. This does not include different
neighborhoods, gestures, eating habits, body language, etc., alone.
essay in a foreign language may not fulfill the requirements of this
competency; a translation of an artifact from a foreign language should
accompany the artifact.
description of a country is not sufficient for this competency.
very academic and analytical in discussing other cultures. Papers that cross
into racist or xenophobic sentiments will not be accepted.
must systematically evaluate courses of action, arguments for and against them,
or different points of view. Mere
opinion pieces that discuss a situation do not work for this competency.
must weigh multiple sides of an issue. A persuasive speech that rests on
rhetorical devices, opinion and advocacy of a position without seriously
considering its relative merits and other options is not sufficient.
training reports – such as CITI research ethics training – do not demonstrate
ability to consider and evaluate arguments and different points of view.
outline of a talk is not sufficient for this competency – unless it is robust
and detailed enough to convey fully-developed arguments and show that it
considers points of view and the evaluation of courses of action.
artifacts from lower (100) level classes typically lacks sufficient evidence of
logical reasoning and/or analysis.
- Some examples of topics that can meet the criteria of ethical issues are
stem cell research, abortion, healthcare, the death penalty, cloning etc.
- Mathematics must have been PERFORMED by YOU in order to demonstrate this
competency. If you have copied numbers from an article or book, and
discuss them, then you have not done any math and you will not have
demonstrated this competency.
the context in which the mathematical work is being presented.
mathematical relationship (equation or graph for example) with definitions of
relevant symbols (if required).
a solution based on manipulating equations or considering statistics.
results of the mathematical or statistical work.
- A hypothetical
mathematical problem is acceptable, but be sure to describe the context and
explain the process you used in coming up with a solution.
- Excel spreadsheets will not work unless you include
explanations of the math and interpretation of results.
- Math tests can be uploaded provided that step by step
calculations are being shown, and they include verbal interpretation of
papers with statistical calculations being shown and discussed are acceptable
for this competency.
- If input/output from statistical software is used, you must turn it into a
Word file or PDF so that assessors can open the file; furthermore, be sure
you have included explanations of the math and interpretation of results.
competency is best addressed by submitting formal laboratory or field studies
are from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Physics or Astronomy courses.
research papers may be submitted if they significantly review natural science
research and are engaged in discussion and analysis of issues raised by that
research, and are best if they propose questions which arise from this analysis.
reports, power point presentations, lesson plans, and the like do not meet the
requirements of the competency.
Science and Technology in Society
a significant interaction
between science or technology and society.
- In many
cases, the artifact focused exclusively on a science or technology but failed
to address the social impact; or the artifact addressed a social issue but
failed to show how science or technology impacted or affected this issue.
best place to gather evidence to address this competency is from
social/behavioral science courses.
include psychology, criminal justice, political science, history, economics, anthropology and
309,310 and 202 projects
and honors thesis projects are excellent as SS artifacts.
analyzing stress, and health and safety may have social science content.
The Faculty Facilitators for the competencies are as follows:
Dean Jan Murdoch, Ph.D. - Social Sciences (SS)
Associate Dean Jeff Appling, Ph.D. - Natural Sciences (NS)
Gail Ring, Ph.D.- Critical Thinking (CT)
TBA - Ethical Judgment (EJ)
Elizabeth Stansell, M.S. - Science and Technology in Society (STS)
Peter Cohen, Ph.D. - Cross Cultural Awareness (CC)
Debi Switzer. Ph.D. - Mathematics (MA)
TBA - Arts and Humanities
If you would like clarification from any of the faculty facilitators please fill out the form below. You will be contacted by the facilitator as soon as possible.
Get clarification from a Faculty Facilitator (login to g.clemson.edu required)