Office of General Education

General Education recap and Graduation Requirement exemptions

February 15, 2023

Dear Faculty and Staff –

The Office of General Education would like to inform the campus community of updates and important reminders relating to the Common Curriculum, our solid foundation of a liberal arts education. Today’s reminders and updates fall into five categories: COVID-19 graduation requirement exemption, revised Common Curriculum rules, next steps related to Writing in the Major, AP credit automation, and Common Curriculum course proposal deadlines.

A one-time exception to two Common Curriculum Proficiencies & Experiences for COVID-19 cohorts

The Council on General Education reviewed a report on undergraduate student progress by admit cohort related to each Common Curriculum requirement. The report showed students are progressing well through general education requirements (Foundations and Breadths); however, the Council identified progress concerns within the Proficiency & Experience Graduation requirements.

Students who meet these requirements via course or individual activity by the conclusion of Spring 2023 will be documented as having satisfied the condition on their Degree Progress Report. If either CE or CIE is incomplete by the end of Spring 2023, it will appear waived for graduation. Learn more about this one-time exception.

The Council on General Education does not intend to make additional exceptions to the graduation requirements for future cohorts.

Revised Common Curriculum AP, IB, and Transfer Credit Policies for Fall 2023 Catalog

The concern was that current rules privilege high-credit transfer students to the disadvantage of first year and first-year transfer students. Modifications will be made in the Fall 2023 Catalog to regulations related to (a) Quantitative Reasoning, (b) Second Language, and (c) the ability to fulfill up to three Breadth requirements using external credit. Read more about the specific CC rule changes to the Fall 2023 Catalog.

In all cases where petitioning is required, no petition will be necessary if a direct equivalency has been established at SMU through the transfer process. The Council will monitor what percentage of undergraduate students use dual credit to satisfy requirements and what percentage of students satisfy requirements at SMU.

Reminder and next steps regarding Writing in the Major

Last semester, we shared that the Council on General Education changed how the Common Curriculum’s Writing in the Major (WiM) Proficiency and Experience was tracked on the Degree Progress Report (DPR) and replaced it with program-level Writing in the Major student learning outcome.

Instead of DPR level-tracking, each academic program will be required, via the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness program evaluation process, to write and assess one learning outcome that best represents the conventions of writing in their discipline.  If an academic department already has, as part of its annual program assessment, an undergraduate learning outcome for writing, no additional actions are needed. If your department does not have an undergraduate learning outcome for writing for your current undergraduate major(s), the department will need to develop one and report it as part of annual program assessment, starting in Summer 2023.  Departments may deliver the instructional content to support the Writing in the Major learning outcome in a single course, or the content may be delivered across multiple courses.  Departments may assess writing in their major through course-based assessment, or through end-of-program assessment at the end of the degree.  More information about learning outcomes and assessment for Writing in the Major will be given during faculty training on Planning, the new system we will use to report program assessment results.  This training will take place in March.  More information will be coming soon.

In addition to developing a learning outcome for writing in the major, departments must develop their own, major-specific rubrics that reflect the learning goals for writing in their major or discipline. There is no standard WiM rubric for program-level assessment, but departments are asked to develop their own discipline-based writing outcome. Departments may consider using the former WiM rubric as a starting point when developing these rubrics.

If you need assistance as you work to develop Writing in the Major outcomes for your program, please reach out to Dayna Oscherwitz, Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness.

Automation of AP credit to satisfy specific graduation requirements

Thanks to the Registrar’s Office, the Office of General Education has now automated AP credit (of scores 4 or 5) to satisfy particular Proficiency and Experience graduation requirements. Therefore, students admitted after fall 2020 need not complete individual petitions to meet applicable graduation requirements. Retroactive updates will be made to affected students; future students admitted for Fall 2023 beyond will receive this credit automatically. Read more about which AP credit satisfies particular Proficiencies and Experiences.

Common Curriculum course and activity proposal deadlines

The Council on General Education invites course and approved activity proposals for Common Curriculum general education and graduation requirements. Submissions are accepted twice a semester. The remaining spring 2023 deadline is March 22, 2023 (for review on March 31). Literary Analysis and Interpretation (LAI) and Civics & Individual Ethics (CIE) are particularly interesting. Accepted proposals will be tagged at the course level and go into effect for summer 2023. Don’t hesitate to contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

Thank you all for your investment and commitment to this shared responsibility of general education.


Peter Kupfer

Chair, Council on General Education


Dustin Grabsch

Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success

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