Implementing Systemwide General Education

 

1.  How many credit hours are required to complete the systemwide GE?

34-35 credit hours are required, and the variation will be based on the natural and physical sciences bucket. Some institutions will require a four-credit course to complete the natural and physical sciences bucket while others will require a five-credit hour course to complete the natural and physical sciences bucket. It is understood that most students will likely require 35-credit hours because most institutions employ five-credit hour general education science courses.

2.  What does it mean when a discipline bucket requirement states it requires at least two courses from two subject areas?

This simply means that the student must take at least two courses that are in two different subjects.  For example, a student could not satisfy the social and behavioral sciences bucket by taking one three-credit-hour psychology course and a second three-credit-hour psychology course.   Conversely, a three-credit-hour psychology course and a three-credit-hour geography course would complete the social and behavioral sciences bucket because it includes two courses from two different subjects.

3.  Is an institution required to include performance courses (piano, dance technique, acting, theater lighting, etc.) in its arts and humanities bucket?

No, this is at the discretion of the institution; however, please note that institutions are required to accept this bucket – even when performance courses were taken – as being completed when a transfer student provides an official transcript stating “Systemwide GE Completed.”

4.  Are institutions only limited to Systemwide Transfer courses when designing GE requirements?

No.  Institutions can also use non-systemwide GE courses that it determines fit under the applicable GE discipline bucket.

5.  Are History courses always required under the arts and humanities bucket?

The application of history courses that do not have a specific title emphasizing ethnicity or gender should fall under the arts and humanities bucket to ensure consistency and continuity in the transfer process.  As such:

  • history courses such as US History to 1877, US History since 1877, World History to 1500, and World History 1500 to Present should fall under the arts and humanities bucket; and
  • history courses that focus on a specific ethnicity or gender (e.g., African American History) may fall under the arts and humanities bucket or the social and behavioral sciences bucket.
6.  If a student completes a course that could count in both the social and behavioral sciences bucket and the institutionally designated bucket, can the course count in both buckets? For example, if the institution has a diversity requirement in the institutionally designated bucket and the student takes an ethnic and/or gender studies course (which falls under the social and behavioral science bucket), can it count in both the social and behavioral sciences bucket and the institutionally designated bucket?

There is nothing in the policy that explicitly addresses this particular scenario; thus, this is at the discretion of the institution. It should be noted that if one course is counted toward completing requirements in one disciplined-based bucket and the institutionally designated bucket, the student cannot complete the systemwide GE with less than 34 credit hours.  Therefore, when one course is double dipped in a disciplined-based bucket and the institutionally designated bucket, additional credit hours will need to be substituted and applied to ensure that the student has a total of at least 34 credit hours to complete the systemwide GE.

 

7.  An institution wishes for some programs to be exempted from certain GE requirements. What information should be known ahead of time on this type of request and what is required to make this type of request?

It should be noted that most states that have a systemwide GE do not provide this type of option, as they mandate that all programs – regardless of accreditation or licensure requirements – redesign their GE requirements to 100% align with the systemwide GE.  The few states that have opened a narrow path for institutions to request to deviate from the systemwide GE have been very conservative by granting a small number of such requests.  Knowing this coupled with the fact that Kansas has committed to becoming a leading state in reducing barriers for transfer students and creating common paths to completion, these requests will be reviewed under high scrutiny and should be limited to an extremely small percentage of an institution’s overall programs.  Background information on this process is detailed below:

Request for a Specific Major to Deviate from the Systemwide GE

Scenario: An institution wishes for a specific major to include GE requirements that deviate from the systemwide GE requirements. 

Who is Impacted: Both native and transfer students 

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Step Four

Institution Identifies Major and Areas It Wishes to Modify

Institution Completes and Submits Request

GE Council Reviews and Issues Recommendation

KBOR Reviews and Issues a Response

The institution identifies a major in which it wishes to deviate from the systemwide GE requirements.
 
 
 
The institution will complete and submit an online request to deviate from the systemwide GE. 
 
 
 
The criteria for this request are detailed in Chapter III.A.18.c.
 
The GE Council will review and issue a recommendation to approve or deny this request.
 
 
 
 
The Board President and CEO will review the request and recommendation from the GE Council and issue a response to the institution.
 
 
 

Specific Example That Could Trigger a Request

A major wishes to eliminate the communications bucket, and, in turn, only require 31-32 total credit hours to complete the GE.

8.  An institution has a program that requires all its native majors to take a specific course in a GE discipline bucket.  When a transfer student has not completed such a specific course before transferring and the institution does not wish to waive such a GE course requirement – even when the transfer student completed the systemwide GE or completed the discipline bucket requirement through systemwide transfer coursework – what is required?

Request to Continue Requiring – and not waive – a Specific GE Course Requirement for Transfer Students in a Specific Major

Scenario: If an institution wishes for all transfer students in a major to complete a GE course in a specific discipline bucket – even when the transfer student completed the systemwide GE or the applicable discipline bucket requirement through systemwide transfer coursework – it shall submit a request as detailed below.

Who is Impacted: Transfer students

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Institution Identifies Major and Course

Institution Completes and Submits Request

KBOR Reviews and Issues a Response

The institution identifies a major, all majors under a college, or all majors under a degree in which it wishes to not waive a specific course requirement that is classified in its GE when: 

a) a transfer student did not complete such a specific course prior to transferring; and

b) a transfer student has completed the Systemwide GE OR completed the discipline bucket requirement through systemwide transfer coursework.

The institution will complete and submit an online request form to continue requiring – and not waive – the specific GE course requirement for transfer students.  

The criteria for this request are detailed in Chapter III.A.2.g.v.

 

 

 

 

 

The Board President and CEO will review the request and issue a response to the institution.

Note:   Per the policy, after initial review, additional information on how such a requirement would financially impact transfer students may also be required.

 

 

 

Specific Example That Could Trigger a Request

A chemistry program requires all native majors to take a specific science course in the natural and physical sciences bucket.  When a transfer student has not completed such a course before transferring, it does not wish to waive such a course requirement – even when the transfer student completed the science bucket or completed the systemwide GE.

Note: Bucket 3 (the math and statistics bucket) will be defined by the various programs and will not require any exceptions during the inaugural year of systemwide GE in 2024-2025. This is because the system is in transition. It did not make sense to include the math and statistics bucket for exceptions in 2024-2025 knowing that the math pathways work will define this bucket shortly thereafter. It is anticipated that the math pathway requirements will take full effect in either 2025-2026 or 2026-2027. Additional guidance regarding a timeline will be addressed later.

Bucket 7 (the institutionally designated bucket) is not included because this is an institutional requirement that is general rather than a program requirement. It was noted during the GE work that there are certain courses, discipline areas, or focus areas that are not addressed in the framework such as college orientation and/or student success, computer science, agriculture, health and wellness, personal finance, and diversity. There was a desire to have some flexibility to include these types of courses as requirements before certifying a completed GE. Thus, this area was created to provide that type of flexibility. It was not intended to be a program bucket in which each program establishes its own specialized requirements. In the end, this should be designed in such a way that transfer students who completed the systemwide GE at institution A are not required to go back and take any courses from this bucket at institution B.

9.  Is the institutionally designated bucket designed for institutions to break away from the GE framework structure and start creating program requirements for each major?

No.  It was noted during the GE work that there are certain courses, discipline areas, or focus areas that are not addressed in the framework such as college orientation and/or student success, computer science, agriculture, health and wellness, personal finance, and diversity. There was a desire to have some flexibility to include these types of courses as requirements before certifying a completed GE. Thus, this area was created to provide that type of flexibility. It was not intended to be a program bucket in which each program establishes its own specialized requirements. In the end, this should be designed in such a way that transfer students who completed the systemwide GE at institution A are not required to go back and take any courses from this bucket at institution B.

10.  If a program wants to require a course that was previously listed in the general education portion of the degree, can it include it in the major portion of the degree?

Yes, so long as it is required for both native students and transfer students and it is listed in the major portion of the degree (outside the 34-35 credit hour GE framework).  

11.  Is an institution prohibited from offering a program-specific or institution-specific English/writing course in the GE?

No, but certain provisions must be met when requiring this type of course for transfer students. An institution is not permitted to require transfer students who completed the systemwide GE or did not complete the systemwide GE but earned an acceptable grade in English Composition I and II to take such a course unless it: 1 2 

  • has been approved by the Board President and CEO to continue requiring – and not waive – such a course; OR
  • meets the following:
    • requires it’s native and transfer students to take English Composition I and II in the GE portion of the degree;
    • lists the program-specific or institution-specific English/writing course under a non-GE portion of the degree that is separate from the GE-based English Composition I and II GE course requirements; and
    • complies with the first two sub-bullets above without adding any time to degree for native and transfer students.
12. Is an institution able to change or modify the bucket names?

Common terminology and consistent themes help prospective students, current students, transfer students, academic advisors, and high school counselors connect the dots between multiple institutions.   Thus, universal bucket names are a necessary component to provide an avenue to navigate GE requirements throughout the system.   The six discipline bucket names identified in the seven-bucket framework should be used by all institutions and each institution can issue a name for the seventh bucket, which is the institutionally designated area bucket.   

13. Are the materials from the November 21 and December 20 webinar available?  

Yes. 

November 21: General Education Webinar Q&A

November 21: General Education Presentation

January 20: General Education Webinar Q&A

January 20: General Education Webinar Presentation

January 20: General Education Video Recording

January 31: General Education Presentation to BAASC 

 

1 It is understood that a minimum grade may be required for selective admission purposes, programmatic accreditation, or licensure standards.   
2 An acceptable grade means that the credit shall not be denied by a receiving Kansas public institution based on a grading standard when a transfer student earns a “C” (2.0) or higher. The receiving Kansas public institution may apply a “D” (1.0) if it is also acceptable for its native students (the application of a “D” must apply equally to both resident and native students).