Goals and GELOs

The Goals of the GE program stem from the Mission or Philosophy statement.  Whereas the mission or philosophy statement outlines the values and philosophy of the program, the goals articulate the general aims of the program and its curriculum. Although broadly stated, goals should be meaningful and assessable.  They serve as the foundation upon which specfic student learning outcomes rest. 

CSUSM is currently revising its GE program to bring it in line with requirements from the Chancellor's Executive Order (EO) 1065.  As part of this process, the General Education Committee is working on a succinct statement of goals and student learning outcomes for the GE program.  Please refer to the GE revision page for the most current information on this process.

¹MISSION: the values and philosophy of the program, a vision of what the program is supposed to do. A mission statement might include a brief history and philosophy of the program, the type of students to be served, the academic environment and primary focus of the curriculum, faculty roles, the contributions to and connections with the community, the role of research, and a stated commitment to diversity and nondiscrimination. A program mission statement should be consistent with the CSUSM mission statement.  The mission of the GE program at CSUSM can be found in our philosophy statement.

GOALS: the general aims or purposes of the program and its curriculum. Effective goals are broadly stated, meaningful, achievable and assessable. Goals should provide a framework for determining the more specific educational objectives of a program, and should be consistent with the GE program mission and the CSUSM mission.

GE Goals can be stated for different levels:

  • Program level goals:  GE Curriculum in its entirety - skills and knowledge we are trying to develop across the GE curriculum.
  • Area level goals: GE courses within a specific area (e.g. A2, B4) share a common set of goals.
  • Course level goals:  GE faculty teaching the same course might look at the specific course for its ability to meet GE goals.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:  (in GE, we refer to student learning outcomes as GELOs: General Education Learning Outcomes): GELOs are specific, observable behaviors evidenced by students who have achieved stated educational goals. Learning outcomes are stated operationally, and describe the observable evidence of a student's knowledge, skill, ability, attitude or disposition. GELOs state clearly each outcome we are seeking: How would you recognize it? What does it look like? What will the student be able to do?

For example, CSUSM has the following draft goal for written communication: 

  •  Effective skills in written communication: Students will demonstrate clear and effective communication of meaning in their written work.

 Draft GELOs that are based on this goal include:

Students will:

  • Formulate/construct a readily identifiable, specific, arguable, and suitably complex focus (e.g., provide a thesis)
  • Compose and organize paragraphs with a smooth and logical transitions between them

The General Education Committee, in consultation with faculty from across the campus, has been engaged in revising our GE goals and student learning outcomes to bring them in line with the LEAP initiative.  A draft of the current version of the GE goals and GELOs being circulated among faculty can be found on the GE Revision page.


¹This material was adapted from M. Allen (2002) Learning Assessment Outcomes Planning Guide: Defining Your Program and Expected Learning Outcomes.