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Why is general education important? The consensus among educators and employers is that knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, intellectual and practical skills, personal and social responsibility, and integrative learning are needed for a 21st-century education. According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, “This new consensus reflects a dawning awareness that America’s future will depend on an unprecedented determination to develop human talent as broadly and fully as possible:

  • In an era when knowledge is the key to the future, all students need the scope and depth of learning that will enable them to understand and navigate the dramatic forces—physical, cultural, economic, technological—that directly affect the quality, character and perils of the world in which they live;
  • In an economy wherein every industry—from the trades to advanced technology enterprises—is challenged to innovate or be displaced, all students need the kind of intellectual skills and capacities that enable them to get things done in the world, at a high level of effectiveness;
  • In a democracy that is diverse, globally engaged, and dependent on citizen responsibility, all students need an informed concern for the larger good because nothing less will renew our fractured and diminished commons;
  • In a world of daunting complexity, all students need practice in integrating and applying their learning to challenging questions and real-world problems; and
  • In a period of relentless change, all students need the kind of education that leads them to ask not just ‘how do we get this done?’ but also ‘what is most worth doing?’.

With organizations constantly reinventing their products and their processes, and with questions about public and life choices more complex than ever, the world itself is setting higher expectations for knowledge and skill.” (From College Learning for the New Global Century, published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, 2007.)

Minneapolis College has adopted four Institutional Learning Outcomes as a means to enhance lifelong education by making it possible for students to communicate effectively, think critically, solve problems as well as develop and demonstrate effective life and professional skills, personal responsibility and community/global connections and social responsibility.

Students will develop the following Institutional Learning Outcomes through a combination of appropriate general education coursework and through direct instruction and reinforcing projects and experiences within their program coursework.

  • Community/Global Connections and Social Responsibility
  • Life and Professional Skills
  • Information Fluency, Inquiry and Problem-posing and Problem-solving
  • Communication

Institutional learning outcomes are the measurable knowledge, intellectual concepts and attitudes that serve as the foundation to success within all programs of study and throughout life. Institutional learning outcomes prepares students to meet the social, personal and career challenges they will face in the future.

See Minneapolis College Policy 3.04.