General Education

Comprehensive Goal of General Education

General education at the College of Western Idaho (CWI) provides a broad-based learning foundation designed to prepare students for personal, community, and global responsibility. This is accomplished by completing general education coursework that empowers students to consider other contexts and viewpoints, communicate with clarity and accuracy, and apply solutions and ideas. Students will be prepared to move forward in their academic careers with a solid foundation from the general education courses they completed at CWI.

General education requirements apply to all degrees and certificates recognized by the Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE). A central component of SBOE policy is the requirement that a student working toward a degree must complete coursework in general education. The general education framework required by CWI for completion of the different types of degrees and certificates offered by the College is described in detail on the Degree and Certificate Requirements page.

Specific general education courses may be required for the fulfillment of program requirements, whether in the general education or major requirement portion of the degree. Students should refer to their specific degree or certificate requirements in the CWI catalog prior to registration or transfer to ensure appropriate course selection to fulfill program requirements. Prior to changing majors, students should consider the additional courses that may be required and should meet with their Student Success Advisor to discuss what options would be most advantageous.

General education coursework is an integral part of all programs of study at CWI and is comprised of the following competency areas:

Connecting with Ideas

(First Semester Student Success Course)

  • 3 credits required for AA or AS
Course Course Title Min Credits
CWI 101Connecting With Ideas3

Philosophy Statement

Connecting with Ideas helps students become engaged members of the academic community at College of Western Idaho and cultivates the habits of mind for lifelong achievement and success. The course encourages students to claim their education through learning how to learn. By linking critical and creative thinking with writing and discussion, students will explore thematic content in order to develop their own perspectives on learning and success. The course addresses academic expectations and strategies, college resources and services, as well as personal responsibility and engagement to prepare students for navigating college life and life beyond college.

Competencies

To meet the Connecting with Ideas requirement of general education, courses must cover the outcomes, criteria, and knowledge objectives below. Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Examine personal background and experience and how it influences perceptions and impacts relationships.
  2. Utilize information literacy to critically evaluate information within academic discourse.
  3. Apply appropriate strategies and solutions to becoming an effective student.

Ethical Reasoning

Within the 36 credits required for general education fulfillment of an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, CWI requires students to complete at least one course specifically designed to meet the "ethical reasoning" requirement. Ethical reasoning courses (referred to as E designated courses) also count towards GEM fulfillment or institutionally designated category fulfillment, so students should intentionally choose one E designated course when selecting classes to fulfill Mathematical, Scientific, Humanistic and Artistic, or Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing requirements, or the institutionally designated category of Global Perspectives.

Ethical Reasoning courses will also fulfill a GE requirement in either Ways of Knowing (i.e. a GEM course) or Global Perspectives.

  • 3 credits required for AA or AS
Course Course Title Min Credits
AGRI 120Global Food Perspectives - Farm to Plate3
ENVI 100Environmental Science3
EXHS 155Health and Wellness3
HLTH 280Global Health3
PHIL 101Introduction to Philosophy3
PHIL 103Introduction to Ethics3
PSYC 250Fundamentals of Social Science Research4
SCIE 102Ethics in Science3
SOC 220Sociology of Deviance3

Philosophy Statement

Ethical reasoning is reasoning about right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas, and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students’ ethical self-identity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.

Competencies

To meet the Ethical Reasoning requirement of general education, courses must meet the following outcomes, criteria, and knowledge objectives below. Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Demonstrate ethical self-awareness.
  2. Understand different ethical perspectives and concepts.
  3. Recognize ethical issues.
  4. Apply ethical perspectives and concepts.

Global Perspectives

  • 3 credits required for AA or AS
Course Course Title Min Credits
AGRI 120Global Food Perspectives - Farm to Plate3
ANTH 102Cultural Anthropology3
ARTS 104African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian Art3
BUSA 256Introduction to International Business3
COMM 160Communication and Culture3
COMM 259Communicating Through Web Design3
CRIJ 280Victimology3
EDUC 200Education Around the World3
ENGL 115Rhetoric and Popular Culture3
ENVI 100Environmental Science3
FILM 121Topics in International Film and Literature3
FREN 102Elementary French II4
GEOG 102Cultural Geography3
GEOG 200World Regional Geography3
GEOL 105Earth's Natural Resources3
HIST 102World History II3
HLTH 280Global Health3
JAPN 102Elementary Japanese II4
MMBS 106Making Sense of the Micro-biotic-me3
MUSI 109Survey of World Music3
PHIL 111World Religions3
PHLT 110Lifestyle Diseases and Their Global Burden3
POLS 221Introduction to International Relations3
PSYC 211Psychosocial Aspects of Dying and Death3
PSYC 221Gender3
PSYC 231Human Sexuality3
SIGL 102American Sign Language II4
SOC 120Global Issues3
SPAN 102Elementary Spanish II4

Philosophy Statement

Global Perspectives courses help students understand how their actions affect both local and world communities and use this knowledge in addressing the world’s most pressing and enduring issues. Responsible global citizenship involves a critical analysis of and engagement with the complex relationships between individuals, communities, and societies, as well as the legacies they create within the human and natural world. Through self-awareness and awareness of others, students become increasingly informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to differences across the spectrum of human experience.

Competencies

To meet the Global Perspectives requirement of general education, courses must meet the following outcomes, criteria, and knowledge objectives below. Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Develop awareness of one’s cultural origins, practices, and habits of thought, feeling, and behavior.
  2. Understand how one’s own culture belongs to a community of cultures.
  3. Recognize connections between personal choices and their possible global consequences.
  4. Examine diverse cultural perspectives and recognize their vital role in affecting global issues.

GEM 1 - Written Communication

  • 6 credits required for AA or AS
  • 3 credits required for AAS
Course Course Title Min Credits
ENGL 101Writing and Rhetoric I3
ENGL 102Writing and Rhetoric II3

Philosophy Statement

Written communication courses are designed to give students the foundation in writing they need to be successful thinkers and effective communicators throughout college and beyond. These courses offer students skills and approaches to navigating texts, technologies, ideas, data, and images. Ultimately, students learn that writing is thinking and that clear, powerful writing can be a way of making connections and having an impact on the broader community.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Use flexible writing process strategies to generate, develop, revise, edit, and proofread texts.
  2. Adopt strategies and genres that are appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  3. Use inquiry-based strategies to conduct research that explores multiple and diverse ideas and perspectives, appropriate to the rhetorical context.
  4. Use rhetorically appropriate strategies to evaluate, represent, and respond to the ideas and research of others.
  5. Address readers’ biases and assumptions with well-developed evidence-based reasoning.
  6. Use appropriate conventions for integrating, citing, and documenting source material as well as for surface-level language and style.
  7. Read, interpret, and communicate key concepts in writing and rhetoric.

GEM 2 - Oral Communication

  • 2 credits required for AA or AS
  • 3 credits required for AAS
Course Course Title Min Credits
COMM 100Communication Matters2
COMM 101Fundamentals of Oral Communication3
COMM 112Argumentation and Debate3

NOTE: Due to the number of credits, COMM 100 will not fulfill the GEM 2 requirement for students enrolled in CTE programs.

Philosophy Statement

Communication occurs between humans orienting themselves to others for the purpose of manipulating and using symbols to co-create meaning. Such transactions are influenced by the relationship between communicators, their individual skill with symbol use, their understanding of context, and their intentions, e.g., inform, persuade, and/or relate.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Research, discover, and develop information resources and structure spoken messages to increase knowledge and understanding.
  2. Research, discover, and develop evidence-based reasoning and persuasive appeals for ethically influencing attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
  3. Adapt spoken messages to the diverse personal, ideological, and emotional needs of individuals, groups, or contexts.
  4. Employ effective spoken and nonverbal behaviors that support communication goals and illustrate self-efficacy.
  5. Listen in order to effectively and critically evaluate the reasoning, evidence, and communication strategies of self and others.
  6. Understand key theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts in the communication discipline, as applied to oral communication.

GEM 3 - Mathematical Ways of Knowing

  • 3 credits required for AA, AS, or AAS
Course Course Title Min Credits
FINA 109Personal Finance and Business Math3
MATH 118Technical Math2
MATH 118LTechnical Math Lab1
MATH 123Math in Modern Society3
MATH 123PMath in Modern Society3
MATH 130Finite Mathematics4
MATH 143College Algebra3
MATH 143PCollege Algebra3
MATH 147College Algebra and Trigonometry5
MATH 153Statistical Reasoning3
MATH 153PStatistical Reasoning3
MATH 160Survey of Calculus4
MATH 170Calculus I5
MATH 257Math for Elementary Teachers II4

NOTE: Choosing the right GEM 3 course for your career and academic goals is very important and some programs have a specific GEM 3 requirement. Students should always work with their Student Success Advisor to confirm course selection.

Philosophy Statement

Coursework in Mathematical Ways of Knowing is intended to develop an understanding of mathematical reasoning processes and the ability to utilize these processes to think abstractly and solve problems.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. Read, interpret, and communicate mathematical concepts.
  2. Represent and interpret information/data.
  3. Select, execute, and explain appropriate strategies/procedures when solving mathematical problems.
  4. Apply quantitative reasoning to draw appropriate conclusions.

GEM 4 - Scientific Ways of Knowing

  • 7 credits required for AA or AS (from two (2) different disciplines/subjects with at least one laboratory or field experience)
Course Course Title Min Credits
AGRI 109Principles of Animal Science3
AGRI 109LPrinciples of Animal Science Lab1
ANTH 103Introduction to Archaeology3
ANTH 104Biological Anthropology3
BIOL 100Concepts of Biology3
BIOL 100LConcepts of Biology Lab1
BIOL 111Biology I3
BIOL 111LBiology I Lab1
BIOL 127Human Structure and Function3
BIOL 127LHuman Structure and Function Lab1
BIOL 227Human Anatomy and Physiology I3
BIOL 227LHuman Anatomy and Physiology I Lab1
CHEM 100Concepts of Chemistry3
CHEM 100LConcepts of Chemistry Lab1
CHEM 101Introduction to Chemistry3
CHEM 101LIntroduction to Chemistry Lab1
CHEM 102Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry4
CHEM 102LEssentials of Organic and Biochemistry Lab1
CHEM 111General Chemistry I3
CHEM 111LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
ENVI 100Environmental Science3
ENVI 100LEnvironmental Science Lab1
EXHS 270Motor Learning3
EXHS 270LMotor Learning Lab1
FERM 120Introduction to Fermented Foods3
GEOG 100Physical Geography3
GEOG 100LPhysical Geography Lab1
GEOG 270Global Climate Change3
GEOL 101Physical Geology3
GEOL 101LPhysical Geology Lab1
GEOL 102Historical Geology3
GEOL 102LHistorical Geology Lab1
GEOL 104Natural Disasters and Environmental Geology3
GEOL 104LNatural Disasters and Environmental Geology Lab1
GEOL 105Earth's Natural Resources3
HLTH 220Fundamentals of Nutrition3
MMBS 111Introductory Microbiology3
MMBS 111LIntroductory Microbiology Lab1
PHYS 100Survey of Physics3
PHYS 100LSurvey of Physics Lab1
PHYS 101Survey of Astronomy3
PHYS 101LSurvey of Astronomy Lab1
PHYS 111General Physics I3
PHYS 111LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PHYS 112General Physics II3
PHYS 112LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PHYS 211Physics for Scientists and Engineers I4
PHYS 211LPhysics for Scientists and Engineers I Lab1
SCIE 101Foundations of Science3

NOTE: To utilize a lab course that offers an associated lecture (i.e. BIOL 100 and BIOL 100L), students must complete both the lecture and the associated lab in order to have the courses fulfill their GEM 4 requirement. Students should always work with their Student Success Advisor to confirm course selection.

Philosophy Statement

Courses in the Scientific Ways of Knowing category are designed to develop students’ use of a self-correcting system of inquiry (the scientific method) and improve their ability to rely on empirical evidence to describe, understand, and predict natural phenomena.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate at least four (4) of the following competencies:

  1. Apply foundational knowledge and models of a natural or physical science to analyze and/or predict phenomena.
  2. Understand the scientific method and apply scientific reasoning to critically evaluate arguments.
  3. Interpret and communicate scientific information via written, spoken, and/or visual representations.
  4. Describe the relevance of specific scientific principles to the human experience.
  5. Form and test a hypothesis in the laboratory or field using discipline-specific tools and techniques for data collection and/or analysis.

GEM 5 - Humanistic and Artistic Ways of Knowing

  • 6 credits required for AA or AS (from two [2] different disciplines/subjects)
Course Course Title Min Credits
ARTS 101Prehistoric to Medieval Art3
ARTS 102Renaissance to Modern Art in the West3
ARTS 105Introduction to 2-D Art Foundations3
ARTS 106Introduction to 3-D Art Foundations3
ENGL 175Literature and Ideas3
ENGL 215Survey of World Mythology3
ENGL 257Survey of Western World Literature I3
ENGL 258Survey of Western World Literature II3
ENGL 267Survey of British Literature I3
ENGL 268Survey of British Literature II3
ENGL 277Survey of American Literature I3
ENGL 278Survey of American Literature II3
FILM 110Introduction to Film Studies3
FREN 101Elementary French I4
FREN 102Elementary French II4
FREN 201Intermediate French I4
HIST 103Western Civilization I3
HIST 104Western Civilization II3
HUMA 101Humanities: Prehistory to Renaissance3
HUMA 102Humanities: Baroque to Modern3
JAPN 101Elementary Japanese I4
JAPN 102Elementary Japanese II4
MUSI 100Introduction to Music3
MUSI 108Survey of Jazz and Pop Music3
PHIL 101Introduction to Philosophy3
PHIL 103Introduction to Ethics3
SIGL 101American Sign Language I4
SIGL 102American Sign Language II4
SIGL 201American Sign Language III4
SIGL 202American Sign Language IV4
SPAN 101Elementary Spanish I4
SPAN 102Elementary Spanish II4
SPAN 111Spanish for Healthcare4
SPAN 201Intermediate Spanish I4
SPAN 202Intermediate Spanish II4
THEA 101Theatre Appreciation3

Philosophy Statement

Courses in the Humanistic and Artistic Ways of Knowing category challenge students to investigate and interpret ethical, aesthetic, artistic, and intellectual dimensions of the human experiences, past and present, in order to gain an appreciation of human expression and make thoughtful and imaginative contributions to the world.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate at least five (5) of the following competencies:

  1. Recognize and describe humanistic, historical, or artistic works within problems and patterns of the human experience.
  2. Distinguish and apply terminologies, methodologies, processes, epistemologies, and traditions specific to the discipline(s).
  3. Perceive and understand formal, conceptual, and technical elements specific to the discipline.
  4. Analyze, evaluate, and interpret texts, objects, events, or ideas in their cultural, intellectual, or historical contexts.
  5. Interpret artistic and/or humanistic works through the creation of art or performance.
  6. Develop critical perspectives or arguments about the subject matter, grounded in evidence-based analysis.
  7. Demonstrate self-reflection, intellectual elasticity, widened perspective, and respect for diverse viewpoints

GEM 6 - Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing

  • 6 credits required for AA or AS (from two [2] different disciplines/subjects)
  • 3 credits required for AAS
Course Course Title Min Credits
ANTH 102Cultural Anthropology3
CRIJ 101Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRIJ 103Introduction to Law and Justice3
ECON 201Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON 202Principles of Microeconomics3
EDUC 120Foundations of Education3
ENGL 115Rhetoric and Popular Culture3
EXHS 155Health and Wellness3
GEOG 102Cultural Geography3
GEOG 200World Regional Geography3
HIST 101World History I3
HIST 102World History II3
HIST 111United States History I3
HIST 112United States History II3
PHIL 111World Religions3
POLS 101American National Government3
POLS 102Introduction to Political Science3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC 140Human Relations for Career and Personal Success3
PSYC 250Fundamentals of Social Science Research4
SCIE 102Ethics in Science3
SOC 101Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 102Social Problems3
SOC 120Global Issues3
SOC 220Sociology of Deviance3

Philosophy Statement

Courses in the Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing category offer a rigorous examination of human experiences. In studying various behavioral and social theories, research methods, perspectives of inquiry, and historical and cultural influences, students analyze the complex forces that shape human consciousness, interactions, activity, and social institutions.

Competencies

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate at least four (4) of the following competencies:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of a particular social science discipline.
  2. Develop an understanding of self and the world by examining the dynamic interaction of individuals, groups, and societies as they shape and are shaped by history, culture, institutions, and ideas.
  3. Utilize social sciences approaches, such as research methods, inquiry, or problem-solving, to examine the variety of perspectives about human experiences.
  4. Evaluate how reasoning, history, or culture informs and guides individual, civic, or global decisions.
  5. Understand and interpret similarities and differences among and between individuals, cultures, or societies across space and time.

General Education Program Objectives

CWI’s general education constitutes a program of study, and as such, general education programmatic objectives are broad, comprehensive, and aligned with CWI’s Degree Outcomes. Program objectives constitute a framework that guides teaching and learning throughout the general education program.

  1. Ethical Reasoning

    Ethical reasoning is reasoning about right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas, and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students’ ethical self-identity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.

    Ethical Reasoning focuses on the student’s ability to:

    • Demonstrate ethical self-awareness
    • Understand different ethical perspectives and concepts
    • Recognize ethical issues
    • Apply ethical perspectives and concepts

    2. Global Perspectives

    Through global perspectives, students become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences, and seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities. 

    Global Perspectives focuses on the student's ability to:

    • Demonstrate cultural self-awareness
    • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural worldview frameworks
    • Explain the consequences of personal, local, or national decisions

    3. Inquiry and Analysis

    Inquiry is a systematic process of exploring issues/objects/works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions/judgments. Analysis is the process of breaking complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them.

    Inquiry and Analysis focus on the student's ability to:

    • Select an appropriate topic
    • Communicate existing knowledge, research, and/or views
    • Organize evidence
    • Make a conclusion supported by the evidence

    4. Information Literacy

    "The ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand." - The National Forum on Information Literacy

    Information Literacy focuses on the student's ability to:

    • Assess the extent of information needed
    • Access needed information
    • Evaluate information and sources critically
    • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
    • Access and use information ethically and legally

    5.  Problem Solving

    Problem-solving is the process of identifying a problem, selecting and implementing a strategy or method, and evaluating the solution to achieve the desired goal or answer an open-ended question. 

    Problem Solving focuses on the student's ability to:

    • Identify the problem
    • Select appropriate strategies
    • Implement strategies
    • Evaluate the solutions

    6. Integrative Learning

    Integrative learning is an understanding and a disposition that the student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and connecting learning to new situations within and beyond the campus.

    Integrative Learning focuses on the student's ability to:

    • Connect relevant experience and academic knowledge
    • Make connections across perspectives
    • Use integrated communication
    • Reflect and self-assess strengths and challenges as a learner