UNK’s new streamlined general studies program offers students more flexibility

KEARNEY – Undergraduate students at University of Nebraska at Kearney will be studying in a new general studies curriculum that requires fewer hours, eases transferring and gives students greater flexibility in earning their degree.

The new core curriculum, which begins this fall, was developed by a faculty council to assure that all students have the foundational knowledge expected by an educated citizen. The 10-course program of 30-31 credit hours provides students with opportunities to explore their interests, while providing the skills necessary for life-long learning.

The new general studies program – known as LOPERs: Learning Objectives/Program Essential Requirements – reduces credit hour requirements to 30-31 hours from the minimum requirement of 45 hours in UNK’s previous general studies program. The total credit hour requirement for a bachelor’s degree remains unchanged at 120 hours. This reduction in general studies hours makes it possible for students to add a second major, minor or teaching endorsement and allows students greater freedom to customize their degrees.

Additionally, students admitted to UNK with an associate of arts or associate of science from a regionally accredited institution will have fulfilled the general studies requirements.

That change “lets students who transfer to UNK with an associate’s degree in hand jump right in to the classes in their major,” said Joan Blauwkamp, professor of political science, and a General Studies Council member.

In developing the new curriculum outlined below, the General Studies Council prioritized learning outcomes for core academic skills (LOPERs 1-4); broad knowledge across the arts and sciences (LOPERs 5-8); and the dispositions that prepare students to lead responsible and productive lives in a democratic, multicultural society (LOPERS 9-11).

LOPER 1 – First-year seminar
LOPER 2 – Writing skills
LOPER 3 – Oral communication
LOPER 4 – Mathematics, Statistics and Quantitative reasoning
LOPER 5 – Visual or performing arts
LOPER 6 – Humanities
LOPER 7 – Social science
LOPER 8 – Natural science
LOPER 9 – Civic competency and engagement
LOPER 10 – Human diversity
LOPER 11 – Wellness

“We are staying true to UNK’s mission – grounding students with a core liberal arts and sciences curriculum, while giving students more flexibility to specialize, earn credentials and prepare for their future careers,” Blauwkamp said.

The General Studies Council comprises faculty appointees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Technology, and Education, plus the Library. The new program was approved by Senior Vice Chancellor Charles Bicak in April, following an affirmative vote of the faculty. It goes into effect in the Fall 2020 semester for students on the 2020-21 undergraduate catalog. Students on earlier catalogs will continue with the previous program.

More information is at unk.edu/generalstudies.