Liberal Education Course Proposals

Liberal Education Course Approval Procedures

A. Course Requirements

As recommended in the Liberal Education Task Force Final Report (dated 9/4/2009; view full report here), courses approved for liberal education credit must meet the following five criteria:

  • Will be taught by those familiar with the goals and methods of teaching liberal education courses;
  • Will help students to understand the nature and value of a liberal education and to recognize how the course in question contributes to such an education;
  • May be offered at the 1000-, 2000-, 3000-, or 4000-level;
  • Will be offered regularly (at least every other year); and
  • Will be suitable for a wide spectrum of students*.

If approved by the appropriate department, a liberal education course may also be used to satisfy a requirement within the major or minor.

* Key Topics courses offered at the 3000 and 4000 level within the major are not required to serve a wide spectrum of students.

For course proposal procedures, a Liberal Education course may meet the criteria for a Knowledge Domain category as well as a Key Topics category. Course proposals must be completed for both categories. Courses approved for two categories must also conduct and report student learning assessment for both categories.

B. Course Proposal Process/Instructions

  1. Review the categories and descriptions (download PDF).
  2. Submit by the posted deadlines (see Course Proposal Deadline section below). Remember that departmental and collegiate review deadlines are earlier than the February 1st deadline for submission to Academic Affairs.
  3. Choose the category with which your course aligns. If you are submitting the same course for designation in both Parts II (Knowledge Domain) and III (Key Topics), a separate application will need to be completed for each category.
  4. Complete the appropriate Google form(s) linked below. Note that answers to the prompts in Section 2: Category Criteria and Section 3: Course Assessment must be at least 100 and no more than 300 words in length.  
    • Section 2: Category Criteria asks how the course will address the criteria for this category. Please use examples to help illustrate that, whatever the course's other goals might be, it will substantially address the following criteria.
    • Section 3: Course Assessment asks how the course will assess students' proficiency in each student learning outcome (SLO) associated with this category. A full response to each question should include: 1) a clear statement of which course assessment (or portion of an assessment will provide a clear measure of the SLO, and why that assessment is a good fit for that SLO) and 2) A brief description of what students must do/achieve on the assessment in order to have reached the level of proficiency described on the rubric for this category
  5. The proposal should be reviewed by and approved by your department before the google form is submitted.
  6. The google form submission will be shared with the college curriculum committees for approval before it is forwarded to the Liberal Education Subcommittee.
  7. Proposals are shared with the Liberal Education Subcommittee in the order they are received and reviewed after the February 1st deadline.
  8. Once reviewed and voted upon, the applicant will receive email notification of approval or non-approval. If a course is approved, all UMD record systems and the approved Liberal Education Program list will be updated.

C. Course Proposal Deadline

Liberal education courses are added once a year to the Fall semester catalog. Liberal Education course proposals are reviewed during the Spring semester each year. The next deadline to submit Liberal Education course proposals for category approval is February 1. Approved courses will have an effective date for the following Fall semester. 

NOTE: The subcommittee has added a November 1, 2022 deadline for the Theorizing Race, Power and Justice category.  Only courses in the new category will be reviewed in November.  Additional proposals may be submitted by February 1, 2023.  

The subcommittee strongly recommends proposals be submitted as early as possible in October.  

D. Course Proposal Forms for the 2023-2024 Academic Year

Language & Reasoning Skills (9 cr) Writing & Information Literacy  
  Oral Communication & Languages OCL Form
  Theorizing Race, Power, and Justice  RACE JUST Form
  Logic & Quantitative Reasoning LQR Form
Knowledge Domain (21 cr) Natural Sciences NS Form
  Social Sciences SS Form
  Humanities HUM Form
  Fine Arts FA Form
Key Topics (9 cr) Global Perspectives GP Form
  Cultural Diversity in the United States CD Form
  Sustainability SUS Form

E. Liberal Education Subcommittee

The Liberal Education Subcommittee is charged with overseeing the campus’ Liberal Education Program. The Liberal Education Subcommittee works with other educational committees to review and strive toward continuous improvement of Liberal Education at UMD. The subcommittee will report to as well as act on behalf of the Faculty Senate. 

Membership consists of 10 elected voting members: 2 faculty members from each college (CAHSS, CEHSP,  LSBE, SCSE), 1 staff, and 1 student; and 2 ex-officio non-voting members: 1 academic advisor from one of the five colleges and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. The current Subcommittee membership includes: 

TBD Chair  


Jennifer Moore Faculty CAHSS 2022 - 2025
Marzell Gray Faculty CEHSP 2022 - 2025
TBD Faculty SCSE 2020 - 2023
Karen Gran Faculty SCSE 2021 - 2024
Kristen Hylenski   Faculty CAHSS  2022 - 2025
Rick LaCaille Faculty CEHSP 2021 - 2024
Roger Reinsch      Faculty LSBE 2020 - 2023
Marat Bakpayev Faculty LSBE 2022 - 2025
Kim Pittman Staff Staff 2022 - 2025
TBD Student Student 2022 - 2023
Trent Nelson Ex-officio non-voting member        Academic Advisor LSBE 2021 - 2024
Jen Mencl Ex-officio non-voting member Associate Vice Chancellor          n/a
Nancy Burley Support Staff n/a n/a

F. Contacts

For feedback or guidance on Liberal Education course proposal forms, please contact your representative(s) shown above. For general Liberal Education inquires, email Nancy Burley [email protected].