Guiding Principles for University Foundations GEM Courses:
University Foundations GEM courses introduce non-majors to a variety of Ways of Knowing as defined within the State Board of Education’s designated General Education Matriculation (GEM) categories.* The breadth of these introductory courses establishes a basic framework for subsequent interdisciplinary, applied, or advanced studies. Notably, this portion of the UF curriculum is designed to ensure that students receive a foundation in the six GEM Ways of Knowing, not as a home for every program’s or department’s introductory course. This approach provides students with the opportunity to develop what they know, what they can do, and who they want to become.
- Alignment – Departments or programs are eligible to offer courses only within a GEM category that fits naturally within their field. That is, departments or programs should not have to hire experts outside their field/s to offer these courses.
- Choice – To foster breadth of knowledge and reduce barriers for our students, GEM courses generally should not be prescribed by a given program.
- Expertise – Instructors of GEM courses ought to be able to demonstrate expertise (typically defined as having earned a graduate degree in a disciplinary area) with regard to the content and theories of the discipline in question.
- Fidelity – GEM courses must align with both the state’s and the university’s rubrics for each disciplinary learning outcome.
- Focus – Departments or programs, with few exceptions, will offer courses in only one GEM category.
- Fundamentality – Content in GEM courses will be devoted to the breadth, context, and analysis of the many fundamental principles, concepts, or theories within a given GEM field. Emphasis is on the introduction to the disciplinary area to ensure these core ideas receive substantial focus prior to students’ application of disciplinary knowledge.
- Service – majority of registered students in a GEM course should be from outside the program offering the course.
- Terminality – GEM courses are typically designed for non-majors with the assumption that they may be the only course a student will take in the field.
*The State of Idaho’s six GEM categories align to the following University Foundations course categories at Boise State: Foundations of Written Communication (FW), Foundations of Oral Communication (FC), Foundations of Mathematics (FM), Foundations of Social Sciences (FS), Foundations of Natural, Physical & Applied Sciences (FN), Foundations of the Arts (FA), and Foundations of the Humanities (FH).