General Education for Adult Learners in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Edison State College is focused on meeting the educational needs of the self-directed adult learner. Students come to the College with a wealth of experience from academic work at other institutions, from the workplace, and from military service. Thomas Edison State College is committed to education as a transformative process that broadens perspectives, develops skills, provides specific disciplinary training, and facilitates full participation in a global, technologically sophisticated and diverse society. Our vision for general education at the College is that it be threaded throughout the curriculum, and across all schools, and at all levels of study.

Undergraduate degrees offered through Thomas Edison State College are designed around three constructs:

  1. General Education: an integrated foundation based on the liberal arts with a focus on core skills and competencies
  2. Area of Study: in-depth work in a specific discipline
  3. Elective courses: a flexible elective component to meet personal and intellectual interests complementary to but distinct from the selected field of study

All three pillars of our undergraduate degree programs are designed so that our graduates meet Institutional General Education Outcomes that document student competencies.

Outcomes-Based General Education

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Thomas Edison's institutional outcomes are closely mapped to the Essential Learning Outcomes (LEAP Outcomes) as documented by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (

All Thomas Edison State College students who graduate from bachelor degree programs will complete 60 semester hour credits of general education, by demonstrating the following general education competencies and completing general education electives, taken directly from the LEAP Outcomes ( Some of these credits must fulfill specific category requirements and others allow students to tailor their general education experience to their own needs and interests.

  1. Intellectual and Practical Skills (15 credits)

    Institutional outcomes include: Communication, Information Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, and Technological Competency

    Examples of courses include English composition I (ENC-101) and English Composition II, Statistics (STA-201), and Living in the Information Age (SOS-110). The requirements are:
    • 3 credits of Composition (ENC-101 English Composition I)
    • 3 credits of Writing Intensive Course work (ENC-102 English Composition II)
    • 3 credits of Math
    • 6 credits of Intellectual and practical skills electives
  2. Human cultures and the physical and natural world through study in areas including the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts (18 credits)

    Institutional outcomes include Scientific Reasoning expanded to include Social Sciences Reasoning and Humanities Reasoning

    Examples include courses in the sciences, social sciences, humanities including interdisciplinary courses ENS-314 Global Environmental Change, HIS-356 War and American Society and PHI-370 Philosophy of Religion. The requirements are:
    • 3 credits Social Sciences
    • 3 credits Natural Sciences
    • 3 credits Humanities
    • 9 credits of Human cultures and the physical world electives
  3. Personal and Social Responsibility (9 credits)

    Institutional Outcomes include: Diversity/Global Literacy and Responsible Global Leadership, Lifelong Learning

    Examples include courses SOC-322 Cultural Diversity, COM-335 Intercultural Communication, PHI-384 Ethics and the Business Professional
    • 3 credits Diversity/Global Literacy
    • 3 credits Responsible Ethical Leadership
    • 3 credits of Personal and Social Responsibility electives
  4. Integrative and Applied Learning, including synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies (integrated throughout general education and capstone courses)

    Institutional outcomes include Critical Analysis and Reasoning

    This competency will be demonstrated across interdisciplinary general education courses as well as in the area of study and capstone courses.