In each undergraduate degree program, the institution requires the successful completion of a general education component at the collegiate level that (1) is a substantial component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale.  For degree completion in associate programs, the component constitutes a minimum of 15 semester hours or the equivalent; for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent.  These credit hours are to be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the following areas:  humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural science/mathematics. The courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession.  If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency.  The institution also provides a justification if it allows for fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit of general education courses.

Compliance Judgment: In compliance


At East Carolina University, hereafter ECU or the institution), the general education requirements are entitled “Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum.” Adoption of the term “Foundations” signifies the fundamental purpose of general education at ECU:  to provide students with the educational foundation necessary for civic, professional, and personal success. The foundations curriculum provides a common, unified body of knowledge and broad, interdisciplinary skills to students who will major in widely different subjects and who come from diverse cultural backgrounds.

ECU is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system.  ECU’s Foundations Curriculum aligns with the expectations identified in the mission of the University of North Carolina (see UNC History and Mission) and in the UNC Strategic Plan (UNC Tomorrow’s December 2007 report), including providing students with broad knowledge, critical thinking, written communication skills, and skills in gathering and organizing information.  The structure of ECU’s Foundations Curriculum enables ECU to be responsive to the changing needs of students due to the rapid advance of technology and the evolving phenomenon of globalization.

The Foundations Curriculum

ECU’s Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum is based on the belief that the best way to prepare university undergraduates to live worthwhile lives is to provide them with a solid foundation in the core liberal arts disciplines in which other scholarship is grounded, including strong competencies in writing and mathematics, in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary education in the specific areas of health promotion and physical activity. This foundation and its integration with specialized learning in the students’ majors prepare them to live broadly-informed, responsible, worthwhile lives. And this integration is essential to good citizenship in an increasingly global and culturally diverse world.  The Foundations Curriculum directly supports and contributes to the ECU Mission Statement of preparing students to compete and succeed in a global economy and multicultural society.

Creation of the Foundations Curriculum Goals

From Fall 2002 to Spring 2005, following ECU’s 2002 SACS reaffirmation of accreditation, ECU conducted an in depth general education review both at ECU and nationally. During this review, ECU’s Academic Standards [now the Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee (FCIEC)] examined the practices and policies of the general education programs of other universities and solicited input from ECU’s students, faculty members, and administrators on proposals for new general education goals. During its review, the committee (a) identified what the university wanted the general education program to look like in the future  (soliciting input from as many sources as possible), (b) conducted research about current views on the subject of general education throughout academia, including the UNC system campuses and other state and private institutions, (c) discussed the importance of assessment as a component of the process (d) decided to establish and document a basic philosophy of what general education is about at ECU, (e) recognized the need to establish a new set of general education requirements, (f)  agreed to establish a specific set of objectives that a course must meet in order to carry general education credit, and (g)  agreed to create a new set of guidelines and procedures for identifying the courses that would receive general education credit. 

Over the three-year review and revision process, two major drafts (designated Spring 2003 draft and Fall 2003 draft)  were considered. The first draft was organized around critical thinking, effective written and oral presentation, intentional learners (educating students to be lifelong learners), morals/values/ethics, cultural diversity, appreciation of fine arts, being able to distinguish fact from opinion, being responsible citizens, learning about scientific methodology and history of discovery, and gaining a global perspective. While this spring 2003 draft addressed important general skills and had a content knowledge component, it did not provide a sufficiently coherent rationale that unified ECU’s general education requirements. The subsequent fall 2003 draft united and grounded ECU’s educational objectives in the discipline-based content knowledge and general skills that define a liberal arts curriculum. A revised version of this draft was submitted to the Faculty Senate for information and input in spring 2004. Hearings on the draft Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum were held September 21 and 22, 2004. The draft was further revised and a final draft was approved by the Faculty Senate on February 22, 2005, and by the chancellor March 2, 2005. ECU’s general education program was renamed the “Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum.”

ECU’s Mission and the Breadth and Coherent Rationale of the Foundations Curriculum:

As published in the Undergraduate Catalog, the Foundations Curriculum requires 42 student credit hours of courses including English composition, mathematics, health, exercise, basic science, social science, humanities, and fine arts. These requirements ensure that students take a range of courses across the broad areas of disciplinary knowledge. The Foundations Curriculum course requirements are listed below. Assessment at the course level provides data on Foundations Curriculum competency.  


East Carolina University

Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum



  • Students must learn the subject matter of one or more of the disciplines in each of the four core areas (Humanities, Arts, Basic Sciences, Basic Social Sciences).
  • Students must learn the fundamental concepts and research methods utilized in one or more of the disciplines in each core area.
  •  Students must learn the relevance of scholarship in the discipline and in its core area to the students' overall education



Course Level Assessment

Humanities Goals





Students will learn the subject matter of at least one discipline in the Humanities.

CLAS 1500, 2000, 2600; ENGL 1000, 2000; FORL 2442, 2680, 2600, 2620; SPAN 2550; GRBK 2000, 2500; INTL 1000; PHIL 1110, 1175, 1176, 2271, 2274, 2275; RELI 3000;  RUSI 2001; SECS 1000; WOST 2000, 2200, 2400


Students will learn the research methodology applied by disciplines in the Humanities.


Students will learn about the discipline's contribution to general knowledge.



Course Level Assessment

Arts Goals





Students will learn the subject matter, the practice, the history, or the appreciation of the subject matter of at least one art form.

ART 1910; DNCE 1000, 1001, 1002, 1003, 3703; MUSC 1008; THEA 1000


Students will learn the creative methods and skills utilized by one or more disciplines in the Arts, or they will learn the research methods used in scholarship addressing the history or appreciation of at least one of the Arts.


Students will learn about the Arts' contribution to society, to culture and to life in general.  Students will learn how the Arts relate to other academic areas and to the non-academic world.



Course Level Assessment

Basic Sciences Goals





Students will learn the subject matter of at least one core discipline in the Basic Sciences.

BIOL 1050, 1051; CHEM 1150; GEOL 1500; PHYS 1050, 1080, 1250, 1260, 2350, 2360


Students will learn the research methodology, principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research in a Basic Science.


Students will learn about the discipline's contribution to general knowledge.



Course Level Assessment

Basic Social Sciences Goals





Students will learn the subject matter of at least one core discipline in the Basic Social Sciences.

ANTH 1000; COMM 1001, 1002, 2420; SW/CDFR/GERO 2400, 4520; ECON 2113; GEOG 1000, 1250, 1300; HIST 1030, 1031, 1050, 1051; POLS 1010, 2010, 2020; PSYC 1000; SOCI 1025, 2110, 2111


Students will learn the research methodology, principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research in a Basic Social Science.


Students will learn about the discipline's contribution to general knowledge.



Course Level Assessment

Health Promotion Goals and Physical Activity







Students will develop an understanding of the physical, psychological, and socio-cultural factors and human behaviors that influence human health and affect the major health problems in our society.

HLTH 1000, 1001; EXSS 1000; RCLS 2601


Students will develop an understanding of the role of knowledge and personal responsibility in fostering a commitment to human health.


Students will develop an understanding of the components of health-related physical activity and their relationship to human health


Students will develop or enhance physical fitness and lifelong sport skills.



Course Level Assessment

Writing and Mathematics Goals

Writing Goals










Students will learn to use various heuristic and planning tactics in preparing a written composition.  In drafting and revising, they will learn to choose words carefully, exploit English syntax fully, and ensure coherence.  They will learn to edit for standard written English usage, punctuation, and spelling.  They will also become competent in using the computer to assist in those processes.

ENGL 1100, 1200


Students will improve their reading skills in order to understand literally, to infer, to recognize ideological bias, and to evaluate.  They will deepen their sensitivities to connections and differences among texts.  They will increase their capacities for reflecting on experience and analyzing and solving problems creatively.


Students will learn the aims and means of the expositor and advocate, and will learn to write in order to inform and to persuade.


Students will learn to formulate research questions, identify and search both print and electronic bibliographic indexes, locate resources in the library, and read widely for selected kinds of information.  They will learn to incorporate information gained from the library and other sources into their compositions, citing documents appropriately.



Math Goals





Students will learn Mathematics that is appropriate to their background and educational needs.

MATH 1065


Students will learn to use mathematical or logical techniques and procedures in problem-solving activities.


Students will develop the ability to recognize and use the words and symbols of mathematics or formal logic.




*Courses listed are representative samples.

Specific Honors College courses and interdisciplinary courses may be used also to satisfy Foundations Curriculum requirements (Undergraduate Catalog: Courses that Carry Foundations Curriculum Credit).

The Liberal Arts Foundations Program course requirements
consist of 42 hours of the minimum of 120 hours required for a bachelor’s degree (Baccalaureate Degree Requirements ). The Foundations Curriculum is a substantial and broad component of each of ECU’s undergraduate degree programs.

Procedures for assuring that the skill levels meet collegiate standards:

The Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee (FCIEC) review courses via the Liberal Arts Foundations Course Approval Process to ensure that they address the goals of the Foundations Curriculum. Academic units that request Foundations Curriculum credit for a course submit a proposal for Request for Foundations Credit Form outlining how the course meets the requirements of the Foundations Curriculum goals and present the proposal to FCIEC.  The committee compares the learning goals and requirements for the course with the learning outcomes defined for the corresponding area of the Foundations Curriculum. Courses are only approved if they meet the following requirements:

The FCIEC may request additional information, clarification, or justification for the request. Courses may be resubmitted with additional information provided. When there is sufficient evidence that a proposed course meets the Foundations Curriculum requirements for the course’s Foundations area, it is approved by the FCIEC. The FCIEC presents the approved proposals to the Faculty Senate for its vote and, if passed, the proposals move on to the chancellor for final approval.

In summary, all ECU undergraduate courses, including all that receive Foundations Curriculum credit, must be approved through the Academic Program Review process. Each proposed course is reviewed and approved by the faculty in the originating unit, the Office of the Dean, the College Curriculum Committee, the ECU Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, the ECU Academic Council, and the chancellor. Questions regarding proposed courses can be addressed at any stage of this process. Copies of proposals are maintained in Faculty Senate Office.

Evidence that ECU's, Foundations Curriculum program meets collegiate-level standards:

At East Carolina University, the faculty has primary responsibility for curriculum development, approval, evaluation, and improvement. The Faculty Manual (Part VI.VII) assigns primary responsibility for the curriculum to the faculty, stating:

            V.III. Academic Program and Curriculum Development

Program and curriculum development are faculty responsibilities. Program and curriculum changes may be initiated, prepared, and presented for review to all relevant ECU campus bodies by voting faculty as defined in the ECU Faculty Manual.  Development of new academic degree programs and certificates is governed by the policies and procedures of the General Administration (GA). Consultation with the ECU Office of Academic Program Planning and Development (APPD) is recommended before preparing program development requests. Instructions on specific procedures and documents for program and curriculum development proposals are available on the office of APPD website. 

The faculty is responsible for initiating and conducting the core aspects of the development, approval, evaluation, and improvement of the content, quality, and effectiveness of Foundations requirements for both new and established Foundations courses.  

Collegiate Learning Assessment

Further evidence that the institution’s Foundations Curriculum program meets collegiate standards is provided in East Carolina University’s results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) was administered in 2007-2008 (CLA 2007-2008 Institutional Report ) and 2011-2012 (CLA 2011-2012 Institutional Report).  The CLA is designed to measure an institution’s contribution, or what the CLA organization terms “value added,” to the development of a student’s ability to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and cogently. East Carolina’s use of CLA results is discussed in the compliance narrative for 3.5.1.

In summary, East Carolina University provides evidence that the institution requires the successful completion of a general education component at the collegiate level.


Reference Title


Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review Guidelines

Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

ugcat1112 Bach Degree Length

CLA 2007-2008 Institutional Report

CLA_0708_R_East Carolina University

CLA 2011-2012 Institutional Report

CLA_1112 Report_East Carolina University

ECU Faculty Manual

Faculty Manual, Part XI Voting Faculty

ECU Mission Statement


ECU Mission Statement

Faculty Manual, Part VI.VII

Part V - Curriculum Development

Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee

foundationscurriculum and inst effec committee

General Education Review 2002-2005

General Education Review 2002-2005


Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum

Faculty Senate Resolution 05-04 Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundation Curriculum

Liberal Arts Foundations Course Approval Process


Liberal Arts Foundations Program Course Requirements

ugcat1112 Bach Degree Length

Request for Foundations Credit Form


UNC History and Mission

History and Mission


UNC Tomorrow’s December 2007 Report

2.7.3 UNC Tomorrow Final_Report

Undergraduate Catalog

ugcat1112 Bach Degree Length

Undergraduate Catalog: Courses that Carry Foundations Curriculum Credit

Courses that Carry FC credit