General Education Program

How to Design an Issues and Perspective Course: A Guide for Faculty

Who May Offer an Issues and Perspectives Course?

Faculty with terminal degrees from all schools at Wichita State University.

What is an Issue and Perspectives Course?

An Issues and Perspectives course is an upper division course, the final segment of General Education. The skills and information gained from the General Education courses, as well as courses in the major should allow the student to tackle a broad range of issues in a sophisticated manner. A student is required to take at least one but no more than two I&P courses.

In order to develop Basic Skills, all General Education courses must include support for writing skills, in examinations and written assignments (term papers, book reports, term projects, etc.), mathematical concepts (problem, charts, graphs, statistics, etc.), library research skills (paper and report preparation, etc.), and oral communication (oral reports, discussion in class, debates, etc.), where appropriate.

How and Where to Begin

  • An I&P course takes a topic from a major and approaches that topic on a broader perspective.
  • Naturally, you will begin with a topic from your field.
  • Next, consider the causes, consequences, or meanings of these actions/developments. For example:
    • Issues surrounding technology in the 21st (or 19th, 17th, 4c. bc.) century.

    • Who might wish to offer a course with such a topic?
      • Anthropology, engineering, computer science, physics, history, etc.?
    • What questions might this course ask?
      • What is/was the basic technology of the time?
      • Was there a major technological shift?
      • What impact did this have on people's lives (the economy, social structure, political structure, ecology)?
      • What consequences did this have for future generations?

Keep in mind that this course should be taken by those with majors not only out of your department, but also out of your school.

What an I&P Course IS and is NOT

  • It is not a course designed to teach the basic skills of a major.
  • It does not have to be team taught.
  • It may be team taught.
  • It is not a large lecture course.
  • It is not a course that requires a number of prerequisites.

The Paper Trail

  • Even if you are adjusting an existing course to the I&P format, you must take this course through the approval process.
  • Your "new" course must be approved by:
    • your Department Curriculum Committee
    • your Department Chair
    • your College Curriculum Committee
    • your College Dean
    • and finally by the General Education Committee.

The early levels of the approval process may not be as conversant with the rules for General Education as the committee is. Thus, you should obtain the form early and consult with the committee if you feel you need help.

The I&P Proposal Form

  • Be certain to fill out all parts of the form.
  • Be certain to include a DETAILED example of a syllabus for your proposed course. This means not only listing basic topics, but specific information on methods of grading (texts, term papers, etc.), and listing of proposed readings.
  • If this will be a team taught course, explain the rationale for this approach and how you and your colleagues plan to work together.

An Issues and Perspectives course is part of the General Education Program. If you do not wish to meet some or most of these guidelines for your course, it need not be a part of General Education.