General Education at Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University was founded in 1820 to provide a liberal education for the citizens of the newly established state of Indiana. Though much has changed in the past 200 years, the importance of a broad-based education has not diminished. In today’s world, narrow technical skills quickly become obsolete, but the broader, more flexible intellectual tools that are the product of a liberal education make it possible for people to adapt and thrive amid the changes.
General Education encourages exploration and discovery while providing a solid foundation for learning, both before and after graduation. The IU Bloomington General Education Curriculum is comprised of two main components: the Common Ground and Shared Goals. The Common Ground requirements are established by the General Education Committee and apply to all undergraduates pursuing a baccalaureate degree. Foundational courses in English composition and mathematical modeling provide a basis for essential communication and analytical skills. Breadth of Inquiry courses, along with those that study languages and cultures from around the globe—both contemporary and historical—expose students to a variety of personal and cultural expressions and introduce students to different ways of understanding themselves and their relationship to the natural and social world. Shared Goals are recommended for inclusion in all degree programs at IUB, though their implementation is program specific. Intensive Writing courses build upon basic composition skills and hone students’ ability to construct and support a reasoned argument through expository writing within the context of a particular discipline. Courses in Information Fluency teach students not only where to find information but how to evaluate it critically and use it effectively. Courses emphasizing Diversity in the United States bring alive the cultural richness of this nation. And enriching experiences such as internships, community service opportunities, fieldwork, undergraduate research, capstone projects, student teaching, performances and recitals, art exhibitions, and honors theses provide students with opportunities to put their discipline-specific knowledge and skill into action.
Learning is a life-long pursuit. An undergraduate education should foster a love of learning and provide students with the tools they need to continue to adapt and grow long after they have left Indiana University. Knowledge is only the beginning. A baccalaureate degree is conferred in a commencement ceremony, marking not an end but a beginning. Regardless of vocation, graduates will need to rely on their abilities to think critically, creatively, and independently; to adapt; to assess the validity of evidence and arguments; to ask thoughtful questions and propose defensible answers; to test the conclusions of others; to challenge preconceptions; to recognize opportunities; and to engage with the world around them. The General Education Curriculum at Indiana University Bloomington opens doors for students, giving them greater opportunities to experience the diverse wealth of educational opportunities at IU Bloomington while developing the basic building blocks of success.