Goal 1 of Georgia State’s Strategic Plan calls for our institution to become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates (http://strategic.gsu.edu/preamble/goal-1/). Initiative 3 under this goal is to establish signature experiences for undergraduates and to promote engagement in at least one SE course by each student by the time of graduation. Successful implementation of SEs intersects with other elements of the Strategic Plan, which elevates the level of importance of SEs.
Whereas all SE courses help achieve Goal 1 of our Strategic Plan, SE’s in the Research category also address Goal 3, SE’s in the Art, City, and perhaps Service categories also address Goal 4, and SE’s in the Global category address Goal 5. Some SE’s are cross-cutting and contribute to numerous goals in the Strategic Plan.
On September 10, 2012, a resolution to create a Signature Experience Program was adopted by the Senate Committee on Academic Standards. The resolution defined a signature experience as “an experience in which learning comes alive and students are encouraged to be active in their own education.” It created four requirements of all SEs that are now included in the definition and created six categories (arts, global, professional, research, service and city). All SEs must be offered as part of a course than earns credit and every major must offer its students at least one SE. A Signature Experience Leadership Team, which will be composed of at least one-half faculty, would be created to manage the Signature Experience Program. To read the Senate Resolution, click here.
During 2013, the Signature Experience Implementation Committee was formed to execute the senate resolution for creation of the Signature Experience Program. Each School, including the Honors College, had representation on the committee. The committee created a list of actions necessary for implementation of the program and drafted website content, the process to create new SE courses and the SE course approval process. They identified legal and risk management policies and practices that needed clarification in relation to SEs as well as current institutional practices and activities that were relevant to SEs. Lastly, they created a course capture of all SEs already in existence at Georgia State University. To read the Implementation Committee Report, click here.