Read HCC's COVID-19 policies here. Road work is ongoing. View our road/parking lot closure map.

About HCC

General Education Outcomes

No matter what specific technique, knowledge, or skill an individual course or program asks students to learn, HCC faculty have agreed upon Institutional Learning Outcomes that are relevant to and embedded in all courses and all programs, even if they are not explicitly stated in the syllabi. As students fulfill their General Education course requirements, they can expect to develop these core skills that are central to HCC's mission of higher education. 

HCC is committed to ensuring that its general education goes through a rigorous assessment and quality assurance process. The General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) was formed in 20-- and exists to support faculty in their general assessment practices. In 2021, GEAC revised the rubrics for all five of the general education outcomes, and began the process of assessing the general education outcomes, beginning with the Knowledge of Diversity (KoD) courses in a two year cycle 2021-2023.

Why general education?

At Holyoke Community College, general education offers students an opportunity to develop and practice problem solving and critical thinking and to connect knowledge and skills across disciplines.  These abilities are essential to becoming more knowledgeable, productive, and creative members of our complex global community. Current general education requirements are outlined in the College Catalog (embed link to catalog page on gen eds)

​The process of purposeful, self-directed judgment.

Critical thinking improves the quality of thinking and decision-making through reasoned, systematic consideration of context, concepts, methods and evidence.

Critical thinking is taught across the curriculum in every class.

Critical thinking manifests in various ways dependent on the General Education Outcome. Each of the other four General Education Outcomes listed contains at least two critical thinking student learning outcomes which are specific to that particular outcome. Thus, there is no separate rubric.

The ability to locate, evaluate, and utilize information

The acquisition and appropriate application of information is essential in academics and beyond.

Information Literacy is taught in English 102 which is a required course for all graduating students.  Information Literacy is also found in Social Science [B] courses which are required for graduation as well as many other courses across campus.

The HCC graduate will demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Define research tasks. This includes a clear description of the task and the determination of the questions that need to be answered and the information that will be needed to solve the problem.
  2. Use appropriate information-seeking strategies. This involves making the correct decisions concerning which information sources are needed for the task. An understanding that more than one type of source may be applicable is essential.
  3. Access the source(s) and extract the needed information. This involves familiarity with the library resources, including reference librarians, academic databases, and/or other online resources as appropriate for the task.
  4. Evaluate information and sources critically. After identifying and accessing the information, the student must be able to choose the information necessary for the task based on criteria such as relevance to the research question, currency, authority, audience, and bias or point of view. (CT)
  5. Apply the retrieved information to the defined task. This involves communicating, organizing, and synthesizing information from sources to achieve a specific purpose, with clarity and depth. (CT)
  6. Access and use information ethically and legally. Students should demonstrate a full understanding of the ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published, confidential, and/or proprietary information. Students should correctly employ citations and references when paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, and distinguishing between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

An intellectual awareness of the enriching aspects of cultural pluralism, with a focus on the analysis of similarities and differences including but not limited to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, social class, disability, and religious belief.

Knowledge of diversity promotes and supports understanding and appreciation of the varied experiences and perspectives that exist within pluralistic societies.

In order to graduate all students must complete a course with the Knowledge of Diversity designation.  The current list of courses with the KOD designation can be found in the college catalog (Keyword search "KOD").

The HCC graduate will demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Communicate an awareness of one's identities, attitudes, beliefs, values, and assumptions relative to issues of diversity, social justice and acceptance of others.
  2. Explain how race, class, gender and other categories of difference are socially constructed, flexible, intersecting, and dynamic.
  3. Demonstrate critical awareness of how individual perspectives, biases, power, and privilege influence ways of seeing the world. (CT)
  4. Analyze the ​origins and ​effects of discrimination by social institutions-i.e., government, education, science, politics-on diverse individuals and groups. (CT)
  5. Demonstrate the capacity to listen to and communicate respectfully with others of diverse perspectives.
  6. Explore and construct questions that reflect multiple perspectives to develop a complex understanding of the world.

*​based on University of Washington, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

In order for a course to receive a ​Knowledge of Diversity designation​, it MUST have at least four learning outcomes that are woven throughout the semester AND/OR covered in-depth with the following criteria:

Two (2) outcomes from #1-#4 are woven throughout AND covered in-depth

One (1) outcome must involve critical thinking (CT)

Learning outcome #2 MUST be one of the learning outcomes (either woven throughout AND covered in-depth, or woven throughout OR covered in-depth)

P​roficiency in mathematical thinking and its most useful methodologies.

The solutions to real world problems require the ability to apply mathematical methods.

Quantitative Reasoning is taught in Mathematics [D] and Science [E] courses which are required courses (at least 3) for all graduating students.  Quantitative Reasoning is also found across the curriculum in most Social Science [B] courses as well as numerous courses across campus.

The HCC graduate will demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, and draw inferences from them.
  2. Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally.
  3. Use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric or statistical methods to solve problems.
  4. Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results. (CT)
  5. Recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have limitations, and be able to identify how assumptions limit the accuracy of the final results.
  6. Apply quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, tools, formulas and theories in the solution of problems and recognize when to apply those techniques, tools, formulas, and theories in real world problems. (CT)
  7. Apply the scientific method, including methods of validating the results of scientific inquiry. (CT)
  8. Effectively communicate quantitative information in a variety of modalities.

The effective use of oral, visual, and language arts, including the ability to read, write, speak, and listen.

An educated individual must be able to understand and convey ideas in diverse contexts, using appropriate communication and information technology resources and skills.

Effective Communication is taught in English 101 and English 102 which are required courses for all graduating students.  Effective Communication is also found across the curriculum in most courses, especially Communication, English, Social Science, and Humanities courses, most of which require significant writing or presentations.

The HCC graduate will demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of methods of communication; choose the genre, organizational method, and communication method appropriate to the task.
  2. Demonstrate detailed attention to and successful execution of a wide range of conventions specific to a particular task, including content, clarity of language, syntax, presentation, formatting and stylistic choices.
  3. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of context, audience, and purpose. (CT)
  4. Demonstrate listening, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills (for example, use of effective body language in a presentation, clarity of delivery, or accurate listening and response in a debate).
  5. Evaluate and utilize communication ethics in the dissemination of information. (CT)

Evaluate and interpret the meaning of materials used in written, oral and/or visual communication through close reading and critical thinking. (CT)