Integrated General Education

Integrated General Education


The General Education experience at Paul Smith's College allows students to develop the competence and skills necessary to become productive citizens in today’s world. The program focuses on five important competency areas:

  • Written Communication (WC),
  • Quantitative Problem Solving (QP),
  • Analytical Reasoning & Scientific Inquiry (AR),
  • Social & Cultural Engagement (SC),
  • Responsibility & Expression (RE).

Embedded across all five competencies are the additional competencies of technology competency and information competency, which includes critical analysis and reasoning. Each competency is introduced, reinforced and expanded across the curriculum. Students are encouraged to make connections between liberal arts, discipline, curricular, and co-curricular experiences.

Educational Goals

Paul Smith’s College takes a unique approach to general education that gives students the opportunity to achieve common educational goals as part of their major course requirements rather than through a separate distribution list. The Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management program integrates achievement of these goals into a variety of courses. The program also gives you the opportunity to choose courses of interest to you that also introduce or reinforce the structure of these concepts. (See the checklist below)

The curriculum is designed to ensure that when students graduate from Paul Smith's College they will not only be able to demonstrate program goals, they will also have the competence and skills necessary to become productive citizens in today’s world. These competencies and skills have been defined by the Integrated General Education (IGE) program as the ability to demonstrate:

Analytical Reasoning and Scientific Inquiry (AR), generate meaning by using appropriate research methodologies to collect, analyze, evaluate and synthesize data.

Quantitative Problem Solving (QP), apply quantitative and mathematical methods and models to develop potential solutions to real-world problems.

Written Communication (WC), communicate organized and informed ideas clearly and persuasively to diverse audiences in writing.

Social and Cultural Engagement (SC), collaborate, interact and empathize with individuals and groups who represent diverse cultures, and contemporary and historic perspectives.

Responsibility and Expression (RE), use a variety of modes and media, to creatively express an informed point of view regarding human experience, cultures, values, and choices in a manner appropriate to audience and context.


PSC General Education competencies are delivered, reinforced and enriched across the curriculum in each program offered by the college. This allows each program of study to integrate the general education goals and learning objectives with the program's course requirements.

Competency Levels

Foundation (F), Reinforcing (R), Integrated (I) and Multidimensional (MD) learning objectives define what is meant by competency for each knowledge area.

At the completion of an associate program or at the mid-point in a baccalaureate program, students should be able to demonstrate reinforcing outcomes.

At the completion of a baccalaureate program students should be able to demonstrate multidimensional outcomes.

Associate Degrees

Students must complete one foundation experience and one reinforcing experience in each of the 5 competency areas.

Bachelor's Degrees

Students must complete one foundation experience, one reinforcing experience, one integrated experience and one multidimensional experience in each of the 5 competency areas.

The Integrated General Education Experiences

Foundation Experiences

The primary purpose of courses designated as a foundation competency in a knowledge area must be the foundation level outcomes. Students may place above the foundation experience for written communication and quantitative problem solving competencies through college placement testing. The Responsibility & Expression Foundation experience is required in the first semester of the student’s first year at Paul Smith's College. Transfer students who have completed two full time semesters at a previous college with a semester GPA of a 2.0 or greater will be considered to have completed the Responsibility & Expression Foundation experience. These students will have to take either a liberal arts and science elective or a general elective to complete the required credits. Foundation experiences may NOT meet the foundation requirement for more than one competency. An experience may not count as both a foundation and a reinforcing experience.

Reinforcing Experiences

The reinforcing /intermediate level refers to the student’s ability to apply knowledge in a meaningful way within (but not limited to) their chosen discipline. Objectives at this level build on the competency foundation by reinforcing and expanding student understanding across the curriculum. Reinforcing level courses are 100 or 200 level courses. Depending on the program outcomes, reinforcing experiences can be found in either program or Liberal Arts and Sciences courses. All students must have one reinforcing experience for each competency. One course may meet the experience requirement for more than one competency. While a course may meet both the foundational and reinforcing objectives, that course cannot count for the student as both a foundational and reinforcing experience. Courses designated as reinforcing experiences must meet and assess all of the reinforcing level outcomes for that competency. Students are encouraged to choose for themselves the kinds of experiences they wish to have in order to meet these expectations.

Integrated Experiences

The integrated/baccalaureate/advanced level refers to the student’s ability to synthesize and construct knowledge from the competency into their chosen field in order to solve problems or answer questions out of the context in which they learned the concept/skill. Baccalaureate students must have one integrated experience for each competency. An integrated course should be a discipline oriented program requirement or from a pre-approved cluster of restricted electives. An integrated course is a 300 level course or higher. A student can count one course as meeting more than one integrated competency experience. Courses at the integrated level must meet and assess all of the integrated level outcomes for that competency.

Multidimensional Experience/Culminating Experience/Capstone

All programs are expected to provide a culminating experience or capstone that meets the standards defined by the Capstone Experience Guidelines approved by Faculty Council May 2008.


All IGE level experiences, with the exception of the Multidimensional or Capstone experience, can be met with equivalent transfer credit.

Please consult the course description in Self-Service to determine whether a course has been approved as a general education elective experience and for which competency.

Degrees & Certificates
Course Descriptions