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University Foundations Program

On this page:
Philosophy of the University Foundations Program
University Learning Outcomes
University Foundations Program Requirements
UF Placement for Transfer Students

Philosophy of the University Foundations Program

Boise State’s University Foundations Program offers an integrated, sequential, multidisciplinary learning experience that illustrates the university’s commitment to undergraduate education from entrance to graduation. The Program’s distinctive features establish the university as a leader in empowering students and enabling them to achieve academic excellence. University Foundations Program courses constitute a coherent framework on which departments establish the educational opportunities specific to the needs of their disciplines.

From the time they enter the university, students encounter skilled and motivated faculty members in courses that feature diverse opportunities for examination of historical, intellectual, and ethical traditions. Courses focus on the kinds of inquiry central to a university education, creating opportunities to explore important subjects, ask questions, debate ideas, increase understandings, research, innovate, and solve problems.

The emphasis is on building a foundation for both advanced study and lifelong communication and learning. Courses in the University Foundations Program have clearly articulated goals (University Learning Outcomes). A built-in process for robust assessment fosters ongoing improvement. A complete description of the University Foundations Program may be found at: http://academics.boisestate.edu/fsp/.



University Learning Outcomes

The eleven desired university learning outcomes (ULOs) listed below ensure that students are repeatedly exposed to the essential soft skills sought in college graduates as well as the disciplinary outcomes important for breadth of learning. These outcomes were developed by the faculty to provide undergraduates with a common experience aimed at unifying the university’s diverse student body and expanding students’ awareness of themselves and their world. Every Boise State graduate is expected to have met these ULOs, regardless of major or baccalaureate degree.

University Foundations Program ULOs by Cluster:

Intellectual Foundations

1. Writing — Write effectively in multiple contexts, for a variety of audiences.

2. Oral Communication — Communicate effectively in speech, both as speaker and listener.

3. Critical Inquiry — Engage in effective critical inquiry by defining problems, gathering and evaluating evidence, and determining the adequacy of argumentative discourse.

4. Innovation and Teamwork — Think creatively about complex problems to produce, evaluate, and implement innovative possible solutions, often as one member of a team.

Civic and Ethical Foundations

5. Ethics — Analyze ethical issues in personal, professional, and civic life and produce reasoned evaluations of competing value systems and ethical claims.

6. Diversity and Internationalization — Apply knowledge of cultural differences to matters of local, regional, national, and international importance, including political, economic, and environmental issues.

Distribution Requirements/Foundation Discipline Clusters

7. Mathematics (FM)—Apply knowledge and the methods of reasoning characteristic of mathematics, statistics, and other formal systems to solve complex problems.

8. Natural, Physical, and Applied Sciences (FN)—Apply knowledge and the methods characteristic of scientific inquiry to think critically about and solve theoretical and practical problems about physical structures and processes.

9. Arts (FA)—Apply knowledge and methods characteristic of the visual and performing arts to explain and appreciate the significance of aesthetic products and creative activities.

10. Humanities (FH)—Apply knowledge and the methods of inquiry characteristic of literature and other humanities disciplines to interpret and produce texts expressive of the human condition.

11. Social Sciences (FS)—Apply knowledge and the methods of inquiry characteristic of the social sciences to explain and evaluate human behavior and institutions.

ULOs 1–6 are the soft skills developed throughout the academic career and in multiple courses and contexts. After exposure to these Learning Outcomes in early courses, students revisit them in greater depth throughout their college experiences and academic programs.

ULOs 7–11 are associated with disciplinary course clusters that represent multiple perspectives to be encountered during a student’s academic career. Courses are aligned with the Foundation Discipline clusters that best match the learning outcomes naturally associated with that course.

Boise State’s ULOs were inspired by the AAC&U’s “LEAP” framework: http://www.aacu.org/leap/index.cfm.



University Foundations Program Requirements

Introduction to College Writing and Research (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102)

This two semester, six-credit sequence provides an introduction to the university’s expectations about academic writing and research. The program is coordinated by the English Department’s First-Year Writing Program. Students are placed in appropriate courses based on test scores.

University Foundations (UF) Courses

  • Courses with a UF (University Foundations) prefix introduce a diversity of intellectual pursuits, encourage a critical stance toward learning, and equip students with university-level analytic and communication skills.
  • Foundations of Intellectual Life (UF 100) is a three-credit course offered as a large general session in combination with a small-format discussion section (~25 student) which focus on what it means to investigate and discuss intellectual questions at the university level. Multidisciplinary sections of the course are organized around central themes listed in the course schedule for each semester. The courses support University Learning Outcomes: critical inquiry, oral communication, and teamwork/innovation.
  • Foundations of Intellectual Life (UF 100) is a three-credit course offered as a large general session in combination with a small-format discussion section (~25 student) which focus on what it means to investigate and discuss intellectual questions at the university level. Multidisciplinary sections of the course are organized around central themes listed in the course schedule for each semester. The courses support University Learning Outcomes: critical inquiry, oral communication, and teamwork/innovation.
  • Foundations of Ethics and Diversity (UF 200). This three-credit sophomore-level course engages students in topics connected to ethics, diversity and internationalization, often through experiential learning. Preview our topics online at: http://academics.boisestate.edu/fsp/students/uf-200/uf-200-themes/. We keep the classes small (around 30 students) to support active learning, meaningful discussion, and connecting the course theme to issues and activities in our larger community. Courses emphasize Writing (ULOs 1), Ethics (ULO 5) and Diversity (ULO 6). Prerequisites: ENGL 102, UF 100, and sophomore standing.

Foundations of the Discipline (FD)

All students are required to take a number of Foundations courses. Foundations courses are offered by academic departments and designed to expose non-majors to the distinctive methods and perspectives of a disciplinary cluster. The distribution requirement for Foundations courses reflects the belief of the faculty and the Idaho State Board of Education that a major purpose of undergraduate education is to prepare graduates to fulfill the responsibilities of a citizen and to understand and appreciate diverse approaches to information and values. Foundation Discipline courses are are identified with Foundations in the course description. Some departments and programs require specific Foundations courses.

Foundations of Oral Communication (FC) Courses

Students must successfully complete a Foundations of Oral Communication (FC) course designated by their major department. FC courses are offered at the 200-, 300-, or 400-level for those who have successfully completed the College First-Year Writing requirement. The courses focus on written and oral communication as practiced in the discipline and are not necessarily conducted in English. FC courses are listed in the major requirements for each program. All FC courses must be at least 2 credits and are identified by FC in the course description. ENGL 102 is a prerequisite for all FC courses.

Finishing Foundations (FF) Courses

Students must successfully complete a Finishing Foundations (FF) capstone course designated by their major department. Finishing Foundations courses range from 1-3 credits and are designated for students close to graduation; they are designed to bridge academic knowledge with applications expected by graduates. They emphasize critical thinking, written and oral communication, plus teamwork and/or innovative thinking. They are identified with FF in the course description.

By the end of the first half of their undergraduate careers, students are expected to have completed ENGL 101 and 102, UF 100 and UF 200, and most, if not all, of the Foundations requirements.



UF Placement for Transfer Students

  • UF 100 is not required if you:
    • Transfer from a U.S. regionally accredited academic institution and have earned an AAS degree. You are required to complete UF 200.
    • Transfer from a U.S. regionally accredited academic institution and are transferring in 26 credits or more earned academic credit hours from another college or university and transfer in at least three courses that were equated as Foundations courses with a C- or higher. You are required to complete UF 200.
  • UF 100 and UF 200 is not required if you:
    • Transfer from a U.S. regionally accredited academic institution and have earned an academic AA or AS degree
    • Transfer from a U.S. regionally accredit academic institution and have completed the equivalent of Idaho’s State Board of Education general-education core (but have not completed an AA or AS).

Helpful link: UF 200 course placement for transfer students form