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Undergraduate CWLOs with Rationales

Disciplinary and/or Professional Expertise:

Students will gain mastery at a baccalaureate level in a defined body of knowledge through attainment of their program’s objectives and completion of their major.

Rationale: The major is at the core of the student’s academic experience, providing the context for intellectual development in a focused subject area. Students should be able to use their disciplinary knowledge and skills to understand their world and to participate in civil society. Mastery of the discipline at the bachelor’s level provides a base of knowledge and experience for lifelong learning and continued intellectual growth.

Creative and Critical Thinking:

Students will develop the disposition and skills to strategize, gather, organize, create, refine, analyze, and evaluate the credibility of relevant information and ideas.

Rationale: To be effective in careers and to participate meaningfully in a civil society, students need a repertoire of strategies for problem identification and solution. Integral to this effort, students must be able to knowledgably and responsibly push beyond boundaries in new and atypical combinations in order to achieve original solutions. 


Students will communicate effectively in a range of social, academic, and professional contexts using a variety of means, including written, oral, numeric/quantitative, graphic, and visual modes of communication using appropriate technologies.

Rationale: Students need communication skills in order to contribute to and engage in the intellectual, social, cultural, and economic complexities they encounter in their personal, academic, and professional lives. The ability to communicate effectively allows students to acquire new information and skills, to interact meaningfully with others, and to use their knowledge to serve the community and find personal fulfillment.


Student will recognize and understand the rich and complex ways that group and individual inequalities and interactions impact self and society.

Rationale: Students need the capacity to become engaged citizens in order to meaningfully participate in and contribute to local, national and international communities. In order to do this, students need the capacity to communicate across differences to address longstanding and persistent real-world issues/challenges related to class, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, language, race, and sexual orientation.

Ethics and Social Responsibility:

Students will develop ethical and social responsibility to others, will understand issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, will collaborate with others to address ethical and social issues in a sustainable manner, and will increase self-awareness.

Rationale: Students who have self-awareness and an ethical responsibility to others will be alumni who contribute to their community by enhancing the quality of life for all. This is consistent with Portland State’s mission which includes enhancing the intellectual, social, cultural and economic qualities of life by providing access throughout the life span.


Students will understand the richness and challenge of world cultures and the effects of globalization, and will develop the skills and attitudes to function as “global citizens.”

Rationale: Students need the ability to think broadly and participate meaningfully in communities ranging from the local to the global. No culture, and no university educated individual within a culture, can function without understanding the current level of interdependence among cultures.


Students will engage in learning that is based on reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships, and through this engagement will apply theory and skills in diverse venues, linking the conceptual to the practical.

Rationale: Engaged students are more effective learners, and have an enhanced capacity to apply their knowledge in ways that can have benefits extending from the personal to the global level. This outcome is aligned with the vision of Portland State as “an urban university known for excellence in student learning, innovative research, and community engagement.”


Students will identify, act on, and evaluate their professional and personal actions with the knowledge and appreciation of interconnections among economic, environmental, and social perspectives in order to create a more sustainable future.

Rationale: Understanding sustainability is essential to join the international discourse and work cooperatively in the closely interconnected world of the new millennium. PSU is a leader in local, regional, and global knowledge creation and practice of sustainability, and therefore has the opportunity and challenge to publicly support, inform and lead students and communities in creating a sustainable future, and can provide a place for students who have this inclination to get an education.