The Elon Commitment, the strategic plan of Elon University, calls for the development of "the nation's finest general education program," envisioning that it become "a national beacon for excellence and innovation in undergraduate education." These are not intended as statements of hubris, but rather as a recognition of the importance of general education for all students and the unique strengths of Elon's engaged learning model. Elon's core curriculum is held to the highest standards of excellence, quality, and accountability. Several measures of program success are included below.
Elon's core curriculum brings together all ten nationally recognized “high-impact educational practices” (AAC&U) into an engaging, integrated program of study: first-year seminars and experiences, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, diversity and global learning, service learning and community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses. The high-impact practices are structurally embedded within the program for every undergraduate; they are not just special opportunities for some students.
Elon University is the only institution recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being among the nation's best in 7 of 8 rankings of key programs that enrich the college experience. These "student success" categories, corresponding with the high-impact practices mentioned above, all live partly within or interface with Elon's core curriculum.
A Focus on Writing:
Every student takes at least three writing-intensive courses within the core curriculum - ENG 110, GST 110, and an interdisciplinary capstone seminar - in addition to many other courses in which high-quality writing is developed and expected. Writing within the core curriculum is enhanced through the work of College Writing Program, the Writing Excellence Initiative, and the Writing Center.
Student learning is directly assessed within each category of Elon's core curriculum on a regular schedule based on the program's learning goals. Learning and program quality are also indirectly assessed using institutional surveys, student panels, targeted surveys, and exit interviews. This program of assessment leads to continuous improvement and innovation within each part of the program.
Elon is ranked first for the quality of undergraduate teaching among southern regional universities (U.S. News). Faculty from every undergraduate department participate in Elon's core curriculum by teaching GST 110 and interdisciplinary capstone seminars. The vast majority are permanent, full-time faculty, including many of the best teacher-scholars on campus. More than 120 professors teach courses with a GST prefix each year.
Curricular Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness:
Program efficiency is important for controlling the costs to families, and for allowing reinvestment into program quality. GST courses at Elon typically run at >90% capacity. Capstone seminars are offered every term, including summer and winter terms, to allow students to graduate on schedule.