Return to the Fayetteville State University Home Page

University College

FSU HomeUniversity CollegeCore CurriculumCore Learning OutcomesEssential Skills

Essential Skills

Essential Skills provide the foundations of communication, reasoning, and inquiry needed for success in every human endeavor.

Communication Skills (6 cr):

Learning Outcome: Students will comprehend, analyze, and evaluate the effectiveness of various forms of written and spoken communication, and they will assemble original written and spoken communications that display appropriate organization, clarity, and documentation for a given purpose and audience.

Rationale: Writing and speaking are generally done for others, so communication requires both a communicator and an audience, and involves listening and speaking, reading and writing. These are the means for transmitting information and sharing knowledge. In particular, recognizing the importance of, and developing the skills necessary to, building and maintaining communication relationships is an important aspect of learning and leading. Being a skillful communicator is necessary to being useful to the communities to which one belongs.


  • Oral Communication (3 cr). SPEE 200 or BADM 215
  • Written Communication (3 cr).  ENGL 110, English Composition I

Reasoning Skills - Critical Thinking (3 cr):

Learning Outcome: Students will accurately evaluate the reasonableness of arguments by determining whether their supporting reasons are true and properly related to the conclusion, and they will construct reasonable arguments using various forms of evidence drawn from multiple sources, distinguishing reliable from unreliable information.

Rationale: The development of critical thinking competencies supports students' acquisition of analytical and evaluative skills essential for inquiry, deliberation, and decision-making in academic and non-academic settings. As students develop their critical thinking skills, they develop more concern about rational standards. They learn to think for themselves, and this helps free them from unwarranted beliefs and bad habits of thought. By developing their critical thinking skills, they become more reasonable and more ready to fulfill responsible roles in society and live fulfilling, successful lives. Effective critical thinking skills and the habits of mind associated with these skills are essential for life-long learning and reasonable, responsible citizenship in global communities.

Requirement (3 cr)*: Select one of the following:

  • PHIL 110, Critical Thinking
  • PHIL 220, Introduction to Logic

Reasoning Skills - Quantitative Reasoning (3-4 cr):

Learning Outcome: Students will apply math to situations common in everyday living. They will calculate, interpret, and assess statistical data and concepts, percentages, proportions, rates of change, geometric measures, linear equations, probability and risk.

Rationale: The development of quantitative literacy competencies supports students' acquisition of the skills essential for inquiry, deliberation, and decision-making in academic and non-academic settings. Mastery of quantitative reasoning skills enables students to employ the methods of inquiry utilized by a variety of different academic disciplines. Quantitative literacy is essential for successful living, life-long learning, and responsible citizenship in global communities.

Requirement*: Select one of the following:

  • MATH 123, College Algebra
  • MATH 126, Quantitative Reasoning
  • MATH 129, Precalculus Mathematics I
  • MATH 130, Precalculus Mathematics II
  • MATH 131, Algebra and Trigonometry
  • MATH 140, Applied Calculus
  • POLI 240, Intro to Political Statistics
  • PSYC 233, Statistics for Psychology
  • STAT 202, Basic Probability and Statistics

Information Literacy (3 cr)

Learning Outcome: Students will formulate effective questions based on a need; organize, sort, evaluate, and retrieve academic information to address the need; cite sources appropriately for their context.

Rationale: The proliferation of information and information tools in academia, the workforce, and the broader community requires students to have appropriate inquiry skills to solve problems using the best information available. Students use inquiry skills to contribute positively to the academic learning community and to practice ethical behaviors relative to information, information technology and the creation process. Effective use of Inquiry skills on a continuous basis is essential for lifelong learning and responsible world citizenship. As part of the accreditation requirements, students are expected to demonstrate sufficient level of inquiry skills.

Requirement*: ENGL 120, English Composition II

*Courses listed are subject to change. The official list of requirements will be contained in the 2013-2014 FSU Undergraduate Catalog.

A Constituent Institution of The University of North Carolina