Below is a listing of frequently asked questions related to the Dearborn Discovery Core. 

Are there benefits to teaching Dearborn Discovery Core courses?

The easily understood and apparent benefit for faculty concerns enrollments. All students who graduate from the University of Michigan-Dearborn must satisfy the Dearborn Discovery Core requirements. If a student is in a 120 credit hour program, over forty percent of her/his courses are likely coming from the Dearborn Discovery Core.

The pedagogical benefits are compelling as well. If teaching a course in the Dearborn Discovery Core, faculty members have the opportunity to engage students from all parts of campus, thus reaching individuals who might not otherwise experience the readings and skill sets from disciplines outside their chosen degree program. The Dearborn Discovery Core also gives faculty the ability to participate in an integrative learning enterprise. Dearborn Discovery Core faculty members are primarily responsible for ensuring that the undergraduate values with which we aspire our students to leave campus with are provided in an exciting way. 

What is the process for submitting a new course to be part of the Dearborn Discovery Core?

Learn more about the application process for the Dearborn Discovery Core.

What should faculty do if they are experiencing technical problems with the PDF application form(s)?

For the best user experience, it is recommended that faculty use Adobe Reader to complete the application forms. That means the application form should be saved onto your computer before using in order to preserve one's work.

Faculty are encouraged to download and install the latest version of Adobe Reader onto their computer (Link here: Return to the application form webpage, right-click on a form link, then choose "Save Link As". Please note the folder where the file is saved. Locate the file on your computer and open it in Adobe Reader. Adobe also offers a Reader for your tablet and mobile device.

Some faculty may experience problems with opening the form in certain web browsers. It is suggested trying another browser first before contacting the ITS Help Desk. 

Can a course count for more than one category of the Dearborn Discovery Core?

Beginning in 2021, a faculty member can apply to have a course count for up to two DDC categories. The faculty member must submit a separate application for each category.

Incoming students in Fall 2021 can have a course count for up to two categories in their DDC requirements plus a major/minor requirement. (This is a change from three categories in prior DDC.) 

For the Social & Behavioral Analysis category, students are allowed to take a maximum of two out three courses from the same discipline.


Is there an assessment component to the Dearborn Discovery Core?

Yes, ongoing assessment is a valuable process for determining whether the Dearborn Discovery Core is meeting its undergraduate learning goals. The Assessment Subcommittee of the University Curriculum and Degree Committee currently coordinates the emerging Dearborn Discovery Core assessment program. Discipline and program heads are responsible for providing information regarding general education courses.

The Dearborn Discovery Core includes a three-year review and reporting cycle (excluding summers) for all of its general education courses. For more information about the Dearborn Discovery Core assessment program visit this webpage.

What should an optimal response to the learning outcomes on a Dearborn Discovery Core application form include?

The faculty member should explain in concise yet fairly specific terms how the course addresses each learning outcome in the DDC category.  A course must address all of the learning outcomes in a particular category. In addition, the response should indicate how students will demonstrate they have learned that outcome by providing specific examples of assessment (e.g. paper, exam, or other assignment).  Be specific about how students' achievement of each DDC learning outcome will be measured. 

Suggestion: if you think that multiple assignments and exams in your course address a particular learning outcome, select only one or two of them to feature in the response on the application. For example, you might select the midterm exam for learning outcome one, the research paper for learning outcomes two and three, and the final exam for learning outcome four.  Choose an assignment that is especially aligned with a learning outcome.  Doing so will make it easier for you when it comes time to conduct assessment reporting for the Dearborn Discovery Core. 

Should I attach anything besides a syllabus to my application?

Unless the course syllabus specifically lays out guidelines for the assignments that are referenced in the application, it is recommended that faculty members also attach copies of specific assignment instructions and even sample exams or specific exam questions that show how students will be demonstrating learning of the outcomes for that Dearborn Discovery Core category.   Inclusion of assignment or exam descriptions and handouts will help the committee understand the tasks described in the syllabus and the work students are asked to do.

My course is offered by several different instructors. Do we all have to use the same assignments and exam questions for a Dearborn Discovery Core assessment, and do we all have to send our syllabi with the application?

Consistency across different sections of a course is required insofar as all instructors of a course should be addressing the Dearborn Discovery Core category's learning outcomes in a robust way.  If a student takes any section of the course, s/he should have the same opportunity to learn and demonstrate the set of learning outcomes for that category.

Consistency, however, does not necessarily mean uniformity. Multiple instructors of one course can use different methods and assessments to teach and measure students' mastery of the learning outcomes. The application can be written in such a way as to encompass a variety of instructors' approaches. For example, for Social and Behavioral Analysis learning outcome one, some HIST 112 instructors use the midterm essay exam while other instructors of the course use paper assignments for assessment of that outcome.

Only one sample syllabus is required to be sent with the application.

Can I include a group work assignment for assessment of a Dearborn Discovery Core learning outcome?

Yes, you may include a group work assignment, but for Dearborn Discovery Core assessment you need to be able to clearly identify individual student mastery of a given learning outcome. Thus, you will need to include an individual student assessment component in the group assignment.

Are there additional stipulations for any of the DDC categories?

Yes, there are stipulations for the Upper-Level Writing Intensive Course and Capstone Experience categories.

Courses eligible for the Upper Level Writing Intensive category should have at least 50% of the graded work consist of writing assignments. Of those writing assignments, at least one assignment should require students to employ a writing process that includes revision (for example, drafts are peer reviewed and/or read and critiqued by instructor) with the expectation of producing a substantial, polished piece of writing.  The DDC committee recommends these best practices for faculty teaching Writing Intensive courses.

To be eligible for the Capstone Experience category, a course should be a culminating experience in the students' curriculum. This may mean that the course has a prerequisite of a lower-level course in the discipline (or in a related discipline), the course is restricted to students with junior or senior level standing, or the course in some way requires students to use knowledge and the skills that they have learned previously in that discipline's curriculum. Capstone courses may include a course, independent study, internship or other kinds of experiential learning in which students complete a serious intellectual project -- worth at least 25 percent of the course grade -- consistent with practices in their own discipline.

Can a Dearborn Discovery Core course have prerequisites?

Yes, Dearborn Discovery Core courses can have prerequisites. Upper-level courses that require students to have taken prior courses in a discipline can be eligible for Dearborn Discovery Core.

I am considering a course for many categories, or several similar courses that I would like to be considered for a single category. May I re-use answers to prior applications?

Please be aware that each course is examined under the merits given by the associated application. As such, refrain from copying and pasting answers from applications from other courses unless the supplemental material clearly indicates how the learning outcomes are achieved or sufficient changes are made to make the response course-specific.

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