The Shared Competencies are six Universitywide learning goals for undergraduate students to accomplish while at Syracuse University. The Shared Competencies are:
- Ethics, Integrity, and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Scientific Inquiry and Research Skills
- Civic and Global Responsibility
- Communication Skills
- Information Literacy and Technological Agility
These Competencies can be found in a range of places on campus, including the course catalog, MySlice, schedule builder and ‘Cuse Activities. By integrating these learning goals throughout campus experiences, students are able to develop skills that prepare them for post-graduate opportunities. These transferable skills can be used to enrich student learning experiences and to enhance co-curricular learning opportunities.
When speaking with leaders of registered student organizations (RSOs), many of them saw benefits to the recently introduced event-tagging feature on ‘Cuse Activities. Heather Johnson, vice president of University Union, says, “I just learned about this feature and it is cool to see how we can impact students in different ways. So much goes into planning these events and they are so much more than what they seem, it really made me think about what students take away from our events.”
Classes are also tagged with the Shared Competencies, allowing students to see which transferable skill they are gaining from their courses as they register for them. Each competency follows a rubric that outlines knowledge and skills you will gain.
Professor Aileen Gallagher, chair of the Magazine, News and Digital Journalism department in Newhouse, currently serves as a co-chair of the community of practice for the Communication Skills Shared Competency. When speaking with her on the development of the Communication Skills rubric, she highlights collaborating with professors across campus. “We were looking at how people communicate in professional contexts. And so it was sort of like, ‘What do we really want students to be able to do?’” She continues on to highlight a key question in creating the rubric, “What do you need to know to be able to communicate effectively as a human in the world?”
When asking Professor Gallagher about how cognizant students are of these learning models, she believes it is up to instructors to make students aware of how these learning goals fit into the curriculum. “What I think is really important for all instructors to do is frame their courses for their students. So instructors have a really good sense of where what they do fits into places, and students don’t always have that sense.”
The Shared Competencies are showing up in varying areas on campus and are meant to enhance the undergraduate experience. Learn more about them by visiting the Shared Competencies webpage.
Written By Naimah Rahman ’25, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications