Shared Competencies

Syracuse University is a pre-eminent and inclusive student-focused research university, preparing engaged citizens, scholars, and leaders for participation in a changing global society. The 2015 Academic Strategic Plan translates this vision into a concrete set of achievable goals. Perhaps most importantly, it made a promise to students to provide a distinctive experience in and out of the classroom that would instill:

 the capacity to think deeply and analytically; to listen and learn from diverse life experiences, cultures, and points of view; to act with ethical and academic integrity; and to engage in ways that enrich scholarship and enhance our communities and the world (Academic Strategic Plan, p. 7).

To deliver on that promise, the Syracuse University academic community formulated a set of learning goals that all students should know, do and value as graduates of our institution. We refer to these outcomes as “shared competencies” because they transcend the academic requirements of specific schools, colleges and programs. The shared competencies will promote the development of critical knowledge and skills that inform students’ academic, personal and professional success.

The shared competencies enhance undergraduate learning in several related ways. First, the competencies represent a framework for faculty and students to plan and articulate their learning at Syracuse University. Second, faculty will assess student work in each competency to improve student learning. Finally, the competency framework will guide optional co-curricular learning activities. The long-term goal is for undergraduate students, regardless of major, to acquire and demonstrate the essential skills and knowledge of a distinctive Syracuse University education.

On December 12, 2018, the University Senate approved six shared competencies and corresponding framing language that will guide the undergraduate student learning experience in all University academic programs, beginning with a pilot assessment in fall 2019.




Framing Language

Ethics, Integrity, and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Reflection on the dynamic relationships among power, inequality, identities, and social structures. Thoughtful engagement with one’s values, intersectional identities, experiences, and diverse perspectives and people. Application of ethical and inclusive decision-making in the context of personal, academic, professional, and collaborative pursuits.
Critical and Creative Thinking Exploration and synthesis of ideas, artifacts, issues, and events to inform and evaluate arguments, develop new insights, and produce creative work. Reflection on, and application of divergent modes of inquiry, analysis, and innovation to research, knowledge, and artistic creation.
Scientific Inquiry and Research Skills Application of scientific inquiry and problem solving in various contexts. Analysis of theories, replication of procedures, and rethinking existing frameworks. Supporting arguments through research, data, and quantitative and qualitative evidence that can generate new knowledge.
Civic and Global Responsibility Knowledge, exploration, and analysis of the complexity surrounding interdependent local, national, and global affairs. Engagement in responsible, collaborative, and inclusive civic and cross-cultural learning, with an emphasis on public, global, and historical issues.
Communication Skills Effective individual, interpersonal, and collaborative presentation and development of ideas through oral, written, and other forms of expression to inform, persuade, or inspire.
Information Literacy and Technological Agility Identification, collection, evaluation, and responsible use of information. Effective, ethical, and critical application of various technologies and media in academic, creative, personal, and professional endeavors.