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About UK Core

The University of Kentucky’s general education program – the UK Core – is foundational to a university education at the University of Kentucky. A university education is more than simply learning a set of skills in a specific area in preparation for a job or career. A university education is designed to broaden the students’ understanding of themselves, of the world we live in, of their role in our global society, and of the ideals and aspirations that have motivated human thought and action throughout the ages. It must help individuals effectively put into action their acquired knowledge, to provide the bases for critical thinking and problem solving, and to develop life-long learning habits. The UK Core is composed of the equivalent of 30 credit hours in 10 course areas that address four broad learning outcomes. Depending on choice of major or courses, some students may take more than 30 credit hours to complete the UK Core.



The Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness facilitates UK Core assessment by:

  • Attending Senate UK Core Education Committee (UKCEC) meetings
  • Assisting in the creation of all program-wide assessment rubrics
  • Providing technical assistance with the chosen assessment system
  • Leading the annual assessment activities each semester
  • Providing data to the Senate UKCEC and other internal and external constituents

Assessment Cycle

UK Core Assessment Cycle

UK Core Assessment Process


Course instructors identify assignments for assessment and map them to UK Core student learning outcomes in the Canvas Learning Management System. Instructors may provide a single assignment or multiple assignments that collectively address all of the learning outcomes. See Resources for UK Core mapping instructions.

Artifact Collection

OSPIE pulls student work (artifacts) from Canvas and provides a random sample of artifacts for evaluators. Artifacts are extracted and scored twice, annually, for the Core areas scheduled for assessment based on the cycle.


Working with the Senate UKCEC and appropriate area experts, OSPIE identifies individuals to undertake assessment, provide an orientation for those individuals, and facilitate the assessment process. Evaluators are selected based on their familiarity with the UK Core area being assessed as well as their experience in teaching UK Core courses. Effort is made to recruit evaluators that reflect the colleges and types of individuals responsible for teaching Core courses in each area being assessed.


OSPIE analyzes the data from the assessment and shares an aggregate report including all data with the Senate UKCEC. In addition, OSPIE prepares department-level reports with course-level data. These are shared as appropriate with department chairs, school directors, and associate deans where UK Core courses are offered by academic units.


Department chairs and Directors of Undergraduate Studies receive a request from the Senate UKCEC to complete a brief report on changes made to their Core courses in response to the departmental assessment reports they received. These reports, as well as an overall summary report on the course and departmental changes, are provided by OSPIE to the Senate UKCEC for review and action. The Senate UKCEC makes appropriate recommendations for UK Core improvements to the Undergraduate Council and Senate Council for consideration.

Revised UK Core Assessment Plan

The UK Core Assessment Process is outlined in more detail in the revised UK Core Assessment Plan.