Students hanging out in New Hall quad


Undergraduate Institutional Learning Outcomes

NDNU has developed learning outcomes at three levels:

  • Institutional level
  • General Education (undergraduate)
  • Program level

Institutional and General Education outcomes are described in this section while program level learning outcomes are given with the program descriptions later in the Catalog.

NDNU Institutional Learning Outcomes

Across all undergraduate programs, NDNU strives to produce graduates with a common core of skills and abilities. These institutional learning outcomes are listed below.

Written Communication

Upon graduation from NDNU, students will be able to:

  • Plan and generate a cogent, clear and compelling writing project whose organizational structure and fluency contribute throughout to its purpose
  • Create an analytically complex, insightful and creative writing project that fully explores the complexities of the issues involved
  • Use full, credible, appropriate and convincing evidence in support of a writing project’s contentions and assertions
  • Employ language that is clear and precise, that enhances the written project’s purpose and whose tone and style are appropriate to the intended audience
  • Generate prose that is relatively free of mechanical errors and uses format and documentation style appropriate to the discipline
Quantitative Reasoning

Upon graduation from NDNU, students will be able to:

  • Translate written phrases and real-life situations into fractions, decimals, percents, algebraic expressions, simple equations, inequalities, diagrams, graphs, charts, geometric representations or other mathematical models, as appropriate.  (Representation)
  • Accurately use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric, and statistical methods and appropriate technology to analyze and solve practical problems. (Calculation/Reasoning)
  • Reason precisely and logically with mathematical ideas. Understand and use abstract concepts and reasoning. (Calculation/Reasoning)
  • Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, algorithms, graphs, tables, and schematics and draw inferences and construct deductive arguments from them. (Interpretation/Communication)
  • Organize and communicate mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally. (Interpretation/Communication)
  • Analyze and discuss the underlying assumptions and limitations of simple mathematical statements and models. (Assumptions)
  • Critique the assumptions of a completed study or appropriately state the assumptions of a proposed study based on estimation, data analysis, and modeling. (Assumptions)
  • Make judgments about and draw appropriate conclusions from a study based on quantitative analysis of data, modeling, or estimation. (Application/Analysis)
Oral Communication

Upon graduation from NDNU, students will be able to:

  • Choose and narrow oral presentation topics appropriately for audience and occasion, keeping in mind the time and place allotted for the presentation
  • Organize an oral presentation with an attention-catching opening, a clearly communicated thesis and purpose, main points that are well developed and supported, vivid and moving examples and details, a logical progression within and between ideas and a conclusion that solidly reinforces the main points
  • Use language that is accurate and appropriate to the audience, occasion and purpose with clear articulation and correct grammar and pronunciation
  • Use vocal variety in rate, pitch and intensity to heighten and maintain interest with a minimum of vocalized pauses (―ums and ―uhs)
  • Maintain eye contact, use physical presence and gestures that support the verbal message and communicate engagement with the audience through confidence, sincerity and enthusiasm for the topic
  • Use notes effectively, keeping reading to a minimum
  • Use a range of visual and/or technological aids, when and if necessary, that are appropriate to the audience, occasion and purpose
Critical Thinking

Upon graduation from NDNU, students will be able to:

  • Pose vital questions and identify problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • Gather relevant information and interpret it effectively
  • Consider alternative systems of thought impartially, recognizing and assessing assumptions, implications and practical consequences
  • Develop well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, checking them against relevant criteria and standards
  • Communicate effectively with others in determining solutions to complex problems
Mission, Values, and Engagement

NDNU students

  • Understand the Mission of the University and recognize how it is embedded in the course work and throughout the institution
  • Are afforded multiple opportunities, feel invited to engage in the Mission and Core Values of the University and recognize how they encourage personal and social growth
  • Examine, develop and express their own values inside and outside of the classroom and recognize ethical implications of course content and their personal choices
  • Engage in and absorb diverse perspectives and appreciate and value human diversity
  • Enjoy a full college experience and engage in and are edified by a variety of outside-of-the-classroom experiences, including clubs, student government, sports, community-based learning, cultural events and recreational activities
  • Develop the tools, habits and intellectual curiosity to become lifelong learners

General Education Learning Outcomes

The General Education program is designed to introduce all students to the Core Values of Notre Dame de Namur University and to how these values are linked to the educational pursuit. These values include development of the whole person, working in a collaborative community and promotion of social justice.

The General Education Learning Outcomes (and similarly the General Education Requirements) are divided into:

  • Foundations: Outcomes that encompass experiences shared by all students
  • Thematic Curriculum: Outcomes that provide students with a broader understanding of diverse disciplines while further strengthening such competencies as written and oral communication, critical thinking and community-based learning first introduced in the foundation courses.


Freshman Year Seminar

The Freshman Year Seminar is an interdisciplinary course that introduces traditional-aged students to the Mission of the University and its Core Values and competencies. Students explore their identities as members of local, national, and global multicultural communities through critical reflection and experiential learning activities. Readings are selected to challenge students' intellectual visions and interests. Reflection and written and oral communication skills are emphasized. Leadership and collaboration skills are developed while enrichment activities correlate residence hall and other campus events with the academic program. The undergraduate academic portfolio is implemented to document students' continuing development of core competencies and values.

Lower-Division Writing

Through the Lower-Division Writing Requirement, students strengthen their skills in expository prose writing and critical thinking as they analyze fictional narratives and other types of writing, review the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics, study basic rhetorical strategies and practice research and documentation methodologies.

World History

Action in our contemporary world requires, more than ever before, a truly global perspective. World history classes introduce students to the genesis and development of our increasingly globalized world. Courses in history are designed to introduce students to the major persons, ideas, and movements that have shaped the modern Western world. Students will grow in their understanding of the context and development of ideas and institutions and in their critical awareness of the sources and interpretation of historical knowledge. It is hoped that this requirement will contribute to an appreciation for the interconnectedness of peoples and cultures over time as well as of the interdependency of modern nations.


Students gain an appreciation for the usefulness of mathematics in their everyday lives and careers and expand their sense of the place of mathematics in society. They develop and broaden their ability to:

  • Translate simple questions about how the world works into mathematical language
  • Reason with mathematical ideas
  • Translate the mathematical conclusions back into the situation that is being studied and draw conclusions appropriate to that situation
Modern Language

Courses in a modern language develop communication skills in a language other than English and emphasize listening, reading, speaking and writing. The language is studied as an essential component of a distinct cultural heritage so that students become familiar with the history, customs, and artistic expressions of the areas of the world where that language is spoken. Advanced courses develop skills for specific purposes such as business and community service.

Culture and Language (for BS students only)

Courses in this requirement provide a basic knowledge and understanding of the heritage of non-English speaking cultures, including their historical evolution, institutions, peoples, customs, current sociopolitical conditions, literature, art and music. Students become acquainted with the language of the heritage area studied, including core concepts specific to social interactions and survival-level vocabulary and grammar.

Upper-Division Writing Requirement

This requirement is designed to assure that students demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly in writing at a level that meets the University's standard.

Thematic Curriculum

Social and Personal Responsibility

Students will explore the varied experiences that have shaped human culture and use that understanding to make informed, objective and ethical decisions. Students will investigate their own and other value systems and apply them in practical ways to address world problems with creativity, intention and compassion. They will understand their responsibility to advocate in their communities and profession in service of the common good.

The Individual, Society, and the Environment

In order to contribute to a more equitable, ethical and just society, students will gain a deep comprehension of the biological, psychological, social and environmental forces that shape our lives as humans as members of the global community and as a species interconnected and interrelated with all other forms of life. By developing analytical skills and interdisciplinary perspectives from the behavioral, social, natural and physical sciences, the student will understand and appreciate the factors that have influenced our history and evolution, our place in the world today and ways we may manage our entry into the future.

Creative Arts

Students will understand the practice, interpretation and analysis of the arts by experiencing the creative process in various media, literature, history, aesthetics and criticism. Through the arts, students develop skills for observation, personal expression and response to culture, social justice and the environment around them.

Community Engagement and Cultural Diversity
Community Engagement (CE)

Courses designated as Community Engagement (CE) courses engage faculty, students, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration.  These interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being/public good, and enrich the scholarship of the institution.

Cultural Diversity (CDiv)

Courses designated as CDiv are those courses that are fundamentally concerned with exploring the contemporary or historical experiences of underrepresented or marginalized peoples. Students are exposed to world cultures whose origins lie outside the Western tradition such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Courses that treat the experience of ethnic minority populations in the United States, as well as topical courses on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, contemporary poverty, and minority religions, may also be granted the CDiv designation.