Skip to content
  • Print

Undergraduate Core Competencies

What are the Core Competencies and how are they used?
The core competencies describe what students in any undergraduate major at the University of the Pacific will be expected to be able to demonstrate, on demand, by the time they graduate. The competencies directly reflect the integrated knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students will need for sustained success and responsible leadership in today's rapidly changing world. The faculty have articulated how the core competencies are teachable, assessable, and integrally connected to the curriculum.

Faculty explicitly highlight and teach for these competencies in their courses, and they collaborate with others to intentionally connect the core competencies to what the students learn in their experiential learning opportunities. Pacific staff, likewise, intentionally reinforce the competencies throughout the students' co-curriculum experiences to further ensure that students are able to transfer the core competencies to diverse settings beyond the classroom. The core competencies, along with the General Education outcomes and more specific program learning outcomes that are defined by the student's particular major, are central to how and what students learn at Pacific. The core competencies are also standards to which we, as a community of educators and students, hold ourselves collectively accountable in our teaching, learning, and assessment so that each student's undergraduate educational achievements will transfer to their continued success after graduation. The following are Pacific's university-wide undergraduate core competencies adopted in 2016:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Oral Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Written Communication

Critical Thinking - Critical thinking is a purposeful and self-regulated evaluative process that engages cognitive, affective, and ethical tools intended to interrogate, to understand and to respond to complex ideas or situations.  (click here to see the Critical Thinking rubric)

Information Literacy - Students will be able to recognize when there is a need for information, identify and locate information, evaluate information, effectively and responsibly use information, and communicate that information for a variety of purposes.

Oral Communication - The speaker makes strategic rhetorical choices to engage the listener's attention and advance shared understanding.  (click here to see the Oral Communication rubric)

Quantitative Reasoning - Students will be able to interpret, analyze, and represent graphical and numerical information to make and to justify decisions in everyday, civic, and occupational contexts.

Written Communication - Upon graduation, students will be able to "make strategic stylistic choices to engage a reader's attention and advance shared understanding."  (click here to see the Written Communication rubric)

The University Assessment Committee (UAC) is charged with developing and coordinating university-wide assessment plans for the core competencies and with fostering a culture of assessment at the university. 

Here is a link to the Core Competencies SharePoint site, which contains information on the Core Competencies including further definitions of the Core Competencies and infographics on assessment data.