General Education Review Policy

General Education Review Policy




VP for Academic Affairs





Effective Date:


Implementation History:

February 21, 2023, September 1, 2019.


General Education

Background Information:

SUNY Empire began a gradual implementation of General Education requirements on 1 September 2000. The university made this decision following passage of a SUNY policy that required campuses to incorporate such requirements into their curricula. Each campus was allowed some leeway in interpreting general education requirements. Currently, SUNY Empire associate and bachelor’s degree candidates must meet the mathematics and basic communications components and five additional components of their choice for a total of no less than 30 credits in their degree program of the ten general education requirements. See link to Guidelines for the Approval of State University General Education Requirement Courses below. The 2022 revision to this Policy is in response to the new SUNY policy on General Education that will go into effect in September 2023.



The purpose of this policy is to provide procedures for the submission, review, and approval of general education courses for the SUNY Empire course catalog. The policy also contains provisions for constituting review committees, steps for appealing a committee's decision, and the role of evaluators and committees for academic review in determining the general education designation of a prior learning request.

Process and procedures for the review and approval of general education courses require cooperation and trust. A review and approval process should be a structured dialogue that nourishes honest and fair communication across the university.

The university supports and remains open to innovative and creative approaches to meeting general education requirements while ensuring that students are being offered an academically rigorous program of study.



When faculty create courses that have been approved by a curriculum committee and wish to have the course meet general education requirements, they submit a proposal to a General Education Evaluation Committee (GEEC). Department Chairs form GEECs to review proposals for fidelity to general education requirements. The Department Chair(s) responsible for constituting each GEEC are:

General Education Area Department Chair(s)
Communication- Written & Oral Literature, Communication, & Cultural Studies
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Social Justice Literature, Communication, & Cultural Studies; Social Science & Public Affairs; and Arts & Media
Mathematics Mathematics
Natural Sciences Natural Sciences
Humanities Literature, Communication, & Cultural Studies
Social Science Social Science & Public Affairs
The Arts Arts & Media
US History & Civic Engagement History
World History & Global Awareness History and Social Science & Public Affairs
Foreign World Languages Literature, Communication, & Cultural Studies


OAA is responsible for issuing a call for volunteers to serve on GEECs, maintaining a roster of faculty eligible to serve on a GEEC, and for publishing a timeline of necessary approvals for inclusion in the next year’s university catalog. 

The GEEC’s only responsibility is to ensure that the course fulfills the SUNY general education requirements. Academic quality is the responsibility of the Chair and the Department. Each GEEC should have three to five members, except for DEISJ which may have up to seven. Faculty who have taught in the general education subject area, regardless of department affiliation(s), are eligible to serve on a GEEC, and GEECs should be multi-disciplinary as appropriate. Department Chairs shall not serve on GEECs. Faculty submitting courses to a GEEC for review must include the course description and the full set of learning outcomes for the course, and if seeking general education status in two Knowledge Areas for a single course, must submit it to both GEECs. A single course cannot meet more than two General Education areas. SUNY General Education learning outcomes must comply with SUNY policy on these learning outcomes. Partial general education designations are not permitted. SUNY policy requires that a course that partially meets a general education requirement identify any remaining components to complete that general education area and SUNY Empire courses in the university catalog do not meet this standard. 

Once the GEEC agrees that a course fulfills the general education requirements the course author and their Chair will be informed, and the course document is sent to the Registrar’s Office for entry into the university catalog. In the instance that a GEEC does not agree that a proposed course fulfills the general education requirement, the course is returned to its author with an explicit written explanation of the way(s) it does not address the requirements. The author may revise and resubmit or may appeal, and any resubmission shall go through the curriculum procedures of the Department/School.  The course author, in conjunction with their Department/School and GEEC, should attempt to reach agreement through a dialog about changes and edits before an appeal is issued.

Appeals of General Education Evaluation Committee Decisions

The Department Chair Council or sub-group of the Council will hear appeals from the author within 30 calendar days of receiving the written appeal and provide a written explanation of its decision. It shall weigh evidence from the GEEC and the course author and make a decision on whether or not the GEEC appropriately reviewed the proposal and the decision was sound. They will provide a written explanation of their decision to either uphold the GEECs decision or send it back to the GEEC to re-review the course. The Council or sub-group will notify the course author and their department chair, and the original GEEC of their decision. This decision is final.

Revisions to General Education Courses

Any substantial revision to a course description or learning outcomes requires re-submission to the appropriate GEEC for approval. 

Individualized Prior Learning (iPLA) 

IPLA evaluators may designate one or two general education areas according to their assessment of student learning. The evaluator’s credit recommendation must include a description of how the student’s learning addresses the learning outcomes for the General Education area(s). The evaluator assessment is subject to faculty review and approval in the academic review process.

Totally Individualized Studies (TISs)

General Education may not be met through courses that are TISs. 


Applicable Legislation and Regulations

"Guidelines for the Approval of State University General Education Requirements," Office of Academic Affairs and the Provost, State University of New York:

State University General Education Requirement (SUNV-GER)

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices