Competencies at Wesleyan

Flexible Framework for Considering Competencies

While at Wesleyan, students engage in the deep study of an academic field once they have declared a major, and they develop academic breadth through their general education coursework. In addition, they will also build broad, interdisciplinary skills through all of their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. Wesleyan has developed a flexible framework built on four competencies to allow students to engage voluntarily in a process of reflection(both in conjunction with advisors and on their own).

The four competencies:
    • Mapping = navigating complex environments (NCE)
    • Expressing = writing, expressing, communicating (WEC)
    • Mining = quantitative analysis and interpretation (QAI)
    • Engaging = negotiating intercultural differences (NID)

Mapping = Navigating Complex Environments (NCE)

Mapping is defined as the ability to examine the relationship of objects and spaces in the material and imagined worlds. It involves developing tools to create, manipulate, and navigate constructed and natural environments and charting movement through and interactions with space and its consequences.

Mapping courses may include courses across the curriculum, from the arts (e.g., dance, studio art, and art history), to the natural sciences and mathematics, as well as courses from interdisciplinary programs. Example skills include typography, computation, material science, modeling, and mapping.

Expressing = Writing, Expressing, Communicating (WEC)

Expressing is defined as the ability to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions to others effectively and concisely through a variety of media.

Expressing courses are principally but not solely in the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. These courses assign written, verbal, and creative projects, and performances that help students develop their ability to express thoughts and ideas to others. 

Mining = Quantitative Analysis and Intepretation (QAI)

Mining is defined as the ability to use numerical ideas and methods to describe and analyze quantifiable phenomena. It involves learning about the measurement, analysis, summary, and presentation of information, including about the natural world, as well as answering questions, solving problems, making predictions, and testing and constructing theories by employing mathematical, statistical, logical, and scientific reasoning.

Mining courses are principally but not solely in mathematics, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.

Engaging = Negotiating Intercultural Differences (NID)

Engaging is defined as the ability to comprehend and respect diverse cultural heritages and perspectives in relation to their wider historical and social contexts. It involves reading, speaking, or understanding a second or third language (contemporary or classical); gaining experience working, studying, or traveling abroad or in other unfamiliar cultural contexts; and participating in the political and social life of local and global communities.

Engaging courses may include courses across the curriculum, from language, literature, and culture courses, to courses in history, science in society, religion, government, and philosophy, among other areas.


The Competency Framework in relation to General Education Expectations:

The competency framework differs from the General Education Expectations in several ways. The Gen Ed expectations help illustrate pathways through Wesleyan’s open curriculum. Further, students are asked to reflect on the ways the expectations illustrate liberal arts learning. Admission to some majors, and to some departmental honors’ programs, depends on compliance with the expectations. Assessing competencies, on the other hand, has no bearing on admission to majors or honors. Rather, they offer a mechanism for students to identify and describe capabilities that they have gained on their journey through the open curriculum. Students are encouraged to reflect on both the competencies and the expectations. The narrative that can issue from this process may be of great help to the students in understanding, and explaining to others outside of the University, the paths they have charted through the curriculum.