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University Studies Program: General Education for the 21st Century


All USP courses invite students to EXPLORE. In a few of the EXPLORE courses, the exploration is so intentional and intense that we call those courses the QUEST. When students complete the QUEST, they are able to enroll in the CONNECT course.

The CONNECT course is an advanced composition course in which students will connect all three Signature Questions and their learning throughout the USP exploration while advancing their writing competency. 

While most CONNECT courses will be taught by members of the English Department, others are welcome. Consider teaching a CONNECT course! 

More information about spring 2013 professional development will be provided soon. CONNECT courses will be offered for the first time during the 2014-2015 academic year.


Many members of the UW Oshkosh teaching community will be teaching EXPLORE courses in fall 2013. A list of courses that have been approved as EXPLORE courses will be made public soon.

To have courses reviewed and approved, EXPLORE course instructors or department chairs have identified student learning outcomes, assignments, assessment and basic ePortfolio plans via the USP form.

EXPLORE instructors may be wondering:

  • How can I use the D2L ePortfolio tool to enhance student learning in my EXPLORE course?
  • What do I need to learn so that I can answer students’ questions about how my course fits into the University Studies Program?
  • My EXPLORE class has a high enrollment. How can I further integrate best-practice teaching for students exploring my discipline in the first or second year of their college education?
  • What resources are available for me and for my USP students?

Information to support instructors preparing to teach EXPLORE courses will be available in a variety of forms in spring 2013: personal visits during office hours, stop-in visits at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), web resources including brief audio and video explanations, workshops in the IDEA lab, interdisciplinary small-group dialogues, department meeting visits, large-group information sessions, USP teaching community gatherings and, of course, Q-and-A via email.

Meet the USP Council

The USP Council is comprised of members of the UW Oshkosh campus community who are supporting the early implementation of this new general education program. In the next several USP Updates, we will continue to introduce members of this collaborative team.


Jordan Landry, Faculty Coordinator, Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Signature Question

For Jordan Landry, facilitating workshops in the University Studies Program allows her to dialogue with other instructors about three of her passions: innovative teaching, community building and diverse cultures. "I am continually impressed with instructors who participate in the Quest workshops. Even as instructors enter with their own expertise, they continually pursue new knowledge in the workshops, creating an energized space of creativity and innovation. The spirited conversations that emerge speak to instructors’ commitment to student learning and to continuous improvement of their teaching. I have learned much about teaching, community and diversity in the process."

In her teaching and research, Jordan explores the relationship between protest movements and radical shifts in the shape of American stories. "I am endlessly fascinated by the ways in which women, people of color and LGBTQ people have fought in revolutionary ways for rights in America and the way in which this fight changed the very possibility of what could be represented in novels. My research engages two central questions: When diverse people gain power through public protest, what new imaginings of desire, identity and the body become possible? And how do stories change through such re-imaginings?"

In the queer and ethnic women's literature that Jordan teaches, characters in the texts quest to explore new frontiers, from new spaces to new identities to new ways of seeing. Since it is a marker of the human experience, movement also has defined Jordan's life over the last four years. "I have moved from being a hobby farmer with 17 chickens to being first a foster parent and, then, legal parent of four children (now ages 3, 4, 5, and 6) and from being an associate professor in the English Department to also being an associate dean in the COLS Dean's Office. The simultaneous move of becoming a new parent and taking on a new job along with the seemingly impossibly steep learning curves involved with each pushed me to take greater risks. The sleep deprivation involved in having babies also might have played a part."

Beyond being a new legal parent, Jordan also has recently become the chair of the Inclusive Excellence Council. "I am most moved by the dramatic culture shift that I have seen going on across this campus in the last five years. I see our campus community as committed not just in words but in action to inclusion of diverse students — International students, students of color, working-class students, LGBTQ students, first-generation college students, religiously diverse students, students with disabilities, women students and veterans, to name just a few. There is a shared emergent vision on campus that diversity benefits us all and our work to be inclusive is work done not just for diverse students but for all of us. The implementation of the USP is a culmination of our campus’ commitment to Inclusive Excellence. The program is shaped to engage all students in high-impact practices from the moment that they step foot on campus, a practice that will increase student success and persistence. It is a monumental achievement of which we can all be proud."

Need Help?
For assistance, please use the following contact information:
email: usp@uwosh.edu
website: uwosh.edu/usp

Watch for the University Studies Program Update each Tuesday of the fall 2012 semester!
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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