About Undergraduate Learning Goals at Michigan State University

In 2009 Michigan State University academic governance approved a set of institutional learning goals: the Undergraduate Learning Goals. Since that time the University Committee on Liberal Learning (UCLL), collaborating with the Office of the Provost for Undergraduate Education, has been leading efforts to institutionalize the goals. In Spring 2012, the UCLL led a group of approximately 80 faculty, librarians, advisors, residential education staff, and undergraduate and graduate students in the development of rubrics to direct assessment and guide program revisions. These rubrics represent much of the good work already being done at MSU and set aspirational goals for our future work. This website facilitates the use of the rubrics and publicizes current practices that engage the Undergraduate Learning Goals.

Understanding the Rubrics

Rubrics have three major components:


Appear down the left hand side of the document.

A Performance Scale

Appear across the top of the rubric.


Internal boxes the describe the performance expectations for each dimension.

The dimensions of our rubrics come directly from the undergraduate learning goals developed by members of the MSU community. The rubrics enact the following principles.

  • The goals will be operationalized and applied to learning experiences based upon the needs of teachers and learners.

  • The progress from emerging to exemplary performance moves from understanding to application and innovation.

  • The progress from emerging to exemplary is cumulative; that is, an exemplary performance indicates an ability to meet all of the goals defined at the three preceding levels.

  • The performance indicators do not necessarily map to 1-4 years of college nor do they equate to grades. Students may exhibit exemplary performance in some areas before their fourth year depending on their major, extracurricular activities, etc. and/or may perform in ways that generate high grades for excellence in emerging categories if emerging is the standard for evaluation.

  • We anticipate that MSU undergraduate students would achieve at least proficiency across the undergraduate learning goals by the time they graduate.

  • The rubrics can be used to plan teaching and learning in ways that move students through the levels of each dimension within and/or across learning experiences.

  • Not every learning experience will cover every goal or every dimension of a given goal.

  • Exemplary performance is a goal because it prepares students to continue learning and performing effectively as they seek, apply, and create knowledge throughout their lives.