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About IDEAs in Action

Overall Goal – Educating Citizen-Scholars

The overall goal of the new curriculum is to form graduates who have the capacities, tendencies, and habits of mind to approach the world with inquiry, investigation, evidence, judgment, and creativity. These are citizen-scholars: people who use the powerful tools of academic study and inquiry to support their lives as employees and entrepreneurs; citizens and leaders; and lifelong learners.

Curriculum Design and Development

A General Education Coordinating Committee was formed in May 2016 by then-College Dean Kevin M. Guskiewicz and chaired by Professor Andrew Perrin. Guskiewicz, who is now chancellor, asked that the new General Education curriculum be “contemporary, innovative, inclusive, and global.” Developing and designing the new curriculum was a three-year process involving hundreds of faculty, students, staff, and other key stakeholders.

The coordinating committee created several “design and feasibility” working groups to address certain elements of the curriculum. The committee also led a series of town halls and discussions to make revisions based on that feedback. Through these efforts, the IDEAs in Action curriculum was created – IDEA stands for Identify, Discover, Evaluate, and Act – and endorsed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council on April 12, 2019. It will replace the Making Connections curriculum adopted in 2006.

“We tried to get the broadest engagement from as many people as possible about the new curriculum, and we worked to make sure it aligns with Carolina’s public mission and the needs of all our students.”
Andrew Perrin

The IDEAs in Action curriculum adheres to following standards outlined in the SACSCOC 2018 Edition of the Principles of Accreditation: Foundation for Quality Enhancement, Section 9, item 3.

The institution requires the successful completion of a general education component at the undergraduate level that:

  • is based on a coherent rationale.
  • is a substantial component of each undergraduate degree program. For degree completion in baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent.
  • ensures breadth of knowledge. These credit hours include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/ fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural science/ mathematics. These courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession.


A General Education Implementation Team was charged with development of an implementation plan that ensures the IDEAs in Action curriculum has the infrastructure and resources necessary to be successful for students, faculty, advisors, and staff at the UNC-Chapel Hill. Additional information about the Implementation Team, including summary reports, can be found here.

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