Faculty members have been working together to make a new change to the general education structure.
The current system we have now was first implemented in 2001. For the past couple of years, faculty have been working behind the scenes to develop an entirely new structure to the system. “It’s been a controversial time, but I think we have a really good program together,” said Jim Kinnie, Chair of the General Education Committee of Faculty Senate.
“[The General Education structure’s] changing because it has to be assessed better,” Kinnie said. “The University wants to know how well the general education system is working. And the current program has no mechanism to assess, or see how well students are achieving goals.”
The new system will focus on twelve learning outcomes under five general categories. The five categories are, knowledge, competencies, responsibilities, integrate and apply and grand challenge. The twelve learning outcomes are housed inside these categories ranging from A1 to G1. “It’s all new so it seems overwhelming,” Kinnie said.
The new system will require students to take 40 credits of general education courses. Every learning outcome must be met by at least three credits, allowing students to choose which areas they want to take more classes in. Another new change to the system is that students will be able to use major classes to cover their general education courses.
If a major class also counts as a general education course, you can use it to fulfill both. Another change is that colleges will no longer be able to mandate which general education courses you have to take. Instead, it is a much more flexible option focused on broadening the student’s education. General education courses are no longer limited by their level, students will have the option to choose 100-400 level classes. The hope is that students stop just getting their classes out of the way, and instead use it to take classes they are interested in over all four years.
For the professors, the new system will require an assessment of their classrooms. Professors will be chosen by random to fill out an anonymous competency survey for their class. The goal is to be able to see which classes are showing competency and which classes are struggling and where the university can fix it.
“We worked with colleges on all these outcomes to make sure the colleges, especially pharmacy and engineering, will fit into this so their students can take these credits outside their programs credit,” Kinnie said, assuring that no major will have problems.
First-year students going into their second year will have the option to switch into this new general education system. Students interested in this route should consult with their advisors.