By Theresa Brown and Laura Weick

As students begin to register for classes for the Fall 2018 semester, students may wonder which classes they should take to fulfill their remaining general education requirements. In an effort to assist these students, the University of Rhode Island hosted a General Education Fair on March 27 in the Memorial Union Ballroom from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Rachel DiCioccio, coordinator of general education, said that the fair allows students to speak to professors and learn about which general education courses best fit their needs and interests.

“Beyond seeing which courses are available, students can gain insight on how courses meet different outcomes and how they can be strategic and find courses in their interest, as well as the interconnectivity of courses and outcomes,” DiCiocco said..

This is the third general education fair that the University has hosted under the new general education system. According to DiCioccio, the previous system also offered a general education fair.

When asked about the importance of URI’s general education program, DiCioccio responded that, “It sort of serves as a student’s second major. It encourages lifelong learning in addition to their career goals. It makes them more complete as an individual by giving them that well rounded education.”

Many students wonder why they have to take courses in disciplines that do not seem relevant to their lives or careers. However, many professors disagree with this sentiment.

“I think the entire Gen Ed program is incredibly important to student learning, especially with trying new things and studying outside your major field,” Thanatology Teacher Sara Murphy said. “They get learning outcomes they would not receive if they just focused on their major and minor. It makes for a well rounded student.” Murphy is teaching NUR 260: Impact of Death on Behavior in the fall. This course meets the A2 social sciences requirement and the C3 diversity requirement.

Douglas Reed, a philosophy professor, teaches several courses that meet the B1 writing requirement. He thinks that it is important for students to learn how to write effectively regardless of major, because “clear writing is clear thinking.”

Kim Evelyn, a writing and rhetoric professor, teaches WRT 104 Writing to Inform and Explain and WRT 106 Intro to Research Writing, which both meet the B1 requirement.

“WRT 104 gives students experience in writing different forms like reports and proposals,” Evelyn said. “In WRT 106 students take a research project for the whole semester and learn how to write about research. Students in these courses will walk away with with learning how to write in different forms throughout their careers.”

Douglas Gobeille, who teaches the A1 STEM course AST 108 Introductory Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies, says that many students are scared to take a STEM gen ed due to their alleged difficulty.

“In STEM, we’re engrossed in a search for knowledge,” Gobeille said. “I try to get my students to realize that researching and finding information in this digital age is much easier now” We want to impart a feeling of empowerment in students and help them understand that these things are understandable. Frequently science has a stigma of being challenging and out-of-reach, but I push back against that wholeheartedly, especially in an era where you can whip out your cell phone and get an answer.”

One of the hardest general education courses to find are Grand Challenge, or G courses. According to the guidelines of submission for a Grand Challenge course, these courses must include significant contemporary issues, recognize and apply ethical principles and have an interdisciplinary approach.

Rachel Schwartz, a biological sciences professor, is teaching the course BIO 181G: The Information Age: From Politics to Medicine. The course is open to all students and satisfies both the A1 STEM and Grand Challenge requirements. In the course, students analyze the use of data in modern society.

“It’s a Grand Challenge because all of these issues with data are in the news,” Schwartz said.. “One of the issues students will face when they go off into the world is ‘is my social media data private? Is it being used to influence my political opinion? What do I do with the genome data that’s being sequenced by my insurance company? Is my data being used to discriminate against me when I try to get a mortgage?”

Another Grand Challenge course being offered in the fall is HPR 183G: Honors in Diversity/Inclusion and Information Literacy. The course, taught by Africana Studies professor and Director of Enrollment services Carnell Jones, focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement. It meets the B4, C3 and G general education requirements.

“In this particular course, I teach it looking at the Civil Rights Movement compared to the Black Lives Matter Movement. I start off the class by asking the students ‘is it a movement, or is a moment?’ meaning is it just something we’re doing now, or is it connected?” said Jones.  “It’s a real time, as-we-speak class because there’s always something going on.”

 

Below is a list of some other general education courses offered this fall:

AST 108: Introductory Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies

General Education Requirement A1

Covers topics such as constellations, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. It also features trips to the planetarium.

 

AVS 101: Introduction to Animal Science

General Education Requirement A1

Covers the role of animals in today’s economy as well as other topics regarding animals such as growth, nutrition, diseases, physiology, and marketing of animals.

 

CCJ 230: Crime and Delinquency

General Education Requirement A2

Evaluates the effect, frequency, and cost of crime and delinquency in the United States.

 

CHN 101: Beginning Chinese I

General Education Requirement A1

Introduction to the Chinese language, grammar, and conversation.

 

CSC 104: Puzzles + Games = Analytical Thinking

General Education Requirement B3

Covers problem solving in mathematics, these include working with numbers, graphs, probability, etc.

 

CSC 106: The Joy of Programming

General Education Requirement B3

Introduction to problem-solving by using computer programming which includes working with apps, games, puzzles, computing, and many more.

 

EDC 102: Introduction to American Education

General Education Requirement B4, C3

Focuses on the structure and issues included in today’s education system.

 

ENG 110: Introduction to Creative Writing

General Education Requirement A3, B1

Discussion and reading of many different genres of literature.

 

ENG 357G: Topics in Literature and Medicine

General Education Requirement A3, B1, G

Discusses the presence of medicine and ethics in literature.

 

FRN 120G: Multicultural France through Film

General Education Requirement A3, C3, G

Discussion of the presence of France in film and how that focuses on themes such as immigration, diversity, and prevalent topics.

 

GEO 102: Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

General Education Requirement A1, B4

Introduction to dinosaurs and their different forms, ways of living, and extinction.

 

GWS 150: Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies

General Education Requirement A2, B4

Discussion and introduction of the history, socialization, and need for change regarding the standing of women in today’s society.

 

HDF 150: Human Sexuality

General Education Requirement A2, C3

Study of the factors that determine and affect the expression and development of sexuality and behavior.

 

HIS 119G: Vaccines and Society

General Education Requirement A3, C1, G

Discusses the history, debates, and campaigns globally regarding vaccinations.

 

HIS 308: Between Eve and Mary: Women in the Middle Ages

General Education Requirement A2, B1, G

Discusses the history of women in the Middle Ages and their experiences based on their place in society.

 

JOR 110: Introduction to Mass Media

General Education Requirement A3, C1

Covers and evaluates news outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio, movies, etc. Also considers the legality and ethics in news.

 

LIB 350: Current Issues of the Information Age

General Education Requirement B4, C1

Covers ways to find and use information, and techniques for researching to inform others.

 

MAF 100: Human Use and Management of the Marine Environment

General Education Requirement A2, C1

Examines current issues regarding the marine environment and how to minimize and eliminate these based on ability of technology.

 

OCG 108G: Living by the Ocean

General Education Requirement D1, G

Covers and looks into the issues that may be faced by the 44% of people that live near the ocean.

 

OCG 200G: Extreme Weather

General Education Requirement A1, C2, G

Focuses on forecasts and vocabulary regarding extreme weather patterns and principles.

 

PSC 113: Introduction to American Politics

General Education Requirement A2, C1

Covers the organization, structure, and function of the United States government as well as its principles.

 

PSY 103: Towards Self-Understanding

General Education Requirement A2, B1

Covers and evaluates personality development, behavior, and reaction to assess problems between people and themselves.

 

RLS 111: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

General Education Requirement A3, C2

Evaluation of the differences in teachings and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

TMD 103G: Textiles, Fashion, and Sustainability

General Education Requirement C2, G

Introduction to the fashion and textile industry in all aspects from designer, to production, to retail. Examines issues in this field.