General Education Revision Task Force
Institutional Principles for Design
The principles drafted for this document were the product of five campus-wide efforts: the Learning Circles on Student Development; the Chancellorís Taskforces efforts on Retention, Curriculum, and Diversity; the GERTF role in the SACS Enhancement Self-Study; the APC Review of General Education; and the GERTF Listening Project. The Learning Circles on Student Development culminated in a retreat that targeted areas in which student-learning experiences over four years, both curricular and co-curricular, might offer opportunities for revision. The Chancellorís Taskforce Reports indicated areas in student retention, curricular development, and diversity that required attention. The SACS Self-Study required GERTF to develop a set of self-directive recommendations for curricular, institutional and fiscal reform necessary for implementing a revised general education program. The APC Review of General Education issues reports on each general education component and how well it fulfilled our current charge, issuing recommendations both for each program element and for the program as a whole. The Listening Project had the GERTF going into each department to discuss with faculty their visions of general education, soliciting ideas about what works in the program, what does not work, and what innovations or revisions ought to be considered. This document arises in response to the issues highlighted in each of these efforts and attempts to articulate the needs and interests that the campus community has identified.
This document identifies the principles that the design of a revised general education program will follow. It is intended to elicit from the faculty and staff what the revised design should look like in conforming to the principles stated below. The principles are offered as talking points for faculty and staff to begin articulating to themselves and to each other how they would like to operationalize the revised general education curriculum. There are many structural possibilities that may allow us to satisfy these principles. This document is not intended to constrain the design toward a particular structure. Thus, the final principles, which will reflect the input of the campus community, will serve as a broad template for directing the work of curricular revision. The Design Team will use this document to direct its work as it develops models for the revision.
This is a draft. The final articulation of Institutional Principles for Design will have received the benefit of input and feedback from the GERTF as a whole and from the campus community, including faculty, staff and administration.
1. The design will create balance both among the components of general education and among the divisions in ways that strengthen the studentsí experience and enhance opportunities for student choice throughout the curriculum.
2. The design will create links among the disciplines and between the divisions. The design will enhance opportunities for general education and the major to mutually support each other.
3. The design will not increase the number of required credit hours in general education.
4. The design will take into account students' progression from the freshman to senior years. Students will take general education courses throughout their undergraduate academic career. The design will reflect coherence throughout the general education program.
5. The design will reflect the importance of students having a core experience in the general education curriculum.
6. The design will offer students opportunities for depth in the general education curriculum, as well as for breadth.
Curriculum and Pedagogy
7. The design will ensure coverage of the knowledge domains and skills, as stated in the Mission Statement and Goals for General Education at UNCA. The design will encourage the extension and application of these knowledge domains and skills elsewhere in the curriculum. [Note: The Faculty Senate has placed the SACS-mandated competencies (oral communication and computer use) in the degree programs.]
8. The design will reflect UNCA's institutional mission to provide diversity-informed learning experiences for all students. While diversity may be broadly construed, for their primary focus, these experiences will examine sexism, racism, and other related forms of oppression/discrimination.
9. The design will encourage collaborative and integrative pedagogical and curricular innovation, such as linked courses, learning communities, course clusters, and other teaching strategies.
10. The design will ensure that writing and critical thinking will be integral throughout the general education program. The design will support the integration of writing and critical thinking into other areas of the curriculum. Students will learn to write and think critically in connection to content and practice.
11. The design will embed and integrate information literacy and library-resource use into general education at multiple levels. Students will learn information literacy and library-resource use in connection to content and practice.
12. The design will encourage faculty to direct students toward participation in curricular enhancements, such as service learning, undergraduate research, internships, international study, and/or off-campus learning experiences.
Institutional and Administrative Support
13. The design will reflect the central importance of general education to the Universityís mission. Therefore, general education will figure prominently in faculty recruitment, hiring, retention, reappointment, promotion, tenure, and annual merit evaluation.
14. The design will promote the delivery of general education courses predominantly by fulltime faculty. Commitment to general education will figure prominently in departmental budget allocations.