SUMMARY: THE GENERAL EDUCATION LISTENING PROJECT
Compiled by Drs. Jeff Konz (Economics) and Rebecca Bruce (Computer Science)
These are the most prominent themes that arose in the Listening Project, in which members of the General Education Review Task Force visited departments and programs during the 2001-02 academic year for their responses to the prompts below. Some of these issues represent faculty consensus; others are issues that are represented frequently but are not unanimously held. These prominent themes are not prioritized in any particular order.
I. What is your department's vision of General Education?
Education for lifelong learning and citizenship rather than training
Focus on problem-solving and critical-thinking; practicality and usefulness
Oral and written communication
Not too large, leaving room for electives, double majors, licensure
Breadth of knowledge; opportunity for students to explore; intellectual curiosity
II. What works in our current General Education program?
Integrative, interdisciplinary nature of both teaching and learning
Most of it—only needs minor tweaking
Breadth across curriculum
III. What does not work in our current General Education program?
Need clarified rationale for both specific components and program
Not enough student choice
Too many hours in Gen Ed
Needs reviewed more frequently and systematically
Not successful in development skills--writing, mathematics, etc.
IV. What changes in the General Education program would allow it to better serve your department, our students, and the University as a whole?
More flexibility for students
Reduction in Gen Ed hours while preserving Absolutely Free Electives
Need to modify (in various ways) core programs in Humanities and Arts and Ideas
Better assessment; incremental adjustment
Interdisciplinary core SS and/or NS course
More flexibility for faculty
Reward faculty/departments who participate
Team teaching, learning communities
V. What do you think are the barriers to making these changes?
Resources--personnel, time, and money
Lack of incentives to attract faculty, especially outside of the department
Need for someone in charge of Gen Ed; coordination
"Sacred" status of Humanities
Turf and department-think