General Education Review Task Force
Student Forum on General Education
I. WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF GENERAL EDUCATION?
An ideal general education program should encourage students to:
·Know about a lot of different things
· Be well-rounded and explore possibilities, new ideas
· Talk intelligently about a variety of subjects
· Experience life/culture outside "comfort zone"
· Become more tolerant and understanding of others
· "Sample" possible majors
· Form a solid educational foundation
· Become informed citizens
· It should allow for student flexibility
· It ought to encourage exploration of majors and disciplines, especially early in the program.
· Gen Ed ought to prepare students to "engage the world from a base of knowledge"
· It needs to enable transfer students to come into the program without wasted time and credit hours.
· Gen Ed augments the major; it's not the enemy of the major.
· I must allow for absolutely free electives
· There should be a balance between the major and Gen Ed
· Humanities ought to expand our thought and provide us with skills to learn about specific content areas rather than try to cover everything.
II. WHAT WORKS IN OUR CURRENT GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?
In our current system, the following items "work":
·Trying out new subject areas students might not ordinarily elect to take
· Having something in common with other learners
· Learning from teachers who come from various backgrounds/areas of expertise (ex: HUM professor with degrees in Philosophy)
· HUM works because it introduces different and new ideas in the context of interdisciplinary studies (science, econ, lit….)
· The telescopic nature of Humanities (124--3000 years; 214--1000years; 324--300 years; 414--50 years).
· Language composition requirements.
· Requiring lab science.
· Distribution requirements in the social sciences.
· The blend of core and distributional requirements.
· Requiring an Arts lab is great because it encourages hand-on experiences in the arts.
III. WHAT DOESN’T WORK IN OUR CURRENT GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?
In our current system, the following items do not work:
·Not enough cross-listing/connections/themes (ex: HUM 414 and social science)
· Transfer credit confusion/dissatisfaction, especially in light of 60-hour limit
· Conflict between History and Humanities for transfer students
· Strictness on transfer credit; lack of flexibility here (Registrar’s Office)
· Lack of clarity in terms of course selection and sequencing (when to take HUM 124? When to take 414? Arts 310?)
· HUM requires too many credit hours (4 too many, 3 ideal)
· Another student argues that 4 is about right
· HUM professor differences cause students to feel frustrated; some require lots of work, others not as much – this should be evaluated/regulated
· People are often reluctant to take what’s "forced" on them; choice is good
· The Humanities Program isn't diverse enough from a cultural perspective.
· We need a stronger focus on the contemporary world.
· Attempts at incorporating service learning seem disconnected from course material.
· Humanities courses need to be three-hour courses to enable more exploration within the major.
· HF requirements seem silly; they don't really change behavior.
· The current structure of Arts 310--it alternates between being too esoteric and being too "fluffy."
· Math 155/Stat 185 are too elementary.
· Arts 310: If it isn't "arts appreciation," what exactly is it?
IV. WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN OUR GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?
Diversity must be better-incorporated in terms of curriculum and pedagogy
V. WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO MAKING THESE CHANGES?
- "Perfection" holds us back. We can’t create a perfect model/program, so we may prefer not to change at all.
- Our sense of pride in HUM program; HUM is powerful and has a lot of pull, which may create resistance to change or alternative approaches
- Money and budget
- Departmental territoriality