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General Education Program Enters New Phase

Date: May 1, 2002
Contact: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

General Education, the program that provides a shared educational experience for all of the University of Cincinnati's undergraduates, was implemented for all incoming freshmen in Fall 2001. This spring, the General Education Task Force (Coordinating Committee and the College-Based Committee) worked on phase three of the program -- assessment. "This fall we will be handing out guidelines for faculty to develop unit/department General Education assessment plans," noted Ann Twinam, chair of the General Education Task Force. Anthony Perzigian, Senior Vice President and Provost for Baccalaureate and Undergraduate Education, added that "With General Education and undergraduate degree programs now so interlaced and interdependent, it is all the more imperative that we design effective assessment protocols and effective orientation programs not only for students but also for faculty and advisers."

Wayne Hall, vice provost for Faculty Development and member of the General Education Coordinating Committee noted that, "In several ways we have already started assessment. For instance, we have some models for capstone courses that are taking place this quarter and that are going to generate some assessment data."

The General Education Coordinating Committee is developing an overall approach that conducts assessment at four key levels:

  • University level -- The committee will examine data from such sources as the National Survey of Student Engagement, underway in spring quarter, as well as the survey, Your First College Year.

  • Program level -- Department heads might coordinate program changes based on feedback from students and instructors.

  • Course level -- Instructors might implement changes in particular courses, especially capstones, in response to assessment feedback.

  • Student level -- Faculty or program directors will evaluate student attainment of the General Education baccalaureate competencies (critical thinking, effective communication, knowledge integration and social responsibility) through a capstone or other appropriate vehicle at the time of their graduation.

    At an April 24 meeting of West Campus provosts and deans, according to Hall, it was announced that changes are in store for General Education during summer orientation as well, with greater emphasis on the program being delivered and explained at the college level. "We want students to see the connection more readily between their college program requirements and the General Education requirements. We also want them to see how the General Education program is adding value to their program of study," explains Hall.

    The General Education Coordinating Committee last week also issued a memo to faculty, deans, program directors and department heads about the implementation of a new feature in General Education that allows students to fulfill some requirements through approved experiences rather than coursework. For example, a co-op or overseas study may meet the same requirements that a course would fulfill. A student's contributions in the area of community service may apply as well. David Lee Smith, Coordinating Committee member, explained that, "These opportunities will be especially appealing for students in the colleges of Engineering, DAAP and CBA, all of which have very full academic programs for the student."

    The General Education Coordinating Committee is now seeking input on experiences that could apply to the Breadth of Knowledge requirements of diversity and culture, social and ethical issues and quantitative reasoning. Students can suggest their own proposals to faculty in their discipline, with the faculty then deciding whether such proposals should be sent to the Coordinating Committee for final approval. Faculty and unit heads are also requested to complete forms for consideration of eligible experiences. Those forms can be downloaded from the General Education website.

    Completed forms are to be given to the associate deans to send to the Coordinating Committee by May 21 at ML 0631.

    "We are on schedule," remarked Twinam. "Next year we will be preparing a report (due in April 2003) to the Higher Learning Commission (formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) concerning the adoption, implementation and assessment of General Education at UC."

    Previous reports on General Education

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