General Education Committee Meeting: Small group discussion
summary—attachment to minutes
October 1, 2001
Question 1 summary: What does it mean to be an educated person?
have the tools
(e.g., communication skills, knowledge base (multi-disciplined), critical
thinking skills, etc.) to critically analyze issues and make intelligent
understanding of and appreciation for a dynamic, diverse and global world,
can make their
own (wise) choices
the wonder and beauty of the world, and the inner strength of humans
artistic expression as a form of communication
the positive and negative aspects of technologies and how these have/are
changing our world
Question 2 summary: What qualities should we nurture in our students?
to learn (not just receive grades), the desire and “know-how” for life-long
to appreciate diversity, creativity, imagination
who see themselves as responsible members of communities with personal
discipline, integrity, values and ability to make ethical decisions
Question 3 summary: What is the nature of the world in which our students
will work, play, create families or nurture younger generations, teach,
Individual-focused and materialistic
A world with
limited resources (human, financial, natural, etc.)
Individual group questions:
Group A: Some
have suggested that we maintain our current cafeteria style
program, but work to bring coherence into it.
How can we do this?
Develop more linked courses (although this is not feasible
for all disciplines/courses)
Define the Gen Ed program for our students (and faculty),
discuss it with them, discuss goals of the program
Conduct a study of courses within a category; Identify the
commonalities within each category
Provide obligatory and ongoing faculty seminars and
discussion groups to help all see how the “pieces fit together.”
Group B: Some have suggested that all students have a common body
of knowledge, skills and values.
If so, what should these be?
- skill set for acquiring knowledge
- knowledge base for employing skills
- ability to view differences as good/healthy
- appreciation of beauty
- integrity; honesty; ethics
- ability to write well, speak clearly, listen
effectively, read with understanding,
- ability to use basic math and technology
- student learning outcomes should drive the
structure, organization and courses for Gen Ed.
Group C: Some have suggested that we need new goals, that our current goals
are out-of-date. What should these
new goals be? What kind of general education program is necessary to promote
these new goals?
- Universities are the only discipline-based
organizations. The world is
multidisciplinary: Therefore Gen Ed should help students see:
- Inter-relatedness of “everything”—of all
- Gen Ed should be a Problem-based discovery
- “new” or “different” or “consistent”? grading
system (Investigate how students in Gen Ed are evaluated?)
- Assessment of Gen Ed?