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May 6 / Thomas Fischer

A proposal for a new General Education curriculum

At the outset of our committee’s work, we defined a process that we have followed to ensure that the program we would propose would reflect the goals and values of the university community.  This process began with conversations with the campus (students, faculty, staff, alumni) through campus-wide surveys and focus groups. From these we developed a set of Guiding Principles for General Education reform, then developed a comprehensive set of Learning Outcomes to provide operational definitions for the types of skills and knowledge we aim to develop in our program, and most importantly, in our students.  The curriculum we are proposing is the culmination of this process, and reflects the integration of our work to date.

View the proposal

It is important to emphasize that this proposal represents the beginning of what we hope is a campus-wide discussion on the future of General Education.  We feel that the structure outlined in our proposal provides a sound framework for discussions that will help to strengthen the overall proposal and engender the type of campus-wide involvement that will be necessary for the success of our undergraduate curriculum.

Highlights of the proposal:

  • A reduction in the number of required credits to 33.
  • A paired set of “First Year Core” courses designed to generate excitement, build key academic and practical skills, and build a sense of community. This core consists of Signature Courses that are explicitly paired with a Foundational Skills course (Composition or Oral Communication) and a Student Community
  • A proposal to allow specific math requirements to be determined by the majors, and the establishment of Quantitative Experience courses for students whose major does not require a specific math course.
  • A Year 3 Capstone Course that will emphasize some form of community engagement that will build on a student’s previous learning in our program and help to connect them with the broader community.

We urge you to become part of the discussion. To begin to collect feedback, we have scheduled two focus groups/brown bags for next week:

Brown Bag, Wednesday, May 11, 12-2, Student Center Room 285

Town Hall, Friday, May 13, 10-12, Student Center Room 285


We will also be scheduling more gatherings in the future, as well as meeting with groups across the campus.  If you would like to reach out to the committee, you can contact us via our email address:  You can also add public comments to this blog.


For the General Education Reform Committee,

Tom Fischer

Committee Co-chair, and Associate Professor of Psychology

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