Results from Faculty Forum on General Education Vision/Mission

Results from Faculty Forum on General Education Vision/Mission
April 6, 2005 (approximately 28-30 participants)
[Vision/Mission Statements are bulleted in black with comments bolded
Group 1:
 Demonstrate mastery of a (common?) body of knowledge.
 #1 of group #6’s vision
 Broadly educated in many fields w/ specialty in major.
 Skills—communication, oral speaking/writing, critical thinking, problem-silving,
math reasoning, etc. at collegiate level.
o Early
o Added skill information literacy.
o Students need to understand scientific method.
o Communication can occur in many ways. I would want to see the arts
specifically included.
 Each student is competent using multiple modes of inquiry.
o Plus knows the excitement of learning.
o Great phrase—multiple modes of inquiry.
 Integrate with major.
o #2 of group 6’s vision
o Integration with major—would want to know more about how this
relates to a broad body of knowledge.
Group 2:
 Core competencies: math (redress enumeracy), language(s), information literacy
[filter flood of info—evaluate info.], written communication [textual analysis],
social-historical analysis, process of ethics.
o Early.
o Oral communication beyond public speaking is identified by
employers as a top weakness of college grads. Where does it fit in?
o Too much of a list or set of skills.
o Understanding of scientific method.
o Only written communication? No arena for artistic expression. I like
the creative participation statement.
o If we don’t teach U.S. History, will students have little sense of what
the US is in the world?
 And the world is in real trouble.
 Introduce students to a range of disciplines.
 Citizenship.
 Global awareness.
 Power and oppression.
Exposure to arts, creative participation.
o I like this—you shouldn’t be able to get out of the university w/o at
least one fine arts course. Creative participation? I hope that implies
o No “squish-ness”.
 I like the squishiness comment and would like to know more
about how that would happen, and what is squishy?
 Squishiness is good for exploration. You never know where it
may lead.
Group 3:
 Students understand why they are here.
 Students see the relevancy/value of general education requirements.
 Courses they want and need are available.
o Too what extent do we design a gen ed curriculum based on what
students want? It is courses they want? Experiences? Intellectual
o Ideally, yes, but quality curriculum should not be hostage to students’
notions of relevance.
o Fit specific citation style with major requirements.??
o Gen ed would contribute to the growth of students as citizens of a
o Public (and legislature) would value liberal arts.
o Should general ed be liberal arts? I think so!!
o Students would develop enthusiasm, excitement, and confidence in
themselves as learners.
 I like this comment.
o Enthusiasm, excitement, and confidence—wonderful language and
o Even dumb ones?
 Students will know how to access, evaluate, and use informational resources.
 Students can think critically and analyze ideas effectively.
o Including application of scientific methods.
 Students are comfortable with diversity in terms of cultures, people, ideas, etc.
 Inculcate shared values of compassion, community, responsibility, social justice.
 Gen ed program should be more interdisciplinary in focus.
o Why? Maybe they need disciplinary knowledge first.
Group 4:
The structure of MTC with the options of the SCSU depth experience offerings
(gen ed curriculum).
Breadth as well as depth.
o Here, here—but, is this possible?
o Work to make MTC work for us.
o Too vague.
Freedom of choice.
o Too much choice. Students need to focus or we steal their
opportunities for greater growth.
o Can students be overwhelmed by choice? By streamlining, how do we
maintain choice?
o Choice within required areas?
o Not unlimited freedom of choice.
Streamline and user friendly.
[Vision is clouded by the current application and implications of the MTC]
o Should/could the gen ed curriculum be a response to the narcissism of
our society/of our students?
Group 5:
To be a learning lush.
Inculcate a sense of intellectual adventure—i.e. “binge knowledge-ing”.
o Encourage and facilitate lifelong learning.
o I love the idea of binge knowledge.
o Binging w/o skills—not an effective strategy for nibblers.
o Provide skills and tools that all students need for successful and
fulfilling life.
 Successful in what sense?
Integration of major classes with general education.
o Integration critical for students to see relevance of g.e. and for faculty
to respect gen ed.
 Why does its “relevance” have to be interpreted in terms of its
connection to a major?
o How does integration promote a broad exposure to many topics, ideas,
and learning?
Provide critical links between disciplines and specialties.
Interdisciplinary nature of education.
o Interdisciplinary = career choices—yes!
o Our group agreed with this. Gen ed needs to move beyond its current
department alignment.
Group 6:
Part I. Foundation—critical to university success.
o Yes! What skills do you even need to be a successful learner?
o May not work for all programs. Some can’t afford proscribed year #1
o Yes, if they don’t have foundations, their dreams remain dreams.
How many times have you had to tell a student “that won’t work—
you don’t have sufficient preparation.”
o Foundation could be in written and oral comm. And math reasoning
only. Leave room for major foundation courses.
Part II Exploration/distribution/breadth
o Continuum of or blend with the major
Part III Interdisciplinary set of courses
Part I take early,Part II distributed.
o Is this a gen ed program focused on selecting a major or gen ed
contributing to the educated graduate as a whole person, not just an
o Clarity of design.
o Limited prescribed curriculum—9 units.
o “Passion” for learning seems missing here.
o Quant. Oral/written, science, social science.
Group 7:
 Highly functioning people/global citizens.
o Define “highly functioning”. We don’t want success seminars here.
 Never give children’s cut flowers—only the seeds to grow their own.
 General ed complementary to major. Helps them see connection to community,
become functional citizens.
o I like the words “complementary” and “connection”—implies a bigpicture emphasis.
 General ed as well-rounded education. Learning how to learn integrative
knowledge beyond skill sets learned in major.
o Gen ed should be beyond skill sets of major, but somehow connected.
Perhaps these are still sets large enough to include those more specific
to a major.
 Gen ed intrinsic value.
 Gen ed is knowledge that contributes to human flourishing.
 May vary at different historical moments. Example: Beginning 20th and 21st
o Does my own great affection for my gen ed education 35 years ago
have no relevance for what’s appropriate now? I wonder.
 Intellectual curiosity.
 Serve the greater good of most students.
o Does this mean no extra support for the underdog? I can’t agree.
o Who gets to say what’s good for them.
Results from Faculty Forum on General Education Vision/Mission
April 6, 2005 (approximately 28-30 participants)
[Vision/Mission Statements are bulleted in black with comments bolded
Group 1:
 Expose students to allow them to discover interests and skills beyond
o Beyond expectations, yes!
o Beyond theirs, not mine.
o I like this one.
 Provide foundational base enabling students to appreciate/explore things beyond
specialty or vocation.
o I like this one, too.
Group 2:
 Serve needs of local community, nation, and world by preparing students to be
successful citizens through a general education program that:
 Provides basic skills such as oral and written comm., critical thinking, and
problem solving.
o Early.
o Gen ed needs to be inherently valuable and not “need” to be justified
in terms of the other needs it serves.
 Exposes students to a variety of disciplines to expand horizons and provide
o I like the “expand horizons”.
 Instill an appreciation of multiculturalism and an ethic of active antiracism and
o I like the overt emphasis on antiracism.
o Recognize these courses inside of dept. majors. Do not overdose #3.
Group 3:
General education will:
 Help inspire the loyalty of SCSU alumni and the community.
o I’m not sure I like the idea of loyalty.
o Does this mean that getting a university education was a good
worthwhile experience? Worth repeating?
 Provide opportunities for students to explore and articulate alternative
perspectives so they can develop a point of view of their own.
Enable students to develop the ability to locate, analyze, manage, and share
complex information.
o This is critical thinking, isn’t it?
o “Information” is overrated.—how about “knowledge”? It’s typical of
our age that we reduce knowledge to information.
Enable students to communicate competently orally and in written form both as
individuals and in groups.
o Group work!
Assist students in being able to explore ideas and conduct research using a variety
of methodologies.
Support students’ identification of a sense of self.
Open students’ eyes to the breadth of possibilities available to them (courses,
fields of knowledge, careers).
o I like this one.
Expose students to diverse cultures, experiences, etc. (notion of diversity and
more global perspectives).
Support students’ explorations of their creativity through the arts.
Group 4:
 Provide students with the ability to synthesize their entire college experience.
o Capstone.
 Students can draw on previous experiences.
o Capstone.
 Help students see how all of these areas of learning relate to each other.
 Maintain student learning in all areas by allowing them to have more upper-level
courses and by taking multiple courses in an area.
o Isn’t general education about breadth?
o This seems to focus on the student as an individual discrete unit.
Where are the students relative to the community, to the world?
 Devise a way to have the general ed program integrate all of the students’ learning
experiences from all of the separate courses they’ve taken.
o Nah—the capstone course.
 Does synthesis only have to occur in the major capstone?
 Create a culture that supports an appreciation of the full learning experience.
o Yes! Appreciation of full learning experience.
o Yes!
Group 5:
 Preparing students for handling real-life situations. (Preparing and handling
would need to be defined.)
o This assumes these real-life situations are a given. I would like to see
gen ed shape what real life is.
 Seeing “real life situations” with a “global perspective” and through multiple
perspectives. Intro to global perspectives = part of the preparation. Intro to
multiple perspectives on problem solving = part of the preparation.
Group 6:
 High retention.
 Unit/department-based. Pre-course, one-credit.
 Student satisfaction.
 Categoric divisions.
 Foundation for “major” success.
 Clear path choices.
 Equal advisement into gen eds.
 Few wasted credits.
 Process to switch majors with knowledge (?)
Group 7:
 Students will learn how to learn.
 Students will value learning and continue to learn throughout their lives.
 Students will be encouraged to self-reflect and evaluate/criticize their own values
and interests.
o Self-reflection is good. Something we all usually can improve.
 Students will learn how to integrate knowledge and use it beyond their
 Students will respect all disciplines and varieties of peoples.
 Encourage students to develop an appreciation of and abilities for participation in
civil engagements with others who have different points of view.
 Develop a deeper appreciation for experiences of life.
o Yes!