General Education Redesign
We are glad you are here. Your participation in the Gen Ed revision process is integral to its successful transformation. Please reach out at any time to:
- Your department/college Task Force representative
- David Johnson, General Education Task Force Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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What is Gen Ed?
General Education (“Gen Ed”) is the part of a liberal education curriculum shared by all students on a campus. Gen Ed most often intends to provide breadth and depth across disciplines with the aim of developing capable, curious, and culturally aware students. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) refers to such liberal education as the “learning all students need for success in an uncertain future and for addressing the compelling issues we face as a democracy and as a global community—regardless of where they study, what they major in, or what their career goals are.” To achieve those goals, any General Education program must integrate research-based principles and practices of teaching and learning.
Why Revise Gen Ed Now?
The current General Education Program at UNC Charlotte was implemented in 2003. Since that time, there have been significant changes in the student body and the faculty, as well as important revisions to the University’s mission statement and the associated statement on vision and values. Most importantly, our local, regional, national, and global environment has changed significantly. Students at UNC Charlotte deserve a coherent, distinctive, and innovative general education program that prepares them to engage meaningfully in their careers, their communities, and the world.
This process relies on feedback from all members of the faculty, student support staff, and other interested parties to help shape a general education curriculum that works best for our students. The charge to review and redesign UNC Charlotte’s General Education Program was developed by the General Education Parameters Working Group, which was appointed by the Provost in Fall 2020. The Parameters Group reviewed best practices for general education design and surveyed general education programs at similar institutions. It also conducted two town hall meetings attended by more than 200 faculty and staff members in December 2020. All of those findings are reflected in the charge to the General Education Task Force.
When and How?
The Gen Ed Revision Task Force worked in two phases over Spring 2021 and Academic Year 2021-2022. During Spring 2021, the Task Force identified outcomes and possible foci. During Academic Year 2021-2022, the Task Force worked on issues around implementation.
The goal is a general education program that serves students’ needs by creating a curriculum that:
- Is equitable and sustainable
- has a clearly articulated philosophical foundation and defined outcomes
- Is integrated into academic majors
- Is built to serve our large transfer population as well as our first-time-in-college students
- Provides students opportunities to develop critical competencies and skills, such as critical thinking, communication, deep reading, quantitative reasoning, data analysis, civic engagement, and intercultural awareness (among others)
- Integrates ongoing faculty development
The elements of each phase were as follows:
- Obtain feedback from faculty, students, co-curricular units, administrators, alumni, and community groups, where appropriate, at various stages of development
- Develop a philosophy and intellectual framework for the new curriculum, including learning outcomes
- Design a curriculum that works within existing resources
- Share a proposal with interested groups (listed above) for feedback and revision
- Identify working groups that expand the conversation to more faculty while helping take steps to implement the new curriculum
This phase welcomed the work of multiple working groups in developing more detailed curricula for each of the curriculum areas and requirements defined in Phase One.
Working groups focused on curriculum details by:
- Defining learning objectives within each component
- Determining approved courses in consultation with academic departments
- Assessing impact of changes to gauge sustainability of curriculum
- Recommending new courses or course elements
- Recruiting faculty to pilot courses
- Designing longitudinal assessment, including recommendations for administrative processes and structures
- Planning and implementing faculty development to support the new curriculum
The Task Force, near the end of Phase Two, prepared the final curriculum proposal for faculty governance approval.