By Jaci Schneider, Copy Editor
The General Education Review went through extensive public discussion during the summer, and the committee lost one of its co-chairs, said Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate dean of Campus Life and chair of the Education Review Committee.
The committee has the task of deciding what students’ general education core requirements should be; in other words, it decides what classes students must take to graduate.
“General education is probably one of the most complex topics that you could consider within all academics,” Arrington said. “It affects all students and essentially all faculty.”
Because of the complexity of its task and the committee’s openness to feedback, it has fallen far behind schedule in coming up with a curriculum for faculty to vote on. The committee began meeting in January, 2003, Arrington said, and the changes should come into effect for the entering freshmen in 2006.
Arrington said the committee is focusing on integrated courses, which involve departments working together, and it is trying to stay away from the “sage on stage,” technique of learning, in favor of discussion courses.
“It is based on the idea that students learn better when ideas are presented in context,” Arrington said.
Changes in core curriculum could affect how many credits students need to graduate, which would also affect competitiveness with other universities and student debt, Arrington said.
Because the curriculum changes will affect faculty from nearly every department, the committee has been working to receive feedback and integrating it into its plans.
“We’re trying to involve as much of the faculty as possible in the decision-making process,” said Dr. Paul Morris, professor of physics and member of the committee.
During the summer, the committee also lost one of its co-chairs when Pat Simpson, former professor of education, left the university to teach at Black Hills State University in South Dakota. However, Arrington said the committee does not plan to replace her because it has been meeting for so long and is close to finishing and a new person would be on a steep learning curve.
Arrington said he hopes to present a model to the faculty in October. The faculty will eventually vote on the model then divide into committees to provide details and develop courses.
The committee will begin meeting after its summer hiatus next week, Morris said.
“We’ll probably take a few meetings to get up to speed,” he said. “We’re hoping to have it finished by the end of the semester.”