The General Education Review steering committee will present a report to the entire faculty Monday about core course changes.
All students are required to take core courses, regardless of major. A few examples of core courses include exercise science activity classes, English 111 and 112 and fine arts. The changes in core courses will affect all students and all departments and should not be taken lightly.
A committee has been researching for this report since 2003 and presented three different options to faculty last year. Faculty responded to the options and the committee has since been continuing research and refining its ideas.
Although the process has been long, and some faculty members might be getting antsy about seeing a final product, the GER deserves as much thought and discussion as has been devoted to it. Students will spend thousands of dollars on these courses, departments will grow or shrink based on them, and they will be a part of every student’s ACU experience. Core course review deserves time, attention and serious thought.
The GER committee was probably too eager to announce an early implementation plan when it aimed for beginning the changes this fall, but the university will benefit from a well-thought out plan that has not been rushed just to meet a deadline.
But at the same time, the process cannot be drawn out forever. The faculty will never be able to come to a unanimous decision regarding such a divisive topic as general education. The committee needs to hear all the qualms departments have, take them into consideration and then make a final decision.
When faculty members hear the report the committee presents Monday, they need be careful not to take a defensive stance or jump to conclusions. When core courses change, it might be easy for departments to feel as though they are being attacked or favored. Faculty members need to look beyond their own departments and at the welfare of the university and the student as a whole.
The committee and faculty need to keep students first when making core course decisions. Students are the ones taking the courses and hopefully learning from them. If students report that a course has no value to them, faculty should seriously look at the reasons and what needs to change. Core courses should educate students and help them live out the mission of the university.