By Jaci Schneider, Copy Editor
The General Education Review steering committee will submit a semi-final report about core courses to the faculty for its review and consideration at a meeting of the University General Education Council on Friday, said Dr. Jeff Arrington, chair of the committee and assistant provost for student learning, in an e-mail.
The committee will present the report to the full faculty at a meeting Monday.
The report addresses courses all students are required to take to graduate, regardless of their majors, such as English 111 and 112, exercise science courses, Bible courses and Communication 111.
“The general education program will influence the education of every student who comes to ACU,” Arrington said.
In the next few months, the committee will continue to update its work and ask for feedback from the faculty, and it is aiming to present a final report to the faculty for a vote next October.
Although the committee began meeting in January 2003 and intended to finish the review by the end of 2005 spring semester, Arrington said most universities take about four years to complete their core course reviews.
“So, although this has been a long process, it is not unusual,” Arrington said.
Dr. Nicki Rippee, chair of the Exercise Science Department and member of the review committee, said she’s glad the committee put so much time into the review.
“I think it’s taken so long because we want to be sure that what we have is a good plan,” Rippee said. “Almost every department is going to be affected in some way.”
During the 2004-05 school year, the committee sent out three different curriculum plans to faculty to begin discussion, Arrington said.
“It was clear from those discussions that the faculty needed a great deal more information before they could vote to move in this new direction,” Arrington said. “I think that a hurried response, or a proposal that failed to include those discussions would have been very poorly received.”
Arrington said the process of course review takes so long because it is so complex and involves bringing together many different aspects of student learning. When deciding on courses, the committee focuses on “student learning outcomes,” which is what the university wants every graduate “to know, value and be able to do,” Arrington said.
The committee also looks at curriculum design and evaluates content of courses, teaching styles and university support. Also built into the review are assessment schemes.
“[They] allow us to measure success at achieving the outcomes and provide guidance in a continual process of curriculum review and adjustment,” Arrington said.
Rippee said the committee also spent a lot of time looking at the general education programs at other universities and seeing how ACU’s plan should be different and similar to those programs.
“We looked at what is unique about ACU,” Rippee said. “We kept in mind what the ACU student should look like.”
Rippee also said the process is very difficult because each department sees itself as being the most important for students’ general educations. However, she said the committee members have realized that they have to look at what is best when looking at the big picture. She said she thinks the faculty will also realize this when voting on the changes in October.
The changes the committee and faculty agree upon will go into effect over the course of the next four to five years, Arrington said.
“I believe that we must be faithful stewards of the trust that students and parents place in us when they choose ACU,” Arrington said.