In response to input from University Libraries’ colleagues requesting to hear more about what our Associate Directors are working on and/or thinking about, we are interspersing guest posts from the ADs on the From the Director blog. Here’s a guest post from Alison Armstrong, Associate Director for Research & Education…
Last spring a revised General Education curriculum was approved by the Council on Academic Affairs and endorsed the University Senate. It now makes its way toward implementation with an anticipated launch date of Autumn 2021.
General Education (GE) represents one third of the undergraduate curriculum; the two other components are the major(s) and electives. A revision of a third of the curriculum is a big undertaking and critically important. “It has been decades since we re-evaluated our General Education curriculum in a meaningful way,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron said recently. “Career paths are different, technologies are different, and the subject matter of our majors has changed over that period.”
The GE will “emphasizes critical thinking and is intended to provide students with a breadth of awareness, knowledge and skills that cross disciplinary boundaries and prepares them to be global citizens.” Critical thinking and interdisciplinary research fall squarely within University Libraries’ wheelhouse. We work with faculty as they develop their syllabi and deliver instruction, we connect with departments to advance overarching curricular themes, and we support students as they navigate the demands of their coursework. It is no surprise then, that in this sweeping undertaking, University Libraries is providing keen insight and substantial contributions. Beth Black, Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, serves on the “Bookends” Subcommittee, Jane Hammons, Teaching & Learning Engagement Librarian, serves on the “Expected Learning Outcomes” (ELO) Subcommittee, and I serve on the Implementation Committee and on the “Embedded/Cross-Sectional Components” Subcommittee. These groups, and more are hammering out detailed plans for a coordinated, manageable, and meaningful rollout of the program. Members of the GE committees and subcommittees have been meeting with groups and individuals around campus to clarify expectations, check-in around process, and to surface any areas of concern.
In addition to working directly with faculty and students, members of the GE teams have been talking with academic advisors, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Student Life, and others to invite conversation and engagement. Your feedback, too, is welcome! Everyone is invited to share comments and stay up to date on this program.
Please reach out if I can be of help (Armstrong.firstname.lastname@example.org).