General education subject of CTE summit
Kim Wilcox, vice provost for general education coordination
and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Susan Twombly, professor
of teaching and leadership and chair of a committee on curricular coordination;
Helen Connors, associate professor of Health and Technology Outreach;
and Mike Vitevitch, assistant professor of psychology, discuss general
education requirements during Tuesday’s annual Teaching Summit,
presented by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Aaron Paden/University
A group of faculty, staff and students who have been studying the feasibility
and advantages of a universitywide general education requirement began
sharing their findings and seeking information during the Center for Teaching
Excellence annual Teaching Summit Aug. 17 in Budig and Wescoe halls.
Tuesday’s summit included a panel discussion of KU’s current
policy and the potential advantages and disadvantages of changing the
Kim Wilcox, vice provost for general education coordination and dean of
the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been leading a comprehensive
18-month review of the university’s general education program since
Wilcox said KU is unique among universities because it employs six goals
of general education rather than a strict core curriculum requirement
for all students. At KU, he said, individual schools and departments use
the six goals to determine basic general education requirements.
“We are looking at the desirability of universitywide requirements,
what those requirements would be and how the university would coordinate
that program through each school and their departments,” he said.
Five committees composed of seven members—four faculty members,
two students and one staff member—met this spring to discuss core
skills; academic knowledge base; ability to acquire and use information
and to think critically; civic and cultural knowledge and valuing diversity;
and curricular coordination.
Susan Twombly, professor of teaching and leadership and chair of the committee
looking at curricular coordination, said her group was in preliminary
discussion of what coordinating challenges such a change would entail.
She said the group also is discussing how such change could be implemented
at a comprehensive research university such as KU, specifically what kind
of governance organization would be needed to oversee a universitywide
Twombly said that while she personally believes a universitywide general
education requirement is a worthy goal, it is important to present it
to faculty and students in a way that underscores the importance of liberal
arts and explains the pertinence of core requirements.
“This has to be a campuswide discussion about general education,”
Wilcox said discussions about a universitywide program would continue
throughout the school year. Speakers and lectures about this issue are
in planning stages. Wilcox said he hoped to make recommendations to the
provost in May 2005.
“The centrality of this goal underscores the need to ensure that
we have broad participation,” he said. “This is an excellent
opportunity to consider a universitywide core curriculum for the first
Goals of General Education
Approved May 23, 2001
Enhance the skills and knowledge needed to research, organize, evaluate
and apply new information, and develop a spirit of critical inquiry and
Acquire knowledge in the fine arts, the humanities, and the social, natural
and mathematical sciences, and be able to integrate that knowledge across
Improve the core skills of reading, writing and numeracy, and enhance
communication by clear, effective use of language.
Understand and appreciate the development, culture and diversity of the
United States and of other societies and nations.
Become aware of contemporary issues in society, technology and the natural
world and appreciate their complexity of cause and consequences.
Practice an ethic of self-discipline, social responsibility and citizenship
on a local, national and international level.