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General Education Task Force I - Ramapo College

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General Education Task Force I
A Brief Review of General Education Models and ProgramsSpring 2013
Committee Members: RenataGangemi, RomuloMagnaye, Robert Mentore, PaulaStraile-Costa, AshwaniVasishth, and Samantha Wittenberg
Our review is cursory at best, given the time constraintsWe limited our review to the level of categories, and did NOT drill down to the course levelOur work should be the start of a process of exploration, not the end of it
Purpose of General Education(K. Waltzer, 2000)
To become broadly educated (beyond the high school level)To begin to develop intellectual and moral imaginationTo become acquainted with different ways of knowingTo increase capacities to think critically and independentlyTo prepare for upper-level work in the disciplinesTo develop capacities generally useful to life and freedom, independent learning, and citizenship
There are two broad courses open to Ramapo College, in considering its General Education Curriculum:Build on our existing structure, and strengthen itErect a new structure entirely
Best Practices(retrieved from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosseGeneral Education Committee website:
Whichever course we choose to take, we recommend the following:Intentional (alignment among goals, outcomes, actions, results)Based on institution’s mission and broad goalsOutcome based (curriculum, pedagogy, assessment derived from expected outcomes)Receives institutional support in terms of student learning, resource allocation, and faculty reward structure
Best Practices Continued
Faculty generated and with faculty endorsement and commitment (regular input from the faculty)Integrated into the major or student’s program of study (across the baccalaureate degree)Focuses on development of life-long learning and developing knowledge, skills and dispositions for participation as a citizen (in a democracy and globally)Emphasis on integration or making connections across courses/disciplines
Best Practices Continued
9. Is viewed as one piece of a liberal education, not the totality of a liberal educationBest faculty teach in the programBased on active learningAssessment is integral to the program (embedded assessment & programmatic assessment)Accountability for student learning
Existing Gen Ed Model
Core Courses:First-Year SeminarCritical Reading and Writing IIReadings in the HumanitiesSocial Issues or Perspectives in Business in Society
Existing Gen Ed Model Continued
Distribution Categories:HistoryMathematical ReasoningScience with ExperientialIntercultural North AmericaInternational IssuesTopics: Arts and Humanities or Social Sciences
Existing Gen Ed Model Continued
Classic Gen Ed Models(R.R. Newton, 2000)
Great Books–liberal arts collegesScholarly Discipline–Research-oriented universitiesEffective Citizen–institutions with client-centered/public mission orientation
Classic Gen Ed Models(R.R. Newton, 2000)
Core & Fluid Models(K. Waltzer, 2000)
Fluid-distribution requirement or set of requirementsCore-pre-designed required course or sequence of courses; emphasis on inter-relatedness of knowledge
Olivet College
Christian affiliation, in south central MichiganVision: Education for Individual and Social ResponsibilityLiberal Arts Core curriculum (8 semesters) provides common learning and shared experiences leading to aPortfolio
Only 1 requirement: first year seminarInquiry-based introduction toCritical thinkingActive learningWritingOtherwise, an open curriculumLeads to gaps in learning after increasing student diversityNew proposals by Committee on Academic PrioritiesAdd 2 more intensive writing coursesAdd 2.5 new courses for quantitative literacyProvide more direction through academic advising
The College of New Jersey
LiberalLearning (revised in 2002) – educating students for citizenship in a modern democracyGoal 1 - Intellectual and ScholarlyGrowth, FYS, Writing, Second LanguageGoal 2 - Civic Responsibilities – Global, race/ethnicity, gender – fulfilled by coursesingen. ed., the major and/orextended experiences**Community Engagement Requirement provides students with the opportunity to think critically and inclusively about their society and develop a hands-on understanding of the effects of class, power, and privilege
The College of New JerseyContinued
Goal 3 - Broad Sectors of Human Inquiry – BreadthOptionA Choose an interdisciplinary minoror secondmajorOptionB Design your own interdisciplinary minororsecond majorOptionC Breadth Distribution – 3 courses in eachArtsand HumanitiesSocialSciences and HistoryNaturalScience andQuantitative Reasoning
Evergreen State
No majors, no general education curriculum, no courses, no gradesStudents design anacademic pathway, rather than enroll in a major (workshops are provided, faculty advise)Programsbased on a theme or topic (inter- and multi-disciplinary) are team-taught by 2 or more faculty membersEach program is 16 credits and spans 2 or 3 quartersEach program may consist of lectures, labs, readings, seminars, field study, studio work, or research projectsPrograms are based on atheme and taught from different perspectivesevaluative narratives are used to assess student learning
St. John’s College
Religiously affiliated liberal arts college with two campuses located in Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NMNo strict distinction between the sciences and the humanitiesReading list “serves as the core of the […] curriculum”First year is devoted to Greek authorsSecondyear “contains books from the Roman, medieval, and Renaissanceperiods”Third year covers 17thand 18thcenturiesFourth year covers 19thand 20thcenturies
There are many modelsMost general education programs do not fall into one model, but rather are hybridsThe key is constant communication between Task Force II and the faculty90% of colleges and universities are in some stage of remodeling their general education programs
Amherst College Committee on Academic Priorities (2006). The Committee onAcademic Priorities 2006 (CAP). Retrieved from Evergreen State College. Academics. Retrieved from Research Associates (2009). Trends and emerging practices in generaleducation.Retrieved from College. The Olivet Plan. Retrieved from College. Academic overview. Retrieved from, R.R. (2000). Tensions and models in general education planning,Journal of General Education,49(3), 165-181.
St. John’s College (2013). Reading list. Retrieved from of New Jersey. Liberal learning guide. Retrieved from WisconsinLaCrosseGeneral Education Committee(2006). Best practices in general education. Retrieved from, K. (2000). General education models: Pros & cons ofgeneral education strategies. Retrieved from, R. Advising FAQ for humanities and social sciences studentsand faculty. Retrieved from





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General Education Task Force I - Ramapo College