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Agenda Item FA 18-64

Submitted by the Academic Programs Committee

General Education Council:

General Education Program of Changes (1 package)

12/06/18: Passed

12/11/18: Approved

Log Number: 201808-71

Change an existing non-degree program

General Education (Note: Gen Ed is not a Certificate, but no other appropriate option in Workflow)

 

Summary of the changes:

UNF’s General Education curriculum focuses on development of competencies and skills necessary for success in upper level coursework and in students’ eventual careers. The three central competency areas are Writing Effectively, Thinking Critically, and Reasoning and Analyzing Quantitatively and/or Understanding the Scientific Method. Currently, courses in social and cultural diversity are one option for completing a fourth area. Students may take a “CD” designated course, complete an experiential or integrative learning experience, or take an additional course in one of the first three areas.

This proposal elevates learning about diversity and difference to a requirement. It expands the Critical Thinking category to emphasize critical thinking skills across three domains: Social Sciences, Humanities, and Diversity and Difference (3 credit hours in each). The total number of credit hours in Critical Thinking remains the same (12). The current fourth category would continue to include an approved experiential or integrative learning opportunity, signaling to students that an internship, study abroad, community-based learning course, or similar opportunity, is available and valuable as part of General Education (and students could still take an additional course from one of the three main competency areas). The proposal retains the current curriculum’s 36 total of credit hours, and its flexibility.

The proposed change responds to issues raised by UNF students following the racist incidents on UNF’s campus in fall 2017, and the concerns of faculty dissatisfied with how diversity was incorporated into the current competency-based curriculum. While most students currently take a “CD” course, this type of course is optional, suggesting that learning about diversity and difference lack importance. Students perceived this as conflicting with UNF’s stated values.

In fall 2017 and spring 2018, a draft version of this proposal was reviewed by the Chairs of all departments that contribute to the General Education program, who shared it with their faculty. It was also reviewed by the Academic Deans and the Provost. Feedback was positive and enthusiastic. In spring 2018, an ad-hoc committee of faculty (volunteers and those nominated by their chairs) worked to develop succinct, flexible, and appropriate learning outcomes that would guide the curriculum in the new area. Online comments on the draft proposal and learning outcomes were encouraged, as announced in the May 2018 Faculty Association Meeting. On September 6, 2018, the working group developed the following four learning outcomes:

 

Having completed courses in this area, students should be able to:

  • Critically reflect their own social positions or cultural backgrounds;
  • Investigate systems that produce social inequality or cultural difference;
  • Articulate the perspectives of others; and/or
  • Apply knowledge of diversity and difference to issues outside the classroom.

Pending approval of the revised General Education requirements by the Academic Programs Committee and Faculty Association, the General Education Council will work with faculty teaching courses carrying the current General Education Cultural Diversity (“CD”) attribute to ensure that these courses reflect the new outcomes. Courses that serve this new area of the General Education curriculum will need to be assessed based on current General Education Program Assessment procedures.

(Click here  for the program of study)