Redesigning our General Education Curriculum
Monday, February 24, 2020
One of the strengths of UGA undergraduate education is its strong emphasis on general education (or “core” classes) that transcend specific disciplinary boundaries and focus on the development of our students as well-rounded scholars.
Our current general education curriculum has consistently been recognized for this depth and breadth, such as by receiving an “A” grade in the “What will they learn?” survey by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Indeed, a strong general education curriculum often distinguishes US higher education from that offered across the globe.
UGA’s current general education curriculum was implemented in 2008 and requires students to complete coursework in foundational areas like Mathematics and Writing (9 credit hours), Sciences (7-8 credit hours), Quantitative Reasoning (3-4 credit hours), World Language and Culture, Humanities and the Arts (12 credit hours) and Social Sciences (9 credit hours). As required by policies of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG), this curriculum meets or exceeds the general education requirements for all USG schools.
Over the last year, USG has led multiple discussions to determine how to update its general education curriculum. First, USG brought together a group of faculty, administrators and industry leaders in a design committee to develop the broad shape and scope of a contemporary general education curriculum. Subsequently, a second group of faculty and administrators from across the 26 USG institutions were identified as the implementation committee and charged with developing a framework to implement the general education design principles into a revised general education curriculum. Associate VP of Instruction, William Vencill, and I served on the implementation committee.
Based on feedback from these groups as well as input received from other constituents, the USG recently released a framework for its new general education curriculum.
The major change to the curriculum is the arrangement of the 60 hours of the General Education curriculum into three zones:
- 33 hours in a 'core elements' zone which includes 3 hours in oral communication and 3 hours in a data/digital fluency
- 9 hours in a new 'exploratory' zone
- 18 hours in a 'field of study' zone (what we currently call Area VI)
This framework was presented as an information item in the last meeting of USG’s Board of Regents, and it is anticipated that the regents will vote on this revised curriculum in a future meeting.
Once the framework is approved by the Board of Regents, it will then reviewed by the General Education sub-committee of the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) here at UGA. They will then craft a general education curriculum that meets the USG framework. The UCC proposal will then have to be approved by University Curriculum and University Council before it can be adopted at UGA.
While you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the General Education sub-committee once the UGA version of the framework has been drafted, I would also encourage you to view the USG’s revised general education framework here, and provide your feedback directly to the USG by completing the feedback form available here.
A strong general education curriculum is fundamental to our student’s overall and long-term success. Changes to this core curriculum will also touch upon all our work – from academic advising to various course offerings and from the design of the upper division curriculum in every major, to possibly meeting the accreditation standards in various disciplines.
I will continue to keep you updated on discussions around the general education redesign. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about these conversations and changes. You can write to me at: email@example.com
Vice President for Instruction