Recommendations of the General Education Task Force to the Faculty Senate

March 20, 1998

The framework for converting Wright State's General Education Program to a four-credit base proposed by the Task Force should make it possible to strike a much better balance among the three program goals articulated when the current General Education req uirements were instituted. Translation of this new structure into a fullblown program will provide the occasion for the faculty to reconsider what knowledge and skills will best prepare the University's graduates for the challenges and opportunities of th e twenty-first century. It will also serve as the catalyst for reacquainting the various constituencies comprising the Wright State community with the goals and purposes of General Education.

Among the benefits that would be derived from adoption of the Task Force's recommendations are:

  1. The number of General Education hours is reduced from 57 to 56 and the number of required courses is reduced from 17 to 14.
  2. The introduction of a College Component allows for greater flexibility in meeting the curricular needs of Wright State's six undergraduate colleges.
  3. The liberty of selecting the two additional courses in the arts, humanities and social sciences encourages students to explore their individual interests and to realize their personal goals.
  4. The faculty will have a chance to identify specific learning outcomes for each area of the program and to agree upon criteria for assessing them.
  5. The faculty will have an opportunity to ensure that the General Education curriculum addresses issues related to American diversity and internationalism in a systematic and meaningful fashion.
  6. The introduction of a limited number of alternatives to the core courses in the arts, humanities and social sciences will provide students with a richer educational experience while reducing reliance on very large lectures through the addition of new, smaller classes.
  7. With all General Education courses carrying four credit hours, beginning students will need to take fewer classes to enroll full time and will have greater flexibility in meeting their General Education requirements.
  8. The number of faculty having the opportunity to teach in the General Education program will be expanded.
  9. The combination of fewer required General Education courses, new alternative courses, and an increase in the number of faculty supporting the program will contribute to a reduction in the average section size and will provide more occasions for studen ts to enroll in small classes. This in turn will afford students more opportunities for intellectual growth and will increase the frequency of individual contacts between faculty and students.
  10. The proposed new framework is readily adaptable to a semester calendar.

Writing across the Curriculum

The proposed General Education Framework is designed to preserve the Writing Across the Curriculum program. The new structure will not affect the writing intensive science classes. All Great Books courses will remain Writing Intensive. Not all students wi ll take EC 200 or SOC 200. However, the Task Force is recommending that all non-western classes and all courses comprising the College Component be writing intensive. Thus students should be able to schedule at least four Writing Intensive courses with re lative ease.

Diversity and Internationalism

The Task Force proposes that, where feasible, the core courses and any alternative courses in Areas II, III, and IV (Cultural and Social Foundations, Human Behavior, and Human Expression) include substantial attention to American diversity or to internati onal issues. This recommendation is intended to ensure that American diversity and internationalism are incorporated into the General Education curriculum in a systematic and meaningful fashion. The Task Force believes that integrating them throughout the broad spectrum of issues addressed by the General Education program is the preferred approach.

Expanded List of General Education Courses

The Task Force recommends that departments and programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences be encouraged to propose alternatives to the core courses in Areas II, III, and IV. While we do not believe that it would be desirable to admit too many s ubstitute courses into the General Education program, the Task Force is convinced that making available a small set of alternatives to each of the core courses in these areas would significantly strengthen the program. This additional flexibility would al so assist students in achieving their educational goals and would result in greater equity in the way the University treats students who take General Education courses on campus and those who transfer such courses from elsewhere.

Conversion to a Semester Calendar

The Task Force was charged with proposing a General Education curriculum that would "be readily adaptable to a semester calendar". The recommended framework complies with this requirement. One way it can be converted to semesters is to change th e core courses in all areas except the Natural Sciences to three-credit semester courses, to combine three four-quarter-credit science courses into two four-semester-credit science courses, and to reduce the number of additional courses in Areas II, III, and IV to one. This approach maintains the relative balance within the General Education program while keeping the total number of equivalent credits nearly constant. (The resulting program totals 38 semester hours or 57 quarter hours.)

There would, however, be significant resources issues associated with a conversion to semesters. Perhaps the most salient is the implications of staffing a full-year of English composition.

Links to Other Portions of this Report

  1. Gen Ed Task Force Report: Introductory Summary
  2. Gen Ed Task Force Report: Recommendations - Overview [the document you are now viewing]
  3. Gen Ed Task Force Report: Recommendations - Details
  4. Gen Ed Task Force Report: Implementation
  5. Appendix: Charge to the General Education Task Force