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Insights Home March 2013

Dr. Susan Davenport, Dean, Heavin School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Susan Davenport, Dean
Heavin School of Arts and Sciences


Gen Ed’s Next Generation
A new general education curriculum is coming

A new general education curriculum will greet students who enroll in the College's undergraduate programs after July 1, 2013.

According to Dr. Susan Davenport, dean of the Heavin School of Arts and Sciences, the courses in the College's revamped curriculum contemporize the traditional model and connect more to the meaningful, real world objectives of today's adult learners.

"The strength of the revised general education curriculum centers on its relevancy for 21st century students," said Davenport. "The new general education structure will serve to broaden perspectives, develop skills and facilitate students' participation in a more technologically sophisticated and diverse society."

The common core of most accredited bachelor's degree programs, general education requirements typically encompass half of the credits students must fulfill in order to graduate. Academes have long viewed "Gen Ed" requirements as a mandatory buffet of introductory, foundation-based courses that bolster students' core competencies and prime them for more in depth study later.

The new curriculum, still mindful of the traditional mainstays, integrates contemporary subject offerings on diversity, global literacy, ethical leadership and social responsibility and is threaded throughout the curriculum across all schools and at all levels of study.

Davenport and fellow proponents anticipate that the structure will breed a more global-minded learner whom employers want in their workforce. The curriculum will also better enable students to tailor their program to their own interests and degree pursuits. What is more, working adults may find that the new curriculum is more aligned with the competencies they already have in their arsenal, and all of the requirements are transfer-student friendly.

The New General Education Curriculum Structure
Students applying to the College after July 1 can expect their undergraduate general education requirements to be distributed across the following four categories (60 credits total):

1.) Intellectual and practical skills (15 credits)

This category will include course work in communication, information literacy, quantitative literacy and technological competency. This group also contains familiar foundational courses: English Composition I (ENC-101) and English Composition II (ENC-102), Statistics (STA-201) and Living in the Information Age (SOS-110). Credit requirements are as follows:

  • 3 credits in composition (ENC-101 English Composition I)
  • 3 credits in writing intensive course work (ENC-102 English Composition II)
  • 3 credits in math
  • 6 credits in intellectual and practical skills electives

2.) Human cultures and the physical and natural world through study in areas including the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, history, languages and the arts (18 credits)

Requirements in this category will encompass courses in the sciences, social sciences and humanities including interdisciplinary courses such as Global Environmental Change (ENS-314), War and American Society (HIS-356) and Philosophy of Religion (PHI-370). Credit requirements are as follows:
  • 3 credits in social sciences
  • 3 credits in natural sciences
  • 3 credits in humanities
  • 9 credits in human cultures and the physical world electives

3.) Personal and social responsibility (9 credits)

Requirements encompass diversity, global literacy, responsible global leadership and lifelong learning course work. This category includes: Cultural Diversity (SOC-322), Elements of Intercultural Communication (COM-335) and Ethics and the Business Professional (PHI-384). Credit requirements are as follows:
  • 3 credits in diversity/global literacy
  • 3 credits in responsible and ethical leadership
  • 3 credits in personal and social responsibility elective

4.) Integrative and applied learning synthesized across general and specialized disciplines. Courses in this category will be integrated throughout general education and capstone courses (18 credits).
    Course work in this category will encompass critical analysis and reasoning. These competencies will be demonstrated across interdisciplinary general education courses as well as in the students' area of study and capstone courses.

The revised general education requirements described above will not apply to students who enrolled at the College prior to July 1, 2013, though students will have the option to complete their course work under the new curriculum standards if they wish.

Davenport urges students who are considering this option to contact their academic advisor or visit the College's Academic Advising Web page to set up an appointment.

"Students who were enrolled in the College before July 1, 2013, will not have to consider the revised general education in their curriculum, though adult learners who have partially fulfilled their degree requirements may find it worthwhile to adopt it," said Davenport. "Any student who is interested in finding out more about the courses under the new general education curriculum is urged to speak to their advisor as these courses may easily fit into their remaining degree requirements."

The College's revised general education requirements are aligned with a national model and mapped to the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AACU) "Essential Learning Outcomes." All Thomas Edison State College students satisfying bachelor's degree programs at the College will complete 60 credits of general education requirements by demonstrating competency in general education electives as outlined by the AACU in the benchmark Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) outcomes. Students can visit to find out more.

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