General education is integral to the student experience in higher education. It provides the broad foundation for student learning and preparation in the academy and throughout life. To deliver the best experience for students as they prepare for their futures in an increasingly complex world, East Tennessee State University’s General Education Advisory Committee (GEAC) made a formal recommendation in fall 2022 to begin a faculty-led process for the redesign of general education at ETSU.
General Education Redesign Task Force
August 2023 Update
After reviewing current best practices in General Education redesign and examining exemplar models from other universities, the Task Force determined that identifying a common purpose and set of outcomes for General Education was essential for creating a cohesive General Education curriculum.
The Task Force sought input from faculty, staff, and students in the process of creating clear statements concerning first the purpose of General Education, and then the competencies and learning outcomes that General Education should instill. The General Education Task Force appreciates all the feedback it received. The Task Force reviewed each comment, reflected on them carefully, discussed them during meetings, and made changes to those guiding principles where appropriate.
With competencies and learning outcomes in hand, during Summer 2023 the Task Force reviewed dozens of General Education curricula from among peer institutions as well as from several institutions that have received national attention for the quality of their general education programming. This research provided a platform for each member of the Task Force to devise their own General Education curriculum for ETSU, which would reflect the strengths of our institution as well as incorporate best practices.
From these multiple proposals, the Task Force identified common themes, discussed perceived strengths, and gradually honed in on a proposal for General Education at ETSU of which they hoped everyone would feel proud. During late Summer they began sharing the proposal with offices across campus, from whom they received encouragement and support. The slides from that presentation are now available.
The biggest priority for the Task Force for the upcoming weeks is to solicit more comments and feedback from across the ETSU community. They will be reaching out to departments, colleges, and other stakeholders so they can share with them the details of the proposal. They are keen to hear all ideas concerning unintended consequences, overlooked opportunities, or potential obstacles to success. Simultaneously, the Task Force is in the process of creating several subcommittees to continue developing key aspects of the proposal.