Solutions for Higher Education engages in deeper reflection of critical issues in the world of colleges and universities.
In Episode 6, President Scott L Wyatt and Professor Steve Meredith discuss the importance of General Education requirements at universities and the goal of developing engaged citizens.
As a result of Southern Utah University’s global partners, Wyatt has seen the way General Education is treated around the world. The requirement for General Education courses as part of a college degree is almost solely found in American institutions.
By incorporating a more liberal, broad-based curriculum, Wyatt hopes to develop more creative, culturally-diverse people of every major. While it lives primarily in America, the idea of General Education is beginning to erode. Legislators across the country are questioning the worth of a General Education course with hundreds of students in attendance and no time for questions or meaningful discussions. It makes more financial sense to have one professor record a lecture and share that material with students in the entire higher education system.
The only solution to this problem with General Education courses is to move away from lecture-style, one faculty vs. hundreds of students format of teaching. By developing something more meaningful, the finest faculty members will have the chance to engage with a small group of students to give them a wonderful, integrated general education experience that is more than listening to a lecture. It’s pulling different disciplines together and building a mentoring connection between the expert and the student, turning both into learners.
SUU has already taken steps to enhance the General Education curriculum by developing the Jumpstart GE Program. In this program, students take one year and focus on an integrated curriculum which allows for a more synergistic learning environment.
General Education is a fundamental piece of higher education that stretches a student beyond the narrow field that she or he is studying. It is the bedrock of American higher education.
If universities don’t re engage with General Education, the courses will eventually become a recorded lecture played on repeat.
Listen to Episode 6 here: https://www.suu.edu/presidentspodcast/