General education curriculum will undergo structural changes in 2018

By: Lilli Hime

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After rumors of a new general education program circulating the campus, it has finally been revealed that St. Edward’s University may see some changes as early as 2018.

Since St. Edward’s carries such a time-heavy general education program, it has snagged the attention of students and faculty alike. People are curious about what these changes might be and whether they’ll come soon enough to affect them.

While she is not at liberty to release the new proposed plan, Director of General Education Cory Lock, cleared up some of the speculation and explains the evolution of the program.

“We are developing a new general education program and I do anticipate it looking somewhat different than what we have now. Right now the timeline is for a Fall 2018 roll out date,” Lock said.

Lock wants to assure students that they are held to the bulletin they came in under, so the new program would only affect incoming students of Fall 2018. That is not to say students could not switch plans, if it were convenient with credits they already had.

The General Education Renewal Committee has been working collaboratively with its Advising Board to plan and revise three potential models. While nothing is set in stone, the committee has kept in mind the St. Edward’s mission statement as well as some universal goals during this process.

One goal is a substantial decrease in required hours of CULF classes as well as more flexibility to accommodate transfer students, those who hope to study abroad or those who are pursuing more than a single major.

Another goal is to implement high impact practices due to their proven effectiveness in making the St. Edward’s experience altogether more rewarding and relevant to the real world. This may come in the form of mandatory community involvement such as living learning communities, community based service learning or internships.

The most discussed objective though, is likely the Capstone changes. While the senior anticipated course is by no means being done away with, it will look very different.

“A model that we are strongly considering would be a capstone in the major where you do a final project in your major that is guided by you,” Lock said. “That would differ according to major. A political science major might write a paper but a theater major might write a one act play or someone interested in photography might have an exhibit.”

The committee and its advising committee includes a variety of faculty, alumni and student representatives to ensure a comprehensive view. The new model chosen will only be adopted if the faculty and Board of Trustees vote to support it. GERC has committed to keeping the process transparent by publishing any development and discussions online, where it also asks for feedback from all St. Edward’s affiliates to enhance the program. Student Government Association Sen. Andrea Ojeda commented on the importance of student involvement in the process.

“As students, we have to be proactive about what our general education is going to look like for future students who come in and I think that’s going to be our biggest role,” Ojeda said.

Senior Nicole Bray, explains her experience in general education programs.

“(CULF) forces you to learn about things outside your own area of study. You’re exposed to things you wouldn’t normally be. I feel like CULF classes really, for me, anyways, shape the person I am and my opinions on things. They don’t force you to feel a certain way but just expose you to new ways of thinking.”

With such a foundational program undergoing changes, student feedback is highly encouraged to make the evolving the best it can be. The website students can visit to see the potential models and give their feedback is sites.stedwards.edu/seugened/.