BGSU’s revision of General Education requirements aided
Why are General Education requirements being revised? How is the consulting firm Keeling & Associates assisting this process?
BGSU has hired Keeling & Associates to facilitate the development and implementation of planning activities for the revision of General Education at BGSU, also known as BG Perspective (BGP).
We anticipate this revising process will result in the creation of new courses, including interdisciplinary courses that enable students to link their academic learning experiences with civic, social, scientific and humane problems and challenges in meaningful ways.
Several recent accomplishments and trends – such as the revision of learning outcomes and the University-wide strategic planning efforts – indicate this is an opportune time to engage in a renewal of the 30-year old General Education curriculum.
In addition, this revision will address the difficulty of the lack of alignment between current general education requirements and Arts & Sciences group requirements, which complicates advising and confuses students.
Who is Keeling & Associates?
Over the past five years, Keeling & Associates, a comprehensive higher education consulting firm, has worked with more than 25 U.S. colleges and two statewide systems to develop and build capacity to assess general learning outcomes.
The project leader for BGSU is Dr. Richard Hersh, K&A senior consultant, who served as Provost at the University New Hampshire and at Drake University, and then as President of both Hobart-William Smith Colleges and Trinity College. He also served on the National Panel for Greater Expectations, the landmark report on liberal education by AAC&U. In addition to his work with K&A, he now leads the College Outcomes Project, funded by the Engelhard Foundation, to develop a broader portfolio of learning outcomes that reflect holistic student learning.
Dr. Richard Keeling, principal of K&A, led the collaborative development of the “Learning Reconsidered,” “Learning Reconsidered 2” and “Assessment Reconsidered” programs. He is a co-founder of the International Center for Student Success and Institutional Accountability.
At this time, the two professionals also are assisting Harrisburg University, Boston College and Humboldt State University with similar projects. (See their website at www.keelingassociates.com)
What is the timeline for progress?
A year-long process, the revision is highlighted by a visit from Keeling & Associates to BGSU on January 20-21. They will issue a report of analysis and recommendations and return in February to present their suggestions and plans for implementation.
In the meantime, BGSU officials will continue with ongoing work to improve aspects of General Education, such as improving emphasis on Values in Action and developing electronic portfolios as a means of assessment.
The K&A report of analysis and recommendations will be widely distributed to major groups and committees responsible for curriculum, including college councils and Faculty Senate. Opportunity for feedback and discussion will take place in March and April.
An expanded committee – to include representatives of Undergraduate Council, BG P Advisory Committee, and CAA – will be formed to receive the report from K&A. This committee will prepare a proposal to revise the General Education curriculum, for submission to Undergraduate Council in September 2009. Any changes approved by Undergraduate Council will be reviewed by CAA for possible consideration by Faculty Senate. The Arts & Sciences Council will submit its final proposal to make corresponding changes in group requirements, also in fall semester.
What will the January visit entail?
The campus visit on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 20-21 will include structured interviews by Keeling & Associates with faculty, academic leaders, staff, students and administrators. Among those will be the seven college councils, Student Affairs Council, Provost Cabinet, Faculty Senate, Committee on Academic Affairs, Undergraduate Council, Deans Council, BG Perspective Committee, and others.
Their intent is to learn more about BGSU academic traditions, policies and governance; to ascertain various views of general education requirements; and discuss with faculty their professional development needs regarding general education.
What is the expected outcome of their assistance?
Keeling & Associates will prepare a summary of findings and develop specific, strategic recommendations for review by the BGSU community. Their intent is to facilitate a substantive and meaningful revision of the structure, guidelines and academic requirements for the General Education curriculum.
The expertise that K&A brings to the project furnishes BGSU with knowledge of best practices from universities around the country. We anticipate the University will gain a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum and make adjustments accordingly. Updating and enhancing the General Education curriculum reinforces BGSU’s efforts to provide students with a premier learning environment.
How can we assure BGSU benefits from their input?
Responsibility for action on the report rests with the campus community. Discussion and feedback on proposed changes and additions to the General Education curriculum will be welcomed. The revising process may result in significant alterations to the program, although we need to recognize that any change in curriculum and courses must still allow the University to remain in compliance with the state Transfer Modules.
All BGSU students take BG Perspective classes, and the program is grounded in the awareness that a wide range of skills and knowledge are required for them to enjoy successful, satisfying lives in the 21st century. The revision of the General Education curriculum should retain that focus on educating students in liberal studies and continue to promote an academic experience grounded in ethical integrity, reflective thinking and social responsibility.