General Education has not been substantially revisited at UArizona since 1998. The new General Education program has been designed to respond to faculty and student feedback and to align with the Arizona Board of Regents' (ABOR) General Education policy.
In the last two decades...
...important developments in teaching and learning have influenced our priorities, including:
- Interdisciplinary thinking;
- Reflecting, curating, and transferring learning from one environment to another (e.g. ePortfolios);
- Cultural and intellectual awareness, sensitivity, and fluency;
- Connecting students’ interests and aspirations (major) with what faculty agree UArizona graduates should know and experience.
We're changing how we teach General Education
To incorporate these developments and to make a more relevant experience for students, we're going to elevate and emphasize:
Moving toward a learning-focused curriculum reinforces our commitment as an institution to students, to their learning experience, to creating instructional environments that promote learning.
Moving away from segmentation and disciplinary silos and getting students to see the connections and integrate learning across the curriculum.
While knowledge is still critical, we’re shifting the focus slightly to emphasizing reasoning and ways of thinking. Core content knowledge is more of the focus in the major. Understanding different ways of thinking and reasoning is our new focus in GE.
We want to move students from just learning about a topic to asking questions about that topic and how it pertains to the current, not just the past.
What is explicitly expressed vs. what is implied. What is implicit gets at the core of the ways of thinking in the field, rather than focusing just on what can be explicitly known.
Developing a curriculum and an experience that is profoundly connected to students as life-long learners.
A SHORT HISTORY
The framework of the General Education Curriculum originated with the Faculty, through efforts initiated almost a quarter century ago, and the essential architecture of our University-wide General Education Curriculum has remained in place since 1997-98. A Task Force to review General Education (GE) at our University was convened in 2018 by the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs. Soon after the Gen Ed Review Task Force began work, the University-wide strategic planning process began to define the pillars of the forthcoming UA Strategic Plan. Education quickly emerged as a significant component of Pillar 1 in the Plan. During the Ideation stage of the planning process, it also became evident that a re-envisioning of General Education would be included amongst the initiatives enacted under Pillar 1.
Our new mission
Foster critical, innovative thinkers ready to lead cooperatively with interdisciplinary thinking & perspective-taking.
The new curriculum must produce an experience that includes:
- Student agency & exploration;
- Connected & scaffolded student learning;
- Relevance to & flexibility for a changing world;
- Ways of thinking & ways of knowing to contextualize content;
- Reflection on learning across the curriculum;
- Collaboration across disciplines;
- High quality teaching & engaged learning;
- Holistic assessment & periodic review of courses.