by Rebecca Cooper
The possibility of making changes to the general education requirements is expected to be a hot topic this year.
“This is all under consideration right now,” said Zandra Wagoner, general education program director. “There have been lots of informal discussions and there will continue to be further formal and informal discussions throughout the year about reorganizing various parts of the general education requirements.”
The general education committee will meet for the first time this semester to discuss proposals to change the requirements on Sept. 20. A final decision is not expected until summer at the earliest, Wagoner said.
“Changing anything within the university is a long process,” said John Gingrich, dean of arts and sciences. “Trying to make this live and help students be prepared for lifelong learning takes a lot of time to figure out.”
The only formal proposal the committee has seen would slightly change the current requirements, Wagoner said.
“In general we would keep most things the same,” Gingrich said. “In a sense there are two possibilities. The first possibility is to keep G.E. just as it is. The other possibility is slightly changing the program, but we do not want to reevaluate the entire program.”
The current proposal includes requiring students to take Core 320 or 340, not both like the current requirements. Many students cannot get into these classes until their senior year, Gingrich said.
“By the time they are in their senior year, they are tired of studying and want to work on their senior projects, not a G.E. class,” he said. “We want students to have a significant experience of interdisciplinary work, even though it’s not always popular with the students. We’re trying to get students to bring various fields together and make connections into their own life.”
Lowering the required units for graduation is another possibility of the proposal, because some people on campus think general education is too big, Gingrich said. Another part of the proposal is changing the general education requirements for transfer students.
Bringing the requirements for on-campus and off-campus centers closer together is also being considered, Gingrich said.
“When our accrediting body WASC last visited us they suggested we look at this matter,” he said. “We had already been considering changes, but they provided us the push to seriously look at this issue and consider the reorganization.”
The last time the University of La Verne began reevaluating the entire general education program was in 1990. They did not agree on an acceptable proposal until 1995, Gingrich said.
“Frankly I do not think it is necessary to completely reevaluate and redo the program,” Gingrich said. “It is difficult to cut general education, especially in the area requirements. I think we need to do a better job of educating our students about why we have G.E. requirements and why we think these courses are important.”
After the general education committee approves a proposal, it will be sent to the faculty assembly. The faculty assembly will then approve, disapprove, postpone or modify the proposal, Gingrich said.
“The G.E. committee wants a really strong proposal to take to the faculty assembly that isn’t changed 45 times before a final decision is made,” Gingrich said. “We’re proud that our G.E. reflects the university mission statement, which is a commit to values, community and diversity, lifelong learning and service.”