General Education Task Force Sets Mission, Timetable

  • November 8th, 2018

A new University of Alabama committee plans to lead a campuswide review of general education requirements.

The General Education Taskforce is charged with developing a plan that connects the learning goals of a major with the work of the Division of Student Life. In addition, the task force will look at “a curriculum that further supports the development of curious learners, critical and creative thinkers, and informed and engaged citizens.”

The task force’s  website includes a list of members as well as a broad timetable for the process. The chairs are Dr. Frederick Whiting, director of the Blount Scholars Program and associate professor of English, and Dr. Chapman Greer, clinical instructor of management and vice president of the UA Faculty Senate. The website also has a feature through which faculty can submit ideas and feedback.

“The General Education Taskforce has been meeting biweekly since it was formed in mid-September,” Whiting said. “The committee is  engaged in outlining an overall timetable for our work, reviewing UA’s current general education requirement (original rationales, current efficacy) and designing our research and reconnaissance agenda (soliciting feedback on experiences, expectations, and ideas from the various UA constituencies, review of the vast general education literature, survey of current models and practices nationwide). A fundamental part of our proceedings will be regular and transparent reporting on our research, deliberations, and recommendations.

“The committee members are extremely enthusiastic about the work we’re undertaking (as volunteering for a four-year, intensive committee assignment of this magnitude should suggest).  We are of a mind that a carefully designed, tested and implemented general education curriculum is an indispensable part of an education that prepares students to lead productive, creative, responsible and ultimately fulfilling lives in a rapidly changing world.”

The review will encompass current structures for general education requirements and involve surveys and listening sessions. Questions that the task force likely will examine include:

  1. What does the UA community expect all graduates to have gained from their undergraduate experiences at UA? What are the fundamental skills, abilities and behaviors that every UA student should develop as a result of completing the general education requirements?
  2. What are the purposes of a general education program?
  3. What is the process for revision, ratification, implementation, ongoing review, administration and assessment of a comprehensive plan for general education?

In addition to Whiting and Greer as co-chairs, task force members include:

  • Andre Denham, associate professor of instructional technology and president of the Black Faculty and Staff Association.
  • Robert Gaines, professor of communication studies.
  • Ansley Gilpin, associate professor of psychology and a member of the Arts and Sciences Teaching Hub.
  • Jeff Gray, professor of computer science and co-chair of Gov. Kay Ivey’s Computer Science Advisory Council.
  • Frankie Laanan, professor of higher education administration and member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities Advisory Board.
  • Kristin Maki, assistant professor of interior design.
  • Osiris Molina, associate professor of clarinet.
  • Hyunjin Noh, associate professor of social work.
  • Johnny Tice, clinical track assistant professor in nursing.
  • John Vincent, professor of chemistry and co-chair of the Faculty Senate’s academic affairs standing committee.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.