The ongoing work of more than 100 faculty and staff to reform the general education curriculum at The University of Alabama got a boost recently with Dr. Erik Peterson named as an associate provost for general education.
In his role in the Office of Academic Affairs, Peterson will work closely with academic units across campus and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to implement changes to the University’s core curriculum. He will also partner with Dr. Chapman Greer, also recently appointed an associate provost for general education, in collaborating with the General Education Reform Steering Committee.
“Dr. Peterson is hitting the ground running in his new position, and he is helping general education reform at the University maintain momentum,” Dr. Jim Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “He will be a valuable and trusted member of the team as the finer details of curriculum implementation come into focus.”
Peterson and Greer were co-chairs, along with Dr. Andre Denham, of UA’s General Education Taskforce convened in 2018 to review UA’s general education experiences and develop a comprehensive plan connecting the learning goals of the students’ majors, the work of the Division of Student Life, and a curriculum that furthers the development of curious learners, critical and creative thinkers, as well as informed and engaged citizens.
“Reforming the general education at UA gives us a chance to create an experience that helps craft the next generation of learners and leaders and highlight the prodigious talents of our faculty. Moreover, it should plant a stake in the ground that The University of Alabama is an educational force, both in service of the state of Alabama and as a national leader in higher education,” Peterson said. “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of a team both firmly grounded in this institution’s rich traditions and simultaneously wants to innovate for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”
University of Alabama faculty passed a referendum this past November to update the general education curriculum. The updated core will reduce the number of required core credits and provide greater flexibility, allowing students to pursue double majors and/or add minors and electives, while also providing more opportunities for experiential learning.
Earlier this semester, the work of building out the new core curriculum was charged to the General Education Reform Steering Committee. The committee, with its 11 subcommittees, is comprised of about 115 faculty and staff from all areas of campus.
It is examining ways to introduce a new core while phasing out the old curriculum. Subcommittee co-chairs meet regularly with Greer and Peterson to get feedback and clarify goals. Subcommittees are expected to deliver initial recommendations by the end of May.
Recommendations from the various committees will be reviewed by Academic Affairs, and Greer and Peterson will oversee implementation.
Reporting to Dr. Luoheng Han, senior associate provost, Peterson has begun serving in the position but will continue teaching courses this semester as an associate professor of history.
More details on the updated general education core curriculum and recommended timeline for implementation can be found on the Office for Academic Affairs website.
Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, firstname.lastname@example.org