The presentation of 94 general education courses to The University of Toledo Board of Trustees Academic and Student Affairs Committee April 10 represented the culmination of more than 18 months of work by faculty, Faculty Senate, department chairs and deans across the institution.
“This consolidation of UT’s core curriculum is something that this board has desired for some time, and I’m pleased to present the good work of so many across this University to you for your consideration,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said at the committee meeting.
“Starting in January of 2011, faculty and the Faculty Senate, with support from the Provost’s Office, worked very hard to establish core competency recommendations that integrated feedback we were receiving from the board, from several external constituencies, and from nationwide trends that said we needed to focus more attention on the incorporation and measurement of competency development,” said Dr. Lawrence Anderson-Huang, professor and chair of astronomy and physics, and president of Faculty Senate.
Dr. William McMillen, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who recommended approval of the changes to the president, said by whittling the number of general education courses down from several hundred, students were more likely to have shared experiences as they developed the crucial skills all UT graduates need to have.
“The question was, ‘What does it mean to have earned a UT degree?’” McMillen said. “By establishing five core competencies and asking all departments to resubmit general education courses framed around these skills, the answer to this question for UT graduates is more specific and better defined.”
UT’s five core competencies are:
• Critical and Integrative Thinking;
• Information Literacy;
• Personal and Social Responsibility;
• Scientific and Quantitative Literacy and Reasoning; and
“UT’s core curriculum was something that really hadn’t been reviewed for quite some time, and I think the long hours were well worth the result,” Anderson-Huang said. “But the work’s not done. By developing these competencies and the measurements associated with them, we will be able to evaluate whether courses are meeting students’ needs to learn these skills and will be able to adjust the course syllabi as needed.
“Furthermore, competency development should not be limited to general education courses at the elementary level. We expect to broaden the concept and track development throughout the student experience, culminating in graduation.”