Important Dates, Key Resources:
January 15, 2014:
Cluster proposals for Rippey funding due (to be followed by two more cycles of application in January 2015 and January 2016)
Dean's Call for Summer Planning Group ( PDF file)
General Education Teaching Spotlight
"I’m looking for the ones who light up. Who don’t just love animals, but are fascinated by them—who’ll watch them and say, ‘Oh, now that’s interesting,’” Associate Professor of Anthropology Frances White says. Many come to her Freshman Interest Group because they’re “animal interested,” often because they’ve watched television nature shows. White takes them to the animals in person and teaches them how to look: “In lecture class I can define and describe, say, dominance, social structures, matrilineage, but until you watch a fight or a displacement in the field, you don’t get it—it’s just information,” she explains.
Read more of "'Yes, And...': UO's Freshman Interest Groups Break Boundaries, Forge Connections" TEP’s Teach Blog. 15 May 2013
General Education Initiative
The College of Arts and Sciences is launching a three-year, General Education ‘Renaissance,’ which aims to drive general education reform from the grassroots up by supporting faculty proposals for new or redesigned courses by individuals, pairs or “clusters” of faculty. Proposals that allow students to experience General Education in a more coherent way—like proposals that thematically link multiple courses—and proposals meant to hone core skills of analysis, synthesis, and written and quantitative reasoning are particularly welcome. The call for proposals insists:
Our General Education curriculum should be a showcase for the kind of great teaching and learning that can thrive only in a research university. Courses of this kind provide many students with their first real exposure to what makes university level learning different from high school. Many students come alive intellectually from having taken an exciting General Education course. But all too often, General Education is treated as an afterthought by both faculty and students – as something to “get out of the way,” frequently at other, cheaper institutions or even in high school. The health of a public research university, and the vitality of its undergraduate program, depend on making the appeal of intellectual inquiry immediately apparent to students.
The Initiative invites not only creative pedagogy from the faculty clusters, but also renewed campus conversation about what makes an excellent general education course and a successful general education program—conversations that help us articulate what is unique and valuable about a UO degree. The Undergraduate Council established the purpose of general education and the criteria for group satisfying courses in proposals approved by the Faculty Senate between Fall 1999 and Spring 2004. As UO students negotiate coursework designated as fulfilling writing, arts and letters, social science, science, mathematics, multicultural, and foreign-language requirements, the University believes they “develop an understanding of and appreciation for”:
- the centrality of effective communication and language facility,
- the moral foundations of human interaction,
- the nature of the historical past and its relationship to the present,
- the diversity of human experience through the study of various cultures,
- the importance of modern sciences and technology,
- and the fundamentals and interrelationship of the human mind and body.
As we take stock of the curriculum and add fresh energy and focus to the core experiences of our students, CAS, the Undergraduate Council, and TEP suggest these opening questions for consideration, and welcome more questions, more ideas, and examples of best practice from the excellent faculty who define the value of a UO education with every class:
(1) How do we communicate the nature and value of the core curriculum to students? How do they perceive the transition from general education courses into a major? Do they see themselves as sharing a meaningful, intellectual common experience?
(2) What does it mean for our undergraduates to be at a major research university? What does research-led teaching look like in a general education course?
(3) What are the characteristics of excellent general education courses?
(4) Can creative approaches boost student learning in these courses? How would we know?
(5) Is the faculty satisfied with the structure of our general education requirements? Do these requirements still reflect our best thinking about what a core liberal arts education looks like?
(NOTE: The below links will open in a new browser tab or window)
Learn More about the UO programs featured at the "Best of UO General Education" Event:
- The Department of Comparative Literature
- A feature story on COLT's undergraduate journal, nomad
- The Science Literacy Program (SLP)
- Daily Emerald video report on the SLP
Annotated Bibliography of key articles on general education reform, teaching practices in general education courses, and student and faculty perceptions of general education. ( PDF
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General Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities: provides links to numerous resources, publications, and events on general education reform and effective teaching practices for general education courses. The AAC&U has been at the forefront of general education initiatives since the 1980s, and its site is a significant online hub for work on general education in higher education.
General Education, LEAP Campus Toolkit: presents numerous examples of innovative general education programs at different universities and colleges across the United States, in addition to basic tools for design and assessment of general education programs. The site is based on the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative that “champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.”
The Journal of General Education: JGE is published by Penn State University Press and is the leading center of scholarship and research on issues in general education. As noted at the site, “JGE features articles on innovative methods in teaching and assessment, profiles of exemplary general education programs, case studies of successful curriculum development efforts, and reviews of books and monographs related to general education.”