Addressing disconnects in gen ed (opinion)
In the 2022 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers, published earlier this month by Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research, provosts at 178 public, private nonprofit and for-profit institutions had quite a lot to say about general education. These results raise a number of key questions about the state of general education and the prioritization of resources, financial and otherwise, to support general education programs. What would it look like to invest in general education? At a base level, it would require viewing gen ed less as a series of requirements (the language used in the survey) and more as a coherent program with dedicated personnel drawn, in part at least, from the faculty and committed to program improvement.
Thinking about these different program elements carefully and investing in proper personnel and support creates opportunities to further engage faculty and highlight the intentionality that (hopefully) informs the program’s design and implementation. If we want to guarantee that the university lives up to the promises it makes to students about gen ed, it’s also important to incentivize and recognize instructors who are dedicated to general education teaching. Celebrating what students learn in gen ed is another important way to highlight the importance of the program.
We also ensure that we’re living up to our promises by undertaking thoughtful and robust assessment and program improvement efforts that engage instructors and other campus stakeholders in conversations about how best to support the success of our students. Throughout the provosts’ survey, there was a persistent disconnect between the perceived importance and the actual investment and resources dedicated to undergraduate education. Supporting gen ed doesn’t have to mean allocating a large amount of money, but it does require attention and intention.
Read full article at Inside Higher Ed