PULLMAN – There is still time to comment on the general education proposal that was unveiled earlier this semester.

Hour-long forums are being held at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m. on Wednesday in CUB 212. In addition to holding open forums, the committee is also accepting comments online. Comments will be accepted until Oct. 15.

Tom Tripp, head of the General Education Committee, said he has been pleased with the level of engagement across the university, but would like to hear from even more people.

“People are giving very thoughtful and constructive feedback,” he said, both in person and in online comments. At this point, he said, a consensus still has not emerged as to what people like or don’t like.

For instance, he said, some like the fact that the proposal only requires 34 credit hours, and other people hate it. (The current system requires 40 credit hours.) Some people like the fact that the proposal focuses on learning goals and foundational competencies, instead of content acquisition, and other people don’t.

In last week’s Faculty Senate meeting, several senators questioned why the new proposal drops the requirement for physical or natural sciences courses from three to one. That part of the proposal has also been criticized online and in the open forums.

According to Tripp, the committee did not start with the old general education program and then start subtracting, but instead tried to envision an entirely new program from scratch.

Guiding principles included that they be based on learning goals; be simple, yet flexible enough to work for all students, all majors and on all campuses; provide a coherent first year experience and culminate in a meaningful, integrative and applied capstone experience; be assessable.

With those principles in mind, as well as a goal of reducing credit hours, he said, the committee tried to look at the essentials. While the committee decided it was essential that students learn the basics of scholarly inquiry in four broad areas of discovery, he said, they did not think the hard sciences merited more credit hours at the expense of another requirement.

Everyone has courses or concepts that they think should be included, he said, “but by the time we’re done…we can easily have a list over 100 items long.”

Still, Tripp said, now is the time for people to ask these questions, speak out about what they don’t like and support the parts they do like. Especially support what they like, Tripp said, otherwise the next iteration of the plan might answer some concerns and raise others.

The General Education Committee has posted the full proposal, as well as sample class schedules and supporting documents on the General Education website. A synopsis of the proposal includes:
First-year Experience
First-year seminar (3 credits, limited to 35 students)
Foundational Competencies
Quantitative reasoning (3 credits)
Communication (3 credits)
Written communication (3 credits)
Ways of Knowing
Inquiry in the Natural and Physical Sciences (4 credits)
Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 credits)
Inquiry in the Humanities (3 credits)
Inquiry in the Creative Arts (3 credits)
Intercultural Engagement (3 credits)
Integrative and Applied Learning
Civic Engagement (3 credits)
400-level Integrative capstone (3 credits)