Gen Ed poll reveals varied faculty views

Illustration courtesy of Peter Drake

By Gelsey Plaza

The General Education Super Team (GEST), a committee striving to reformulate the General Education curriculum, recently created a survey to get feedback from faculty about the current structure. Introduced by Associate Professor of Computer Science Peter Drake at the faculty meeting on Nov. 7, the poll is still accessible and keeps accumulating results. It currently it has a total of 94 respondents out of the 153 faculty members.

“Our thought was that if we could find some questions about which the faculty is in overwhelming agreement, we could avoid spending time considering alternatives,” Drake said via email.

Through this poll, the faculty has provided valuable insight into the future of the requirements. GEST will be using this information to generate a new model for general education.

“We’ve now generated and received from other faculty a number of partial and complete plans for general education,” Drake said. “We’ll be examining these and continuing to poll the faculty as we hone in on a final design.”

According to the results thus far, a majority of the respondents believe that there should be some type of foreign language requirement continuing in LC’s new General Education plan. The majority of faculty think that the foreign language requirement should continue to be proficiency at the 201 level.

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and World Languages and Literatures Department Chair Matthieu Raillard supports the language requirement.  

“LC has always stood out due to its strong and diverse study-abroad programs, and our students have always shown great interest in being engaged, global citizens,” Matthieu said. “The ability to speak another language is a crucial tool, and we believe that language classes offer our student body an opportunity to develop not only their linguistic skills, but to become more culturally literate.”

Around 75 percent of faculty believe that there should continue to be some type of PE requirement, and 61 percent think that it should remain at two semesters.

Many faculty think that writing is an important component of the core course. However, faculty differed greatly in their views of whether source-based writing incorporating bibliographic research should be a component of the core course.

Faculty also had differing opinions about how important it is that quantitative data analysis be a large component of the core course; only 33 out of 92 faculty members felt strongly about its importance.

According to GEST Chair and Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities Katherine Fitzgibbon, the faculty are playing a large role in creating the final model.

“Faculty have submitted ideas for models, and we have generated some ourselves,” Fitzgibbon said via email. “We will be presenting these models to the community in the next couple of months and soliciting feedback in January/February on preliminary models, working toward identifying several ‘finalists’ in March to be voted on.”

While these changes are being voted on this academic year, they will not be implemented for a few years.

“This change wouldn’t take effect until 2019-20 at the earliest,” Fitzgibbon said. “We would need 2018-19 to work on a transition plan, prepare staffing, etc.”

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