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Reimagining General Education at UNO

One of the ideas that the team embraced at the General Education Institute this summer was the concept of a theme for general education to add coherence and focus to the program.  Having a theme could inspire innovative connections among general education courses and help students see connections among their courses.

 

We believe that a New Orleans theme can help our general education program take advantage of the immense resources found in our backyard. The idea of general education as an exploration of skills, knowledge, and experiences loosely or closely tied to New Orleans can allow students to

 

  • Take a deep dive into the culture, history, art, and issues facing New Orleans
  • Participate in experiential learning activities in appropriate general education classes that engage them in communities in the city or region
  • Make connections with other students that could support retention and student success efforts.

 

At the institute this summer, teams were asked to come up with a plan and present it to the other participants. Our presentation was received very positively; colleagues at other institutions felt that we possess an extraordinary resource in our city, and tying our general education program to the city makes a lot of sense. Something like “The New Orleans Experience” can add a unifying element to our general education program that could reap tremendous benefits to our students, to our institution, and to our city.