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Reimagining General Education at UNO

Reimagining General Education at UNO - Introduction

As many of you know, UNO’s general education program had been in place for many years when it was substantially revised in a compressed timeline in advance of the 2015 SACS visit. The General Education committee was reconstituted in early 2013 and several major changes to the program followed in less than two years: revision of learning outcomes; drastic reduction of the course menu; and implementation of assessment measures at both the course and program levels.  Focus groups conducted in Spring 2015 with faculty who taught in the program indicated dissatisfaction with the level of faculty involvement in reform efforts, and a desire to revisit learning outcomes and methods of assessment.

In June 2018, a team of faculty from the current General Education committee, led by Dean Kim Martin Long, attended the 2018 American Association of Colleges & Universities Institute on General Education and Assessment at the University of Utah.  Our goal in participating in this week-long conference was to immerse ourselves in the current scholarship and best practices on general education so that we could bring engaging, transformative ideas back to campus as part of a radical reconsideration of our own program.  We are excited about what we learned and eager to share some of these successful approaches and practices with colleagues.  

At the institute we developed a general timeline for revising our General Education program over the next three years.  Plans for the Fall 2018 semester include starting the conversation on campus by sharing some of the more relevant and inspiring ideas from the Institute while soliciting your participation and feedback through a series of very short newsletters.  Through these newsletters (select specific topics from the tab above), we are hoping to share new ideas and practices, and provide links to readings, videos, and other resources for deeper engagement.  We encourage you to respond in various ways, such as an online forum, informal gatherings, focus groups, and direct feedback. Stay tuned for more details as these are arranged.

Towards the end of the semester we plan to solicit ideas specifically about what a graduate of UNO should know or be capable of, etc. This data will form the basis of the new General Education learning outcomes that will be drafted early in the spring semester.