Tuesday, February 8, 2005
OU revising general education program
North Central Association (NCA) representatives will visit Oakland University’s campus Monday, Feb. 14, to assess progress made toward renewing general education and implementing assessment at OU. Since the NCA’s last site visit in 1999, faculty, administrators and students have been working to develop the components of a revised general education program that meets the needs of a rapidly changing society.
“Much has changed since the current general education program was conceptualized,” said Virinder Moudgil, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “There have been significant advancements in society and technology and in the way people live and carry out their careers. Employers today emphasize the importance of liberal studies, critical thinking, leadership and the ability to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
Oakland’s new general education curriculum strives to improve each student’s critical thinking, information literacy, communication and social awareness skills.
“Through an emphasis on important capacities that cut across the curriculum, students will further enhance their abilities to think critically, find and evaluate information, communicate effectively, and become productive citizens,” said Susan Awbrey, vice provost for undergraduate education.
Oakland’s new general education program will be comprised of three components: foundations, explorations and integration areas, which complement a student’s major. Students will have opportunities to integrate their learning through a knowledge application course and a capstone that create a unique opportunity for student to synthesize their knowledge and apply it to real-world problems.
“This integrated knowledge will form the basis for students to continue to learn and grow throughout their lives and help prepare them for productive lives of leadership and service,” Awbrey said. In addition, the new program focuses on enhancing student writing skills, and an expanded United States diversity requirement will provide students with a deeper understanding of racial, ethnic and gender diversity issues.
By introducing students to a rich and diverse base of knowledge, they will be better equipped with the tools necessary to lead fulfilling lives.
“Oakland is responding to the changing needs of society and of the workplace. The new general education program continues OU’s tradition of maintaining a distinctive undergraduate experience – the first element in Oakland University’s strategic plan and in its Vision 2010,” said President Gary Russi.
New freshman students enrolled at Oakland for fall 2005 and after will complete their program using the new general education requirements. Entering transfer students will begin the new program in fall 2007. Currently enrolled Oakland University students will graduate under the old general education requirements unless they elect to switch to the new general education.
A new general education Web site will launch in spring 2005 with useful tools for navigating new course requirements including a checklist for students and advisers.