Revision of general education program discussed at A-Senate meeting

Melissa Bloem/Staff Photographer Provost Gary Shapiro gives the Provost report during the Academic Senate meeting Tuesday.

The idea of revising the current general education program was introduced at Tuesday's Academic Senate meeting.

Students are currently required to take University Program classes and degree requirement classes. These classes can't count twice for requirements. The University Program has four groups that students are required to take courses from: Group I: Humanities, Group II: Natural Sciences, Group III: Social Science and Group IV: Integrative and Area studies. Each group has two or three subgroups. In addition, degree requirements vary depending on the type of degree.

General Education Director George Ronan gave a presentation of the general education implementation, explaining the current general education program requires about 42 credits, and the revised program would require about 48.

"I don't anticipate any bumps along the way," Ronan said.

The general education requirements make up one-third of the required credits for undergraduate students.

Ronan showed a survey done by the American Association of Colleges and Universities that said colleges should place more emphasis on the development of the skills that come from general education courses.

Ronan said 65 percent of universities have a model similar to Central Michigan University.

The process of revising the program takes input from administrators, faculty members and students.

"A lot of work goes into revising the general education program," he said.

Ronan plans to have the implemented revised program in effect by 2014.

"We're also discussing the possibility of decreasing the amount of UP credits to 24," Ronan said.

According to a previous Central Michigan Life article, it has been suggested that students enrolling at CMU in fall 2014 wouldn't have to fulfill the IV-A UP requirement.

The issue of CMU being a safe campus was also raised during the meeting.

"The campus is safe compared to most other campuses in Michigan," Provost Gary Shapiro said. "It is not immune to the criminal activities that occur everywhere."

Shapiro said the university is trying to reassure the public that CMU is a safe campus.

The idea of improving CMU's online education courses was briefly discussed during the meeting. Senators were able to discuss questions or concerns regarding the current state of online education.

"We need to decide as a university what we think, what we value and how we're going to move forward with online education," said Senator Melinda Kreth, an English literature professor.

University President George Ross was unable to attend the meeting because he was speaking to the House Appropriations sub-committee on higher education in Lansing.