A new article on “The Value of a Shared Education” reflects on the importance of a common Gen Ed curriculum in higher eduation.
Judith Shapiro, former President of Barnard College, writes: “If we look at curricula, we see a trend toward proliferation. Courses and programs are constantly being added, while almost nothing goes away. Faculty members have felt a need, or desire, to have their teaching reflect the increasing accumulation of knowledge—in established fields, in relatively new fields, and in the interdisciplinary spaces between fields. This has led to a growing proportion of relatively narrow, specialized courses, creating a powerful centrifugal effect on the undergraduate academic experience.”
Curricular reforms are rather frequent on most college campuses, but they often involve tinkering with or adding to the Gen Ed core rather than reconceptualizing the common educational experience for undergraduate students.
Some recent curricular reforms have been grappling with digital research and teaching methods, prompting debates about how to incorporate digital approaches into new curricula.
My own university, Northern Illinois University, is currently going through a curricular reform process. So, this article may be of interest to NIU students and faculty members.
Judith Shapiro, “The Value of a Shared Education” appears in The Chronicle of Higher Education.