Possible changes to come for general education requirements

The University is trying to make the general education requirements of all students more similar and the seven individual colleges more cohesive.   UVM is one of the only universities of its size to have colleges that are so independent, Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President David Maciewicz said. The focus of the Joint Committee of General Education is to make the general education requirements match the goals and missions of the University, not just that of the individual college.   “What do we aspire for all UVM students across the board? What makes a UVM education distinct?” Associate Provost and Co-chair of the Joint Committee on General Education Brian Reed said. The new general education requirements would teach every student skills that are stated in the UVM vision and mission statement, Reed said. The administration has been focused on all of the colleges having the same principles for a long time, Maciewicz said. However, some students said they would be displeased if there was a more unified curriculum throughout the University. “I don’t know why they would call for cohesion when the independence of each college is what makes the University of Vermont unique,” junior Victoria Barton said. Other students said that they didn’t know that the new proposals were in the works. “I had no idea,” junior Caroline Fenn said.  “As long as each college doesn’t lose what’s pertinent to it, I’m okay with it.” The committee has already created one model for changing the general education requirements and hope to have several to present to the Curricular Affairs Committee in early January, Reed said. “The world is changing rapidly and we need to ensure our graduates are broadly educated, adaptable and capable of succeeding,” an e-mail sent from the committee to the UVM community said. The goal is to present to the full Faculty Senate in March and then to the board of trustees on May 20, 2011.  If approved, the new general education requirements would be implemented starting with the graduating class of 2016, he said.   “We think this is really important,” Reed said. “It’s been rare that the University has been looking at universitywide curriculum.” In an effort to create a core mission of goals across the University, the committee has been holding engagement meetings to bring the topic to the attention of faculty, staff and students.   Over the course of the semester, the committee will hold 60 meetings with colleges and individual departments, as well as all residence halls in an attempt to get their opinions on possible changes. Students are encouraged to have their voice heard by taking the survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/L3RWHTC.