General Education Review
In the fall of 2020, Arkansas Tech University's General Education Committee began a multi-semester process to review and update its General Education program. Faculty input is crucial to this process, and this website is designed to help gather feedback, establish goals, and communicate progress.
Among our initial tasks are to address concerns expressed in the recent Arkansas Department of Higher Education review of ATU's General Education program as well as better align the program with current Higher Learning Commission standards, national best practices, and ATU's mission and vision.
Please join us in this process to review and update General Education at ATU.
Accreditation Requirements and Best Practices for General Education
A recent review of ATU's general education program by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education suggested that our process begin with rethinking general education "less as a collection of courses that teaches content" and more as "a cohesive program of transferrable skills." Course work rather than the course as a whole needs to be aligned with learning outcomes and a coherent, clearly articulated, general education rationale.
Higher Learning Commission guidelines for general education include additional requirements that must be addressed:
3.B. The institution offers programs that engage students in collecting, analyzing and communicating information; in mastering modes of intellectual inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments.
- The general education program is appropriate to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution. The institution articulates the purposes, content and intended learning outcomes of its undergraduate general education requirements.
- The program of general education is grounded in a philosophy or framework developed by the institution or adopted from an established framework. It imparts broad knowledge and intellectual concepts to students and develops skills and attitudes that the institution believes every college-educated person should possess
- The education offered by the institution recognizes the human and cultural diversity and provides students with growth opportunities and lifelong skills to live and work in a multi-cultural world.
- The faculty and students contribute to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge to the extent appropriate to their offerings and the institution’s mission.
HLC best practice guidelines for general education additionally recommend the following:
- A general education program that continues in some way throughout the student's undergraduate career
- A general education capstone in the senior year
- Goals that appear as markers in specific courses.
The Association for General and Liberal Studies Exemplary General Education Awards standards advocate moving away from the view of education as a simple act of passing a static body of knowledge from faculty to students. Great general education programs make a commitment to a set of collectively-practiced, ongoing activities:
- Making institutional choices about the most important goals for student learning and
defining the learning in terms of desired outcomes;
- Developing a shared faculty commitment to actions such as high impact, active learning
strategies and faculty development designed to increase student achievement;
- Making informed judgments about student achievement and the impact of various general
education program support processes; and
- Ensuring continuous improvements in the educational program.
Programs undergoing recent general education reviews also report initiatives for process transparency, professional development, co-curricular experiences, alternative paths for transfer students, and establishing goals that meet the needs of a changing world.
Finally, the general education curriculum must adhere to ATU's institutional mission: "ATU is dedicated to student success, access, and excellence as a responsive campus community providing opportunities for progressive intellectual development and civic engagement. Embracing and expanding upon its technological traditions, Tech inspires and empowers members of the community to achieve their goals while striving for the betterment of Arkansas, the nation, and the world."
General Education Feedback Form
Please add your ideas to the General Education process. Put your suggestions in the form below and they will be reviewed by the General Education Committee. Name and email are not required to submit feedback. If you do not provide identifying information your submission will be anonymous.
General Education Workshops
Fall 2020—Faculty Workshops to Discuss Gen Ed Program Review and Gather Feedback
- On November 17 and 18, 2020, the General Education Committee conducted workshops via WebEx to gather feedback and ideas from ATU faculty, administration, and staff who are stakeholders in the General Education process.
- The results of these workshops are compiled here: Workshop Feedback
Spring 2021—Determine Revised List of Gen Ed Goals Based on Faculty Input
- Phase 2 of the general education program review process is to continue this discussion in the academic departments and compile their feedback to update ATU’s general education goals.
- Feedback Form - Please follow directions on the form to complete and submit before January 20, 2021.
Fall 2021-Spring 2022—Realign Gen Ed Curriculum based on Revised Goals
Fall 2022—Revised Gen Ed Program Presented to the University for Implementation
Spring 2023-Fall 2023—Phase in Revised Gen Ed Program and Curriculum
Explore for more information on ATU's current general education committee, curriculum, and assessment: