Activity Report for Week of March 27 – April 2

Statewide General Education Steering Committee

The Statewide General Education Steering Committee met in Albuquerque on Friday to evaluate essential content and the question of whether to organize general education in New Mexico institutions of higher education around essential skills or essential content.  The committee decided relatively quickly that general education should be organized around essential skills.  This then led to a discussion of next steps and questions to address in designing a curriculum at the institutional level that will succeed in imparting essential skills to our students.  The questions that quickly came to the fore are the following:

  • Should courses be divided into two tiers to ensure that essential skills are both introduced and reinforced?
  • Should there be a common first year experience course?
  • Should there be a capstone course, associated with the major, in which students are asked to demonstrate mastery of essential skills?
  • How do we design a curriculum that ensures that students take courses outside their major?
  • How do we balance independence of institutions in designing a general education curriculum with the need to ensure that general education credits transfer seamlessly across the state?

The committee also revisited the essential skills identified at the previous meeting and trimmed the list by removing interdisciplinary skills from the list.  The list now consists of the following essential skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Personal and social responsibility
  • Quantitative skills
  • Information literacy

NMSU Faculty Senate Chair Stuart Munson-McGee presented definitions of these skills to the committee and the committee decided that these broad definitions provided sufficient guidance for the development of curriculum.  Further, the committee decided that the addition of sub-topics within essential skills would be left to the discretion of individual institutions.

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