General Education Reform

provost-dan-howardA Statewide General Education Steering Committee and an NMSU General Education Taskforce have been meeting for months to reform and revitalize general education at institutions of higher education in the state of New Mexico.  An early agreement reached by both groups is that general education would center on the acquisition of essential skills.  In the case of the statewide committee, five skills were identified: communication; quantitative; critical thinking; personal and social responsibility; and information literacy.

Another agreement reached by the statewide steering committee is that these skills would be mastered by taking courses in content areas.  The content areas under consideration by the statewide steering committee are: communication, the sciences, mathematics, humanities, human and behavioral sciences, and fine and creative arts.

The statewide steering committee, with good representation from the NMSU General Education Taskforce, spent part of the summer working on learning outcomes for each of the essential skills and each of the content areas.  Although these learning outcomes are still under active review and revision, it is important to begin receiving feedback from higher education faculty members across the state.  I encourage all NMSU faculty members to go to the Outcomes tab at and review learning outcomes relevant to your interests and discipline. You can comment on, and suggest revisions to, the learning outcomes by sending an email  My office will ensure that all your comments and suggested revisions are passed on to the group responsible for a particular learning outcome.  Please make sure that your message clearly identifies the essential skill or content area on which you are commenting.

A more purposeful general education curriculum should produce students with the skills essential for lifelong learning and for leadership in the community and the workplace. Few issues are more important to NMSU and its faculty and students than general education.  I encourage you to participate in this important reform effort.

With all best wishes,


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