The New Mexico State University General Education Taskforce has largely finished its work, which over the past few months has concentrated on bringing NMSU’s general education curriculum in line with the new state requirements scheduled to go into effect in the fall of 2019. The curriculum model that will be recommended to the Faculty Senate in the Fall of 2018 can be found here.
Under this new model, the number of required general education hours drops from 35 to 31 distributed across six content areas. A key feature of the new curriculum is a first-year seminar (exciting name to be determined soon) that all students must take, preferably in their first semester. The first-year seminars will focus on a complex interdisciplinary problem, will be small in size (unless team taught), and will be taught by tenure track or college track faculty members. This new feature of general education will ensure that all students get to know a regular faculty member early in their career at NMSU, in small settings that eliminate anonymity and encourage closer acquaintances.
Because developing a large number of first-seminars will take some time, the current plan calls for a two- to four-year phase-in, during which students who cannot get into a first-year seminar will be required to take one additional content area course, from any of the six content areas from which they have not taken two or more courses.
Another key feature of the new general education curriculum is its focus on five essential skills: communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information and digital literacy. The rubrics for the essential skills can be found here. At least three of these essential skills will be associated with each general education course.
The new state general education requirements were developed over the course of more than two years by a taskforce comprised of faculty and administrators from across the state. The report of this taskforce can be found here, and the rules implementing the recommendations of this taskforce can be found here. Public input on the rules is available until May 11 and a public hearing on the rules will take place at the Higher Education Department in Santa Fe on May 16, from 3-4 p.m.
I thank the members of the NMSU General Education Taskforce for their good work. They, too, have met for more than two years, and they have played an important role in shaping the general education discussion at the state level. It has been a privilege to work with them.
With all best wishes,