ERIC Number: ED216655
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Reforming General Education: A Survey.
Klein, Thomas; Gaff, Jerry
The nature of program changes taking place in undergraduate general education and factors that affect curricular change were addressed in a survey. A sample of 272 colleges and universities that were conducting serious review or revision of their undergraduate general education programs were sent questionnaires, and 139 responses were received. The majority (58 percent) were four-year colleges with predominantly undergraduate emphases, but 14 percent were community colleges, and 28 percent had several graduate programs. Attitudes toward general education at 71 percent of the schools had become more favorable during the last three years. Eighty-two institutions recently adopted a curricular revision or had a specific proposal before the faculty. Five related aspects of changes in the general curriculum discussed are: curricular structure, subject matter content, skills that are the explicit aim of instruction, the qualitative character of the program, and the amount of change represented by new programs. Two important structural features are the number of hours of general education required for graduation and its proportion of the total curriculum and the amount of prescription. Requirements in the humanities, arts, natural sciences, and social sciences were increased by 32 to 52 percent of the institutions. Skills that received explicit attention were writing (99 percent of the programs), mathematics (82 percent), critical thinking (79 percent) and problem solving (72 percent). Qualitative changes were efforts toward integration, global studies, a four-year course of study, and nonlecture pedagogy. It is suggested that overall program changes are just beginning. A questionnaire is appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Basic Skills, College Curriculum, Course Content, Curriculum Design, Curriculum Development, Curriculum Evaluation, Educational Change, Educational Objectives, General Education, Graduation Requirements, Higher Education, Liberal Arts, Logical Thinking, Problem Solving, School Surveys, Undergraduate Study
Association of American Colleges, 1818 R Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association of American Colleges, Washington, DC. Center for General Education.