General education is our nation’s largest higher education program. Practically every student is required to meet some “gen. ed.” requirements. The current common approach to general education, a check-off system emphasizing breadth of coverage prior to and separate from a major, is inadequate to develop the skills and capacities students need and society values. This approach too often results in uncoordinated coursework that does not directly address students’ interests and needs, does very little to develop proficiencies, and is unclear about results.
In January, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) published General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement. That document provides a framework for designing and evaluating curricula and programs. The five principles in the framework—Proficiency, Agency and Self-direction, Integrative Learning and Problem-solving, Equity, and Transparency and Assessment—suggest a new and different approach to the undergraduate experience, beginning with general education. This webinar introduces and explains the framework and will include examples of its principles and suggestions for its use.
About the Presenter
David C. Paris is a Senior Scholar at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). From 2013 until August he served as Vice President for Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons (ILGC) at AAC&U. In that role Paris led AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) initiative, which aims to develop and pilot pathways for general education that focus on proficiencies and on students’ engagement in work that allows assessment of their demonstrated accomplishments in inquiry- and problem-based learning—“signature work.” He was the primary author and editor of General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement, which provides principles and guidelines for reforming undergraduate education.