Committee Chair Discusses General Education Framework

PHOTO+%2F+HelloQuence+on+Unsplash

PHOTO / HelloQuence on Unsplash

At Piedmont College, students have to take classes from five different categories that are considered to be general education classes. These different categories are used to give students the opportunity to get a broad and well rounded education, while preparing them with skills for their futures.

Those categories are: (1) an individual who engages great questions and who seeks solutions informed by reasoning, (2) a member of a cultural group and who recognizes his/her own social/cultural/historical heritage, (3) a world citizen who appreciates the cultural contributions of other societies and who understands and appreciates other cultures, (4) a person who understands the broader natural world and (5) someone whose understanding transcends the academy and is informed by an appreciation for a greater good.

At Piedmont, students are required to take 46 hours of classes that meet the general education requirement. This requirement is similar to other schools like Piedmont. Shorter University has a requirement of 35 hours, Kennesaw State University has a requirement of 42 hours and Young Harris College has a requirement of 46 hours as well. 

“It’s important that students understand the reason for the general education curriculum and its benefits,” said Dr. Beth Lovern, Chair of the General Education Committee. “Knowing what our gen ed categories are will help students understand that these are the dispositions that we are trying to develop in Piedmont students as broadly educated citizens.”

The goal of the General Education Committee is to make obtaining the general education requirements easier for students. To make this goal a reality, the committee has made the Student Planning/Self-Service program easier for students to navigate. In addition to that goal, there have been preliminary proposals to reduce the requirements from the school. 

“What we are doing in the present is collecting faculty and student input on what would make gen ed easier to navigate, implement, and assess. Some of these discussions have included requests by various stakeholders to reduce the gen ed hour requirement,” said Lovern.

Students at Piedmont have mixed opinions about the general education requirements. Some enjoy taking these courses while others do not. 

“Personally, I like taking general education classes,” said freshman nursing major, Lindsey Chitwood. “They help to broaden our education and give us the opportunity to learn things not specific to our majors.”

Others, like freshman sports communication major Presley Field, feel they are a waste of time. 

“I don’t really like gen ed courses  because in my opinion they don’t contribute to our ultimate education goals and they waste time in trying to teach us in things that aren’t always useful in an adult setting,” said Field. “We go to college to study what we want, not have a well rounded education and that’s why you major in something.”

There are changes that can happen to the general education curriculum, but they will be very minor and not require a complete restructure of the curriculum. If there were to be changes in the future, there would be many steps that the committee would have to take in order to get any changes approved. 

“We are not able to change the existing gen ed categories because of our accrediting agency’s (SACS) requirements that the current gen ed model must stay in place for several more years. Any future changes to gen ed must be proposed through the Faculty Senate. Then such a proposal must be introduced, discussed and voted on by the entire faculty,” said Lovern.