Temple reviews General Education program to ensure a robust curriculum
The university is collecting feedback from the Temple community about its General Education program to discover what’s working well and what can be improved.
As part of its mission to ensure student success, Temple is reviewing its General Education program, which will help the university enhance the curriculum.
Currently, General Education comprises 11 required courses for all undergraduates. These classes span a broad range of disciplines: writing, intellectual heritage (the humanities), quantitative literacy, science and technology, race and diversity, the arts, human behavior, U.S. society, and global society. The goal of this program is to provide students with a breadth of foundational knowledge complementing the depth offered in their majors, minors and certificates.
“We want students to see General Education as an opportunity to take new classes and learn new things,” said Dustin Kidd, director of General Education and professor of sociology. “The skills it offers—such as critical thinking and communication—are what employers are looking for and bridge across academic programs. General Education gives people the ability to pivot throughout their careers and the capacity to be informed citizens and make important decisions to serve their communities. It helps to form the whole person in important ways.”
“A well-constructed General Education program, in addition to providing core knowledge, gives students the opportunity to explore,” added Dan Berman, vice provost for undergraduate studies. General Education is built to allow students to make choices."
Temple is seeking open-ended feedback from the university community about the General Education program to use as a starting point for collecting data. “This review process will allow us to look at what we have, identify what’s working well and get input on how to improve the system,” said Kidd.
In addition to the survey, the task force and steering committees for this initiative will visit classes, meet with academic advisors and create open forums for students to provide further feedback.
These groups already see opportunities to enhance the General Education curriculum. For example, in the current structure of the program, courses don’t have a strong disciplinary identity, so students often aren’t sure which department offers which class. Additionally, the university would like to examine current patterns and trends in General Education, explore how the program impacts transfer students and consider potentially adding academic tracks or changing the mix of courses.
“Students often view General Education as having to fit these classes into their schedule and ticking the boxes,” said Berman. “We want to push against that idea and help them understand the relevance of General Education as well as the ways it can be interesting and connect to their majors and their lives outside of class.”
Ultimately, Temple aims to find the best General Education system moving forward. “We want people to give us feedback to help us make the program something students enjoy and faculty want to teach,” said Berman. “We’d like General Education to be a reason students choose Temple. I think we can get there, especially if we have people engaged in the process.”