PNW Task Force Participates in National Institute

June 16, 2020
Photo of Elaine Carey

Members of a Purdue University Northwest task force joined delegations from 32 other universities to participate in a national institute on reform and assessment of general education in June.

The institute, sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, took place from June 2 to June 5. Originally scheduled to convene in Burlington, Vermont, the institute was conducted virtually because of concerns about the coronavirus.

The PNW task force, led by CHESS Dean Elaine Carey (pictured), prepared a proposal on possible reforms to the university’s general education program. The proposal calls for a pilot study to be launched in fall 2021 with a cohort of freshmen who have yet to declare a major.

“General education is essential to engage citizenship and life learning,” Carey said. “It is in these foundation courses where students learn to improve their writing and communication skills, and they engage and explore questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion that are essential in today’s workplaces and society.”

Some of the issues addressed during the institute included how to handle transfer credit hours, advanced placement courses and dual credit courses, how to meet the needs of professional programs that have prescribed curriculum required for accreditation, and how to include equity and inclusion in general education.

At present, PNW’s general education program includes a series of courses dealing with the freshman experience, English composition, speech communication, quantitative reasoning, natural science, technology, humanities, and social sciences. These courses fulfill a state general education requirement of 30 credit hours, or a quarter of the 120 credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree.