Carving out a new approach to general education
- Northern Illinois will introduce immersed learning opportunities this fall in diversity, health and wellness, as a replacement for general education courses which students said were outdated and a waste of academic time.
- The initiative, which is being piloted at several schools nationwide, follows a trend of offering students courses which develop professional skills or offer cultural diversity exposure.
- Administrators who seek to broaden the liberal arts learning experience beyond majors stand to make graduates more appealing to corporate employers, thus creating potential pipelines across a range of fields.
Many of the institutions looking to pilot integrative learning are adapting to successes and failures in the experiment along the way, such as stabilizing course offerings, creating prerequisites and other logistical elements.
College leaders know that developing communication and tolerance are ideal foundations for the college experience, but in the effort to graduate students and to move them into paying careers to help mitigate loan defaults, these skills are often overlooked for professional certifications and expertise. Leaders should consider add-on models for these important courses, and to expose and enhance the professional outcomes associated with the curriculum.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education General education gets an ‘integrative learning’ makeover