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UB seeks feedback on proposed general education curriculum


Published June 5, 2014

“The participation of members of the university community is essential if we are to build a program that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of our students, faculty, and staff.”
Andrew Stott, dean of undergraduate education

The progress report of the General Education Committee, including its proposal for a restructured general education program at UB, has been completed and is ready for review by the UB community.

The university is seeking feedback on the report, which “represents the point of departure for a campus-wide discussion that will determine the next steps,” according to Andrew Stott, dean of undergraduate education and chair of the General Education Committee, which is overseeing the effort to revise gen ed.

A new gen ed curriculum is part of the “curricular distinction” initiative, one of the two signature initiatives — along with Communities of Excellence — to be launched from Realizing UB 2020. Stott calls a revamped general education program “one of the pillars of curricular distinction,” and “an opportunity to revitalize our undergraduate offerings and set UB’s core education among the very best in the country.”

Members of the UB community can view the General Education at UB Progress Report and submit feedback and comments on the online form that accompanies the report.

Public forums on the gen ed proposal will take place in mid-September with exact times and locations to be announced. Stott hopes that many will attend these forums and submit their comments on the report. “The participation of members of the university community is essential,” he says, “if we are to build a program that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of our students, faculty, and staff. “

The current gen ed program was put in place more than 20 years ago and has not undergone a comprehensive curriculum review during that time.

The progress report represents the work of 139 faculty, staff and students working as part of three committees beginning in 2009 and continuing through the 2013-14 academic year.

In addition to being reviewed by the UB community at large, the proposed gen ed program will be reviewed and debated by several Faculty Senate committees that will share their assessment of how best to proceed.

UB’s new general education program is a universal program intended for all students and which proposes several key elements:

  • Shared intellectual experiences for all students.
  • Strong foundation courses in communicative literacy, scientific inquiry and quantitative reasoning.
  • A first-year seminar that tackles conceptual problems from a disciplinary perspective while also developing critical thinking and ethical reasoning.
  • Two sets of integrative cluster courses – one that introduces students to the UB 2020 institutional themes of health, humanity, innovation, justice and environment; and a second that focuses on issues of internationalization and diversity.
  • A capstone experience that asks students to reflect upon their studies and draw the disparate parts together through the medium of an e-portfolio.