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Lessons Learned from FIPSE Projects II - September 1993

General Education

Two or three years ago, this category would surely have included more projects. The particular three years covered by this volume represent a trough between two waves of change in general education. In the mid-eighties, many campuses restored structured general education programs that had been eliminated or attenuated by reforms of the early 1970's. After a brief lessening of interest in general education, the matter has returned to the forefront of higher education concern as institutions make programs more multicultural, internationalize the curriculum and develop specific courses required of all students. These projects are just now being completed and reporting their results.

The number of general education projects featured here is further constrained by the difficulty of evaluating the results of such programs. The evaluation methodology is not sufficiently developed, nor are the effects of general education curricula, other than skills courses like English composition, readily discernible in the short run.

The two projects described below represent quite different aspects of general education. Proceeding from a desire to reduce the fragmentation of learning inherent in a curriculum organized in terms of distribution requirements, the University of North Texas has introduced as an option a highly structured course focused on classic texts of Western civilization. SUNY/Buffalo's program attacks the problem of developing students' general intellectual skills through a freshman/ sophomore level course in "Methods of Inquiry."

[University of Rhode Island] [Table of Contents] [University of North Texas]

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Last Modified: 02/22/2006