Wilkes-Barre Campus: Advising and Student Affairs Focus Group

GEM_Avatar-treeOn March 6, 2014, GETF member Annie Taylor of the Student Opportunities and Constraints Subcommittee met with the Advising and Student Affairs Focus Group at Wilkes-Barre Campus.


  • When I say the words General Education, what comes to your mind?

    • English. Biology.
    • Waste of time
    • Courses that are outside of my interests
    • High school all over again
    • Checking the boxes
    • I don’t even remember what I was supposed to have learned in those courses
  • How does your perception of the possibilities of a Gen Ed curriculum compare with the concept of General Education I’ve just explained?

    • I actually took most of my gen ed credits at another institution, before transferring to Penn State
    • It is good to be able to take diverse classes…it lets me explore areas outside of my intended major. I might even discover something I’d like to major in more…or even minor in
    • Reduce the number of credits we have to take in Gen Ed
    • Gen Ed should include courses that give us personal development opportunities, like personal finance
    • Incorporate more stuff that we can use in the real world
    • My advisor already tells us to spread our gen eds out over all 4 years – taking a 100- or 200- level course during my senior year will be a nice break from my 400-level load!
    • Themes would help reinforce concepts from course to course
  • How should we incorporate outside-of-the-classroom activities with Gen Ed courses?

    • I don’t like it when a course has a service learning requirement that we have to do on top of going to class and all of our other assignments – if it we did it instead of some of that, it would be great!
    • Have you thought about having a service learning requirement that was separate from other course credits?
  • What is your perception of the value of concepts like themes, exploration, engaged scholarship, capstone courses, and the like?

    • I like it – you should make sure you think about scheduling…a lot of times I can’t take the courses I want/need because they aren’t offered that semester or they are full – there aren’t enough course options now
  • How have Gen Ed courses met or failed to meet your expectations?

    • I wish we had more information about Gen Ed classes ahead of registration than what we get – makes it really hard to figure out what to take
    • I like gen ed couses that connect with my major over “generic” ones
    • I haven’t gotten to meet with my advisor as much as I’d like (due to scheduling conflicts), so I ended up taking gen ed courses that I didn’t need and/or like
    • Right now, I tend to get stuck in gen ed classes that are actually targeted toward some other major than mine
    • Some professors try to “sell” us on their major
    • Some gen ed courses are actually really hard
  • What changes would you like to see in General Education?

    • IDEA – it would be cool if we could take some kind of self-assessment that would use the results to match our areas of interest with gen ed courses that cover those areas
    • Make more discipline-specific gen ed courses instead of generic ones (like math for social science majors instead of generic math)
    • Let us take World Campus courses so we have more choices [NOTE: The students did not like the online courses that had been developed by their own campus faculty (at Wilkes-Barre, faculty typically create their online courses themselves)]

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  • The acronym GETF is an absolute embarrassment. It either has negative connotations such as getting an “F” as a grade or worse. Penn State you are better than this – stop acting like a Mickey Mouse operation. Stop dumming us down.

    How about actually making available all the courses that are bragged about when recruiting new students? That’s what brought the “customer” here. Give them what was advertised instead of fixing something that isn’t broken, just was never implemented correctly.