On 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)]