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Revamping general education at Illinois State begins

Efforts to review and revise the general education curriculum are underway to tailor courses to the needs of Illinois State University constituents.

At the request of Illinois State’s Council on General Education, Provost Jan Murphy created the General Education Task Force to undertake a review of general education requirements and courses at Illinois State. The 30-person task force convened in the fall of 2019 with subcommittees formed to explore potential innovative approaches, analyze assessment data, and develop avenues for stakeholder input.

headshot of Erin Mikulec

Dr. Erin Mikulec

“We want institutions across the nation to be able to look at Illinois State as a model for general education,” said Professor of Teaching and Learning Erin Mikulec, who serves as co-chair of the task force with Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Jennifer Friberg.

The three subcommittees are beginning their year-long work to provide suggestions to the Office of the Provost. One subcommittee is devoted to seeking evidence-based best practices at benchmark institutions from around the nation. Another will begin content analysis of more than 300 syllabi of Illinois State general education classes. The third will begin to gather input from Illinois State stakeholders through surveys and focus groups.

image of Jen Friberg

Dr. Jen Friberg

“This is a lengthy process,” said Friberg. “It also needs to be a very deliberate and transparent process.”

The hope is to personalize learning outcomes to Illinois State, said Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Education Amy Hurd. “In the past, we—like so many others—based outcomes on suggestions from the Association of American Colleges and Universities,” said Hurd. “This time, we want outcomes to reflect the needs of our campus constituents. We want general education to move toward an integrated and personalized experience.”

Focus groups and surveys will begin in February. Mikulec and Friberg aim to have an initial report on the task force’s work to the Office of the Provost by the summer of 2021.

Learn more about the task force and general education at Illinois State.

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