A draft of a new plan for Virginia Tech's general education curriculum for undergraduate students is available for the community to review and provide feedback.

The “Proposal for an Integrated General Education Curriculum at Virginia Tech” emerged from a series of discussions held by faculty, students, and staff over the past three years, as there was a call for change to the current Curriculum for Liberal Education.

“General education requirements have remained largely unchanged since the formation of the Curriculum for Liberal Education at Virginia Tech in 1984,” Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee said. “It is critical that we make improvements, including the integration across disciplines so our graduates will be suited to tackle problems that require cooperation between different fields in our networked, global society.”

The university’s current strategic plan, “A Plan for a New Horizon,” calls for modification of the Curriculum for Liberal Education “to embrace alternate pathways to general education and to incorporate computational thinking and informatics/digital fluency as basic skills for all students, thereby enabling our students to be engaged citizens and life-long learners.”

The proposal recommends for students to take at least 33 credit hours towards their general education requirements including

  • 12 credit hours in the area of discourse;
  • 9 credit hours in the area of quantitative and computational thinking; and
  • 12 credit hours in the area of integrated studies, which encompass theme- or problem-based integrated studies courses, minors, complementary major-minor combinations, or sequences that integrate learning across arts/design, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

The proposal also includes an option for students to pursue a minor in integrated studies. In addition to the above requirements, students would participate in a transdisciplinary, civic engagement capstone project as well as author an explicit narrative of their integrated curricular and co-curricular learning experiences at Virginia Tech.

The proposal also gives students an option to complete a complementary or interdisciplinary minor or major instead of the 12 credit hours in integrated studies.

“We wanted to create a curriculum that provided students with core competencies while also being flexible enough for undergraduates to create their own paths to an integrated education,” Jill Sible, assistant vice president for undergraduate education, said. “In addition, we wanted to create a plan that would allow students to take advantage of the university’s varied schedules, programs, and platforms – including special sessions, Virginia Tech Summer Academy, Education Abroad, and distance learning.”

The University Committee for the Curriculum for Liberal Education has held numerous workshops and meetings with faculty since 2010 to discuss ways to best modify the curriculum. The committee and director of the Office of Curriculum for Liberal Education took the ideas cultivated from those meetings to create a draft plan for an Integrated General Education Curriculum. It has since been modified to the current publicly available draft by a working group led by Sible.

The draft document, “Proposal for an Integrated General Education Curriculum,” is available for the university community to review and provide public comments and feedback through this blog.

The proposal calls for the Integrated General Education Curriculum to begin with the entering class in fall 2015.

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