Eight faculty members were selected as 2014 Pathways Faculty Scholars, a new role that is part of Virginia Tech’s campus-wide initiative to reinvent its general education curriculum.

“The Pathways Faculty Scholars will be leaders in our efforts to rethink and restructure our general education curriculum, currently the Curriculum for Liberal Education,” said Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. "It’s exciting to see faculty members from multiple disciplines and departments ready to engage in this important work."

Earlier this spring, the faculty teams who developed general education learning outcomes in eight key areas presented their findings to the university community at an open house.

“The selected Pathways Faculty Scholars proposed ideas for pilot courses that met proposed learning outcomes in the new curriculum, were leaders in general education, and demonstrated use of learning-centered approaches in undergraduate courses,” said Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education. “Not only did these scholars articulate a passion for teaching, but also for learning, and we will all be learners as we move forward in building new pathways to general education.”

The scholars will offer pilot courses during the upcoming academic year. In addition, they will meet with the Office of Undergraduate Education team and provide feedback and guidance during the revision process. Beyond financial support for the pilot course, scholars will receive access to faculty and course development opportunities both on and off campus.

“These scholars are representatives of the best practices already featured in classrooms across campus,” said Stephen Biscotte, general education coordinator. “I look forward to collaborating with the scholars to foster innovation in the general education curriculum.”

The eight Pathways Faculty Scholars are:

  • John Chermak, associate professor of practice in geosciences in the College of Science;
  • Sean Conaway, instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Ben Jantzen, assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Dennis Kafura, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering;
  • Ann-Marie Knoblauch, associate professor of art history in the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Gyorgyi Voros, senior instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Alan Weinstein, assistant professor of music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and
  • Zac Zimmer, assistant professor of Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The Pathways Faculty Scholars will serve two-year terms that may be renewable for a third year.

Holloway and Sible anticipate revisions to the general education curriculum going to University Governance for consideration in the 2014-15 academic year. Regular updates on the revision’s progress are posted on the Pathways to General Education website and Twitter page.