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NIU Gen Ed task force seeks input

September 19, 2013

students-in-classStudents and faculty have a chance to influence the educational model at Northern Illinois University.

That’s because the NIU General Education Visioning Task Force is conducting student and faculty surveys in order to capture an accurate picture of institutional practices, attitudes, and needs regarding general education, the baccalaureate experience, and co-curricular practices.

“We request and encourage that faculty, instructional staff and students complete a survey in order to share their unique role and about undergraduate education at NIU,” says anthropology professor Michael Kolb, who serves as chair of the task force.

The surveys are not framed specifically around general education, but rather around NIU’s recently approved baccalaureate goals and student learning outcomes (SLOs) in order to best gauge the diverse ways in which NIU faculty educates students within the entire undergraduate curriculum.

Michael J. Kolb

Michael J. Kolb

Review of the general education curriculum—which had not undergone significant review in decades—began during the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Findings from the surveys will provide the task force with insight into the evolving attitudes and practices of education here at NIU and help it move forward with its initiative to help revitalize and reframe general education,” Kolb continues. “This revitalization is imperative not only for improving the success of our graduates but also for assuring the success and longevity of NIU in the 21st century.”

As undergraduates complete their general education course requirements at NIU, they develop mastery of the learning outcomes of the baccalaureate degree experience, which include the following:

    • Global interconnections
    • Intercultural competencies
    • Interconnection of human life/natural world
    • Critical, creative, and independent thought
    • Communicate clearly and effectively
    • Collaboration with others
    • Quantitative and qualitative reasoning
    • Synthesize knowledge and skills

General education courses help students develop the skills necessary for academic, personal and professional success.

The student and faculty surveys will remain open through Friday, Oct. 4. The task force will continue to engage all stakeholders, sharing mapping and aggregate survey results with the campus community and conducting general education focus groups in spring 2014, all the while continuing to develop potential general education models and an e-platform delivery method.

Links to the surveys are provided below: