Potential changes coming to general-ed requirements
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 11:10
Legislators are hard at work towards formulating a more uniform general education curriculum in the state of Florida. The law, HB 7135, would require all Florida colleges and universities to mandate a general education program that consists of 30 hours.
“The reason for this law is so that there is better ‘articulation’ between colleges and universities within Florida, and that means that it would make it easier for students to transfer between universities,” said Kris De Welde, Director of General Education at FGCU. “Another reason is to streamline students’ education so that the majority of students are able to graduate within 120 (credit) hours.”
This law would require general education in the state of Florida to consist of 10 courses in the following subjects: communications, mathematics, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
Fifteen of these hours would be selected by the student from a choice of up to five courses per category that must be offered at every school in the state of Florida. The individual school will have the freedom to determine the other 15 hours of classes.
FGCU currently requires 36 hours of general education to graduate. If the bill passes and becomes law, in fall of 2014 six of those hours would no longer be necessary.
“The conversations have really only just begun,” De Welde said. “There are a lot of other aspects to the law.”
De Welde has already recognized a flaw in the system that this law presents.
She explains how engineering majors, for example, have little leeway in their elective options and, due to this, many of the prerequisites for the major come from their general education. If the bill passes, those students would be required to take classes outside of their major, thus pushing them past the 120 hours needed to graduate.
“This is against the intent of the law,” De Welde said.
Another kink in the law is that it may dig into the school’s pocket.
“If, for example, the state chooses a social science course that FGCU doesn’t offer, then we have to hire staff, we have to create the curriculum for that course and hire people to teach it.”
While this legislation still needs to be further developed, De Welde says she is hoping to make everyone’s voice heard in order to create the most prosperous version of this law.
“I hope to generate conversations about alternative ways to structure our general education program,” De Welde said. “My goal is to seek as much input from students, and faculty and staff from across the campus on what we would like our general education program to look like.”
De Welde hopes to begin the general education conversation on the FGCU campus in the near future through campus surveys, stakeholder forums, and Campus Community Town Halls.