Union College has embarked upon one of the most significant intellectual conversations in the life of any Liberal Arts college, the future of general education. Following on from more than a dozen community forums of faculty and students held in the first half of 2018, a General Education Taskforce, under a charge from the Academic Affairs Council, began work on the reform of the college’s existing general education program. The taskforce is chaired jointly by Jennifer Fredricks (Dean of Academic Departments and Programs) and Mark Walker (Director of General Education and the John Bigelow Professor of History). The taskforce members are Charles Batson (Modern Languages and Literatures), Steve Schmidt (Economics), Holli Frey (Geology), Mohammad Mafi (Engineering), Guillermina Seri (Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies), Joe Johnson (Writing Programs), and Gretchel Hathaway (Dean of Diversity and Inclusion).
General education reform is bringing the Union community together to think hard about its shared values, vision, and learning goals for a modern, global, outward-looking, and distinctive general education experience. The Union community is posing fundamental questions that include:
Purposeful Integrated Learning: How can we educate students broadly in the Liberal Arts in ways that give purpose to their learning experiences and create meaningful connections between different disciplines and intellectual traditions?
Diversity and Complexity: How can we empower and nurture capabilities for intellectual diversity and cultural understanding?
Empowered Global Citizen-Scholars: How can we bring together faculty and students in classrooms and learning spaces as partners in an educational project that embraces, engages, and affects complex global challenges?
Learning Outcomes: What do we see as the key learning outcomes through which we will work together to achieve our goals for general education? What do we think students should know and know how to do after four years? How do we imagine general education integrating with majors and minors?