4 Blind Spots Colleges Miss in Revising General Education

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In 2013, Academic Impressions conducted a survey of 308 post-secondary institutions and conducted select follow-up interviews to learn more about how US and Canadian institutions are seeking to revise their core curriculums.

We presented our findings and several case studies in our paper General Education Reform: Unseen Opportunities, and based on our research, we designed an intensive and highly acclaimed conference for institutions seeking to revise general education.

The article that follows is based on an excerpt from our 2013 paper.

by Amit Mrig and Daniel Fusch (Academic Impressions)

Based on our 2013 research into 308 post-secondary institutions in North America, we have identified several common “blind spots” in general education revision—decision points that most curriculum committees skip.

We have also identified a handful of institutions that didn’t skip these critical steps, and that were able to develop a more holistic and impactful core curriculum. We hope that this article and our other resources on general education will help you learn from their successes!

Blind Spot 1: Are You Talking to Enough Faculty?

When most institutions revise their general education curriculum, they don’t seek the input of external stakeholders to help define the goals and outcomes of general education programs—a critical mistake. And our research shows that even many internal stakeholders are only minimally consulted, if at all.

Yet, when asked what challenges they face in revising general education, many academic leaders responding to our survey indicated that the most significant was overcoming faculty resistance to the effort. In fact, out of 223 institutions that answered this question, more than half cited “faculty turf war” or “resistance to change.”

And in our follow-up conversations, many institutions that have completed a general-education revision effort regretted not including more faculty earlier in the conversation.

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