During the previous legislative session, the Florida legislature passed a bill (HB 7135) that changes the General Education Program (GEP) for all Florida colleges and universities. The changes include a reduction in the hours of the GEP from 36 to 30 hours and the creation of a list of up to five courses in each of the five content areas of General Education (communication, mathematics, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences). Students will be required to take at least one course from each area on this list, which will be the same across the State University System (SUS) and the state and Florida College System (FCS). These changes will be implemented in fall 2014.
Here are some relevant excerpts from the bill:
“General Education core course options shall consist of a maximum of five courses within each of the subject areas . . . and must contain high-level academic and critical thinking skills and common competencies . . . . Each student must complete at least one course in each subject area . . . . All . . . institutions shall offer and accept these courses . . . .”
“The remaining General Education course requirements shall be identified by each institution . . .and shall include 30 semester hours . . . .”
For a copy of the bill, go to http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/7135/BillText/e1/PDF (scroll down to page 16-18).
The official state website for these changes: http://www.fldoe.org/articulation/hb7135gep.asp?style=print .
Image updated December, 2012
Our legislators recognize the role of faculty in the design of the General Education curriculum. Faculty committees were established at the state leve. These committees have now provided recommendaitons about which five courses will be included in each of the five content areas and what the common competencies might be. The Deans of Undergraduate Studies at the SUS, working with Vice Provosts at the FCS, were tasked with nominating faculty to these committees and with providing oversight of the process for selecting the courses. Five of the Deans, along with five of the VPs from the FCS, constitute a Steering Committee (Dr. Wohlpart serves as an alternate on the Steering Committee). Provosts from each campus, working with their respective Steering Committee members, nominated faculty from each campus.
Five committees were created (one for each of the five areas of General Education), with 12 members for each committee (6 from SUS and 6 from FCS). No SUS or FCS has representation on all of the committees because of the sheer logistics of how large these committees would be.
FGCU is represented on four of the five area committees: Mathematics (Dr. Chuck Lindsey, Associate Professor of Mathematics), Humanities (Dr. Anne-Marie Bouche, Associate Professor of Art History), Social Sciences (Dr. Rick Coughlin, Associate Professor of Political Science), Communication (Dr. Jim Wohlpart, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Steering Committee Alternate Member).
These faculty committees worked during the fall 2012 term to develop recommendations for the courses that now comprise the draft recommendations of common subject area competencies and core courses. These recommendations were presented to the Steering Committee for evaluation, after which they were be presented to the Provosts for dissemination and review on each campus. We are currently in the review stage of these preliminary recommendations (see Updates). Recommendations will be made to the te Steering Committee by January 31st. For information about the tasks and timelines beyond this, please see Process and Timeline.
To recap, the required number of hours in the GEP are being reduced to 30 (from 36), 15 of which will be decided at the state level and 15 of which will be decided at each specific institution. Over the course of the 2012-2013 academic year, there will be multiple opportunities for dialogue, feedback, and sharing of concerns about this process. Dr. Kris De Welde, Director of General Education is organizing the efforts on our campus (see a formal statement from her) while working closely with our General Education Council. Be sure to regularly check back to this website for updates and notice of upcoming meetings.