In this section you will find relevant documents and reports that have been published through the execution of the project.
The virtual and in-person gallery walks over the last few months generated amazing feedback for the task force to consider. The design team has taken comments, concerns, and suggestions into account to edit the general education (GE) mission statement and learning outcomes, which resulted in the following:
GE Mission Statement
(approved by College faculty Oct. 20, 2021)
The mission of general education at California Lutheran University is to provide a liberal arts and sciences foundation that is centered on experiential inquiry: to grapple with the connections between ourselves, others and the world; to foster continued personal growth; and to prepare for a life committed to service and justice.
Student Learning Outcomes
(approved by College faculty Oct. 20, 2021)
Upon completion of the General Education Curriculum, students will:
- Practice rhetorical awareness, artistic expression, and communication skills utilizing visual, written and oral competencies;
- Develop and practice concepts of cultural dexterity and emotional intelligence;
- Build multiple literacies across the liberal arts and sciences from among varied and multiple perspectives;
- Develop curiosity, and practice intellectual agility through collaboration with others; and
- Apply multiple methods of inquiry and ways of knowing in academic disciplines within the context of students’ lived experiences.
- Introduction: A Few Things to Note
- FAQs re Design Options
- Design Option 1: Distinction Model
- Design Option 2: Distinction + HIPP Model
- Design Option 3: Integrative Model
Check the following tabs for additional documents and background information.
Dear Cal Lutheran Community,
There is a new normal for most institutions of higher learning. As part of the new normal, many students and their families are struggling to discern what type of post secondary education best prepares 21st century learners for the personal and professional changes, challenges, and opportunities that mark today’s world. To ready students for the types of complex issues they will face as employees, community leaders, partners, parents, and more, the collegiate journey must — at its core — explicitly focus as much on how to learn as what to learn; be interdisciplinary in nature, and provide hands-on opportunities to translate theory into practice.
With those expectations top of mind, I have charged Jessica Lavariega Monforti, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to lead a Task Force on General Education (GE) Curriculum. This task force will recommend the types of GE modifications that aim to simultaneously address the needs and interests of students, while focusing on faculty expectations of rigor, relevancy, scope, and application. As part of governance revisions that occurred two years ago, the Faculty Assembly voted to have this important work led by the college, and the General Education Curriculum Committee recommended a number of faculty members to serve on this task force.
Along with six faculty members, the task force includes staff, students, and administrators. Together, they will review best practices, read relevant literature, and craft recommendations to create a new general education curriculum. Our current core must evolve into a curriculum that is designed to help students find their vocations and their purposes, become agile thinkers and constructive doers, and live and work as engaged citizens who understand the intricacies and intersections ever-present in today’s global society. Details about this important work can be found in the attached task force charge.
As members of the task force ready themselves for this important work, they understand that general education courses should not be the general or disconnected ones that students “get out of the way” so that they can get on to the “good stuff” in the major. GE courses must be engaging, connected, and relevant to get students excited about contemplating and tackling both the enduring questions and the urgent challenges that are fundamental to a liberal arts and science education.
The work of the task force will be guided by data and focused on student learning. Faculty participation and expertise will fuel the fast-paced work. Both Dean Lavariega Monforti and I recognize that the cadence of this process might feel too fast for some and too long in coming for others. A comfortable pace is hard to achieve across the various constituent groups, so we know up front that not all will be happy with the pace we set.
The content, spirit, outcomes, and application of core curriculum are the things about which all of us should care. Hence, we will provide various types of opportunities for diverse stakeholders to actively participate in this thoughtful and structured revision process. If you are called upon to provide data to, visit with, and offer other support to the work of the task force, I encourage you to enthusiastically accept this invitation. We have a solid foundation upon which we are moving. Help us build our momentum forward; we are moving and we want you to be a part of this strong, positive wave of the future.
Lori E. Varlotta, PhD
Download the document about the charge of the TFGEC. Know more about members, composition, staff to committee, responsibilities, and timeline.
Dear Campus Community,
As you saw in President Varlotta’s email message, the Task Force for General Education Curriculum (TFGEC) has been charged and work has started in earnest. The task force membership represents many important stakeholders across campus, and it is an outstanding group. We look forward to sharing the TFGEC’s work with you and hearing your feedback as the process moves forward.
It is important to the task force that participation in the conversation about general education at Cal Lutheran is robust, inclusive, and transparent. As such, we looked for ways to expand the size and diversify the composition of the task force at the beginning of this work through the establishment of research groups. This message serves as an open call for any faculty, staff, student, or administrator to nominate themselves or other community stakeholders to join the TFGEC Research & Reporting Groups.
To read about the research and reporting groups charge, timeline, and expected work, see below.
To nominate someone to serve on a research group, click here: https://callutheran.az1.
The window for nominations will be open from Friday, July 2, 2021 to Friday, July 9, 2021, and invitations will be sent out within five business days.
Research & Reporting Groups Charge
Each collaborative research and reporting group will have up to 10 non-TF members that include faculty, staff, students, and/or administrators.
Each research and reporting group (R&R) will curate literature and other artifacts about their topic and archive them with Yvonne Wilber. R&R members will review archived materials and inform the TFGEC about what they learn. R&R members will submit a report to the TFGEC that may be distributed to community stakeholders in the future.
Faculty, staff, students, and/or administrators who are not serving on the task force may be nominated and invited to participate in the following five groups:
- Integrative Learning Models
- How to incorporate DEI in curriculum — MEIGE (Making Equity Inclusive + General Education)
- Focus on guiding documents: ELCA, Second Nature Climate Commitment, HSI, WASC, and Mission
- Stackable certificates/Pathways of Distinction
- Impact of GE changes on transfers and Professionals undergraduate students
It is estimated that each R&R group will work for approximately 5 hours per week during the month of July 2021, and attend one meeting in August (estimated at 5 weeks of work). Any faculty member serving on a R&R group not on contract during July will receive compensation for their work.
The TFGEC looks forward to collaborating with the campus community. If you have any questions about this or the task force, please contact us via email at TFGEC@callutheran.edu.
Jessica Lavariega Monforti, Task Force Chair
Elena Jaloma, Task Force Vice Chair
The TFGEC has as a priority to listen to our students. At the end of July 2021, all TUG and professional program faculty teaching during summer II were asked to administer a brief survey to students enrolled in their courses.
Faculty and staff members are a fundamental part in the development of a successful general education curriculum. In the following documents, you will find feedback that has been received and taken into account to date.
- Why do we need to make changes to CORE-21?
Cal Lutheran’s current general education (GE) requirements were initiated more than 20 years ago. Called Core-21, the requirements were designed to prepare students for the 21st century. Today, well into the 21st century, we are encountering dynamic societal challenges such as technological advances, environmental change, and concerns related to health and wellness, as well as social justice. These challenges are shaping career paths that did not exist when Core-21 was adopted. Students need to be prepared to deal with the very real scenario that the job they are preparing for may not even exist today. (Think about the changes in public health and research amid today’s pandemic, or social media’s adoption as a mainstream communication tool and its impact on how information related to the pandemic is shared.) Our general education needs to reflect the dynamic nature of this ever-changing and integrated landscape. In 1999, faculty recognized this and voted to begin studying how to make the change. Previous Cal Lutheran task forces and committees have proposed that the purpose of the core curriculum is to teach students how to think in ways that encourage curiosity, lifelong learning and inquiry. Using this previous work as a starting point, President Lori Varlotta asked a task force to design a new GE curriculum that reflects an interdisciplinary and themed approach — making connections among subjects apparent. A survey taken this year shows that students overwhelmingly support change to the GE. As one student noted, “I cannot see the connection between my major and some of the Core-21 classes.’’ Another student noted, “I would be more motivated if I knew the courses I was taking were directly aiding my success in my future career.”
- What will the GE change mean for Cal Lutheran’s status as a liberal arts and sciences institution?
We are committed to providing a liberal arts and sciences education. For those unfamiliar with the term, a liberal arts and sciences education provides the integrated knowledge, communication skills and intellectual tools that are essential for students to function successfully as free citizens, preparing them for work, service and life-long learning. For this reason, any GE change will continue to “promote student development along multiple vectors — cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and ethical — expose them to a variety of methodologies and interpretive strategies; and teach them to look, listen, read, think, speak and write critically and analytically.” (Mintz, 2020, Inside Higher Education)
Study after study has confirmed that these are the attributes most desired by employers — even those in STEM fields (science,technology, engineering and mathematics). The skills developed by a liberal arts and sciences education parallel the eight career-ready competencies developed by NACE, a collaborative of 2,000 universities and 3,200 human resource professionals. Their 2021 report on desired competencies includes: self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity and inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork and technology. As venture capitalist Scott Hartley writes, “the liberal arts is not mutually exclusive with technical literacy. Instead, for the best products, and in the best companies and classrooms, great innovation comes through the blending and coordination of these two sides. I argue that we need both context and code, data literacy and data science. And as machines take on more routine tasks within our jobs, we need deep-thinking humans in addition to deep-learning AI.” Cal Lutheran is committed to providing this integrated model of learning and, in doing so, preparing students with career-ready competencies.
- What is the timeline for change and who is involved?
Because of the urgent need for change, based on the broader higher-education landscape and particular recent trends at our institution, we are intentionally approaching this update to the general education curriculum at a fast pace. This, however, does not mean that we are choosing speed over innovation, research or campuswide input. As described in the process below, the ultimate desire is to develop a structure and design that meets the needs of our students while being transparent and inclusive. The anticipated timeline is as follows:
1999 through Fall 2021: Research and Input — This has been on going within the faculty since 1999 via task forces and committees, and was expanded in 2021 to maintain faculty involvement, but also include students and staff through surveys, focus groups, research teams, galley walks, workshops, etc.
September 2021: Mission/Learning Objectives of GE and Feedback Phase I — The mission and learning objectives will be developed utilizing input and research to date. These initial ideas will be shared through a variety of opportunities for campuswide feedback.
October 2021: Initial GE Designs and Feedback Phase II — Utilizing input from September’s outreach opportunities, initial design ideas will be reassessed to incorporate feedback. These revised ideas will be shared through additional opportunities for campuswide feedback.
November 2021: Edited GE Designs and Feedback Phase III — Utilizing input from October’s outreach opportunities, initial design ideas will be reassessed to incorporate feedback. These revised ideas will be shared through additional opportunities for campuswide feedback.
December 2021 (and January 2022, if needed): College faculty will vote on adoption of final design.
Spring 2022: Staff will begin phased-in implementation.
Summer 2022 through Spring 2023: Second phase of implementation gets underway.
Fall 2022: Incoming students will begin phased-in new GE curriculum; continuing students will remain under CORE-21 requirements.
Fall 2023: Incoming students will begin their Cal Lutheran experience with the catalog reflecting the new GE curriculum; continuing students will remain under CORE-21 requirements.
- What is the process for changes to be approved?
After obtaining feedback from students, faculty, and staff, the faculty will vote on the new general education curriculum design. Once approved, the staff will begin implementation. A committee of faculty and staff members will review new course proposals under the new, approved curricular design.
- Some students, faculty and staff members were selected to participate in one-on-one interviews or focus groups. How were these people selected?
The task force used a multi-pronged approach to select participants who offered: 1) Formal leadership perspectives (i.e., student government and faculty governance leaders); 2) Opposing perspectives (i.e. from departments who have previously expressed concern or have unique regulations surrounding their majors); 3) Informal leadership perspectives from departments disproportionately impacted by GE changes; 4) Staff from departments whose work will be impacted by the change (i.e. admissions, registrar’s office); 5) Traditionally underrepresented voices through campus affinity groups.
- What do we want to gain from the one-on-one meetings?
This approach gives opportunity for authentic feedback in a private setting from various perspectives, and provides information on the process to representatives from across the campus.
- How can I follow the progress and remain informed about the GE curriculum changes?
A website has been created to track progress, and provide updates and opportunities for feedback. https://www.callutheran.edu/task-force/general-education/
- What can I do to help?
Participate! Check the website weekly for updates and details on how to share your ideas.