For Faculty & Staff
Faculty members' participation is highly encouraged to build a solid General Education Curriculum.
The Task Force on General Education Curriculum brings together faculty, staff, students, and administrators, who will hone their understanding of the larger context in higher education, the general education curriculum and the role it should play at an institution like California Lutheran University. This task force will make recommendations to the university president, provost and undergraduate college faculty regarding the future of Cal Lutheran’s general education core. All faculty members are welcome to participate through this meaningful process.
The task force is expected to produce a proposal that includes a general education curriculum design, implementation plan, and assessment, in order to create an impactful general education curriculum for the new generation of leaders.
- Contact us to participate in a gallery walk to provide ideas and feedback about the design of the new curriculum: TFGEC@callutheran.edu.
- Submit a feedback form.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Help us to build this section by sending your questions to TFGEC@callutheran.edu.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A website has been created to track progress, and provide updates and opportunities for feedback. https://www.callutheran.edu/task-force/general-education/
Participate! Check the website weekly for updates and details on how to share your ideas.
Resources for Faculty
Gaston, Paul L. General education transformed: How we can, why we must. Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2015.
Hanstedt, Paul. Creating wicked students: Designing courses for a complex world. Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2018.