The Teaching and Research faculty of Radford University have embarked on an exciting review and revision of general education that began in Fall 2017.
General Education Task Force: Fall 2017 completed
Academic Values Exploration Team: Spring 2018 – Summer 2018, completed
Guiding Principles and Model Identification: Fall 2018 – Spring 2019, completed
REAL Curriculum Planning Committee: April 2019 – September 2019, completed
Implementation Planning Steering Committee: Fall 2019 – program launch, In progress
New General Education Model Roll Out: To be determined
During Summer 2018, fourteen Teaching and Research faculty from across campus and Roanoke locations and eight non-voting advisory members of the academic and student community came together to identify the academic values underlying general education. In the beginning, the team defined academic values.
“Academic values inspire and guide Radford University student experiences in general education.”
The next stage of the team’s work focused on reviewing potential academic values from many sources. In addition to examining academic institutions, these individuals sought information from many other arenas and now seek input from the campus and broader Radford community.
To that end, the Radford University Academic Values Exploration Team recommended the following academic values for general education:
- Exploration: Going beyond one’s limits to experience diverse subjects and disciplines for innovative learning and opportunities for self-discovery.
- Tagline: “Forge your own path.”
- Evaluation: The ability to discern and use reasoning, critical thinking, and evidence-based research to make informed decisions.
- Tagline: “Transform information into insight.”
- Engagement: Integrating knowledge, methods, and experiences to establish connections across concepts, disciplines, and communities.
- Tagline: “Become more than the sum of our parts.”
These academic values were approved by Faculty Senate in September 2018.
In December 2018, Faculty Senate unanimously approved a set of guiding principles for the reform of general education on our campus. These were developed by an elected team of twelve faculty representing each academic college. These principles were circulated and input was received from the campus community.
The general education program is student centered. Therefore, the general education program:
- is easy to understand, explain, and navigate;
- allows student choice;
- encourages timely graduation;
- accommodates the needs of students (freshman, transfer, non-traditional, first-generation, veterans, international, etc.).
The general education program promotes strong foundations for student learning and success on campus and beyond. Therefore, the general education program:
- provides opportunities to develop abilities and gain knowledge useful within and across disciplines;
- exposes students to diversity of perspective and depth of knowledge through coursework outside their discipline;
- encourages engagement with and guidance by full-time faculty;
- ensures reliable and valid assessment of learning goals and outcomes.
The general education program reflects the identity and responsibilities of Radford University. Therefore, the general education program:
- embodies the Academic Values, Vision, Mission, and Core Values of Radford University;
- aligns with regional, state, University, college, and department accreditation requirements;
- invites all Radford University colleges to contribute to General Education;
- adapts to internal and external factors (transfer issues, legislative changes, accreditation-University, department, SACSCOC, and SCHEV, etc.).
The existing team continued working to develop a new model of general education built upon the foundation laid within the academic values and guiding principles. Meetings were held with every academic unit on campus, as well as, public forums and other constituencies. The proposed model was also presented to the Radford University Student Government Association. Revisions to the model were made based on input from the campus community for final model recommendations to the Faculty Senate. In April 2019, the Radford University Faculty Senate voted to support broad general education reform as documented in the REAL Education Curriculum that relies on cross-crediting within majors and minors to increase the value of general education and maximize credit efficiency while providing students with depth of knowledge in diverse and important areas of inquiry. The REAL model of general education was approved in April 2019.
In October 2019, learning goals and outcomes for the REAL Curriculum were approved by Faculty Senate.
The following documents have been developed by the Academic Management Sub Committee for the REAL Implementation Steering Committee to support faculty consideration of the REAL Curriculum. The Planning Guide and FAQ documents were designed to help faculty and academic units investigate the opportunities provided within this innovative and flexible curriculum.
Input from all campus citizens is welcome. Questions or comments about this process can be sent to Dr. Nicole Hendrix, firstname.lastname@example.org or via the anonymous comment box available below.