App State improves Gen-Ed program flexibility


The Appalachian Online

Laney Ruckstuhl

Revisions in the General Education Program have been created and are on their way to being fully approved by the necessary faculty through the efforts of many departments, administrators and Appalachian State University staff.

General Education Assistant Director Kristin Hyle said this revised program should be effective starting fall 2015, if all goes as planned. These revisions should give students more flexibility in mapping out their General Education experience.

“This also opens up the program for departments and courses that might not have been a good fit for Gen-Ed before,” Hyle said.

The First Year Seminar, writing requirements, quantitative literacy, wellness literacy and science inquiry requirements will all remain exactly the same. The other perspectives, comprising 21 hours of the Gen-Ed program, are the main focus of these revisions.

“The perspectives will be gone entirely and the 21 hours are now distributed between a 9-hour integrated learning experience…and the remaining 12 are in a menu-type system called the liberal studies experience.”

The integrated learning experience is similar to the themes on the current Gen-Ed system. There are currently 16 themes to choose from on the integrated learning experience.

Hyle said the liber

-al studies experience works on a menu-type system, requiring students to take classes in a minimum 3 disciplines.

These changes aim “to honor that integrative learning that was the hallmark of our current Gen-Ed by keeping the 9-hour integrative experience but then give students added flexibility by giving them this liberal studies experience,” Hyle said.

Incoming freshmen for the fall 2015 semester will be required to follow this program, whereas current students will have a choice to change their catalog class year if they wish to adhere to this new program.

Student Government Association also wishes to implement its own changes to the Gen-Ed system, though this proposal is still in the works.

“We are not quite ready to unveil too much detail regarding the project until it has been presented to and a number of faculty/staff bodies,” said Paige Marley, SGA’s head of the Academic Affairs committee.

The program Marley mentioned is called “APP101”. According to the Cabinet Committee Report for spring 2015, APP101 would be “a six-week, one-credit required course added to the freshman seminar courses”.

This proposed course was devised to instruct students in the ways to be a conscientious student. It would focus on “interpersonal violence prevention training, access to campus resources, surveys, and major selection guidance,” according to the committee report.

Freshman biology major Maddie Wise said she is supportive of these revisions.

“I wish these changes were made last year,” Wise said. “This new program seems more flexible than the current one, which makes me want to change my catalog class year.”

However, because she has already completed a number of Gen-Ed classes in the current system, she has second thoughts about changing her catalog class year.

“Transferring my current Gen-Ed credits over to the new system seems like it would be too much work, considering how much I’ve already done in the current program.”

Wise is also in support of the changes SGA wishes to make.

“I wish my seminar had given me help on transitioning to student life,” Wise said. “I thought freshman seminars were supposed to give students aid in transitioning to both campus life and the academic world of university students.”

Story: Josh Wharton, Intern News Reporter