Changes to GenEd Requirement Spark Controversy and Confusion

By Anthony Fabrikant

Contributing Writer

Last spring, ESU’s faculty approved, through voting, the implementation of alterations recommended by the General Education Committee.

Although current students and their general education requirements will be as they were upon their acceptance to the university, incoming students should expect new requirements including an experience course in their first-year, additional writing requirements and General Education courses that do not only offer a grade but offer valuable experience as well.

The General Education Committee decided to revise their policies by having each course that had previously been certified for General Education apply for recertification by proving how their course falls within the University’s student learning outcomes.

The implementation of First Year Experience courses is essential to the mission statement of the university by offering the type of hands-on learning that invites first-year students to not only familiarize themselves with the university and local community, but to begin a positive, endearing relationship.

These courses are intended to encourage students to engage in their college experience both academically and socially while also introducing the students to the university’s resources, policies, procedures and relevant services with the intention of easing the student’s transition to the university.

By fostering a relationship with a university that is multi-faceted, students are offered the opportunity to take control of their academic trajectory far sooner than previous students so as to alleviate the unnecessary stress caused by unfamiliarity.

University professor Dr. James Elwood added that the intention of the First Year Experience course is to help new students, particularly those who are first generation, familiarize themselves with the university and understand that their academic career is not intended to merely operate as a pedestal for a job, but rather an experience that prepares the students to be successful in life.

Elwood reiterated the value of students learning from professors passionate with their field because it entices the students intellectually and invites them become part of the University community.

University faculty also voted to adjust writing requirements for incoming students;regardless of their major and its affiliation with composition. This move is one that may only make prospective students cringe, but ultimately will pay tremendous dividends for students as they prepare and move on into their profession after graduation.

Typically students are mandated to take a composition course, though they are slated as general education, these courses are often held responsible for the student’s ability to communicate through their writing on a collegiate level.

The addition of enhanced writing requirements for incoming students serves to better aid the student by offering a potentially higher level of writing ability that may set them apart from their peers  as they move through their academic career and more importantly, through their professional career.

Dr. Elwood said the point of attack to help students better their communication skills is by making slight adjustments in current courses; adding emphasis to the writing that occurs in all courses while not sacrificing the integrity of the content already being professed.

University Professor Dr. Nancy VanArsdale shared, “It is not uncommon for schools to review and revise their General Education policies, even the university’s accreditation agency, Middle States, expects ESU to make such changes periodically so as to enrich their efficiency and maximize both the university and the student’s potential.”

The intention of these changes are to enhance incoming students’ academic and social growth as a member of both East Stroudsburg University and the surrounding community; preparing students, to be successful professionals.

Email Anthony at: afabrikant@live.esu.edu

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