There’s been a lot of debate over what the University should do to fix our general education system. Some parties are saying that we should eliminate various courses that seem unnecessary to further a student’s education.
The SGA President at this University has presented his ideas to the general education ad hoc committee. He seems to think that it needs to be broadened to give students more options. That is the opposite of most of the drafts from the committee itself. They seem to agree on the fact that the system should be reduced slightly to keep students moving through their education and out into the real world.
It seems that the major talking point for a system overhaul is the graduation rate. The concern makes sense. We should be pushing for students to get through the University in four years. Instead, some of us are struggling to get out of here in six. Adding two years of student loans to the pile of debt that a graduate has already accumulated is nothing to take lightly, but we might not be looking at the whole picture.
Is the general education program really to blame? Have we settled on that as a definitive cause or is that our scapegoat? The system might need a small tweak, but only if we are addressing the closely related issues, which assist in holding back students, as well.
Take, for example, our advising system. Too many students have no idea what they should be taking when the add/drop period rolls around. This isn’t due to the fact that they haven’t had a meeting with their advisor, but it seems that some of those doing the guidance might not have all the answers either.
The degree evaluation system is too screwy. It’s complicated enough to figure out that you’re supposed to be taking a course when you are, but telling whether or not you’ve fulfilled an entire study area is another. Then what happens when the advisor is correct in their suggestions, but the student cannot get into the desired class?
Block scheduling. This was supposed to happen a long time ago, but we’re still stuck. For some reason, people cannot get what they want when it comes time for them to register. Where that problem stems from is irrelevant; it needs to be fixed. Students still have courses during the “university hour”and classes are over booked. With a fix to an online system that controls scheduling, this could easily be avoided.
Even with all the systems in place, the students should be held responsible completely. It’s their education and if they want to get out of here, it would behoove them to research what it takes to do so.
General education has opened a lot of doors for many students at this University and a scalping of the system would certainly take away from the exposure that someone gets to a new major. It’s a program that can turn a communication major into a business major. Letting a student experience a new discipline should always be a priority.
A well-rounded education is what differentiates a college from a trade school. Before we are quick to point the finger at general education, and subsequently wait to see if its reform changes anything, let’s make sure that we tackle any other existing issues as well. When the committees meet to decide what our programs should be, we hope that they take into account all sides. We should not just do what makes more sense financially, or somehow visually, for our university.