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General Education Policies Overview

The General Education program is an intellectually challenging and provocative curriculum whose higher requirements speak to the quality of our University, and to our desire to prepare our students for success at Maryland and when they leave.

The Program features new course categories and new learning outcomes. It raises the requirements in Fundamental Studies. It eliminates the SAT exemptions for Mathematics and Academic Writing, requires Professional Writing of all students, adds a course in Analytic Reasoning, and adds a course in Oral Communication. For information on Advanced Placement (AP) credit and on International Baccalaureate Exams(IB) credit refer to the Undergraduate Catalog.

The General Education program has four Distributive Studies categories: History and Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Scholarship in Practice.

The Program has three additional categories that may be taken on their own or, through double counting, may be rolled up into the Distributive Studies categories. Two of these comprise the Diversity requirement: Understanding Plural Societies and Cultural Competence. The third is the I-Series program which offers students two courses that deal with major issues, usually from an interdisciplinary perspective. With double-counting, students will have a minimum of 40 credits in General Education.

Faculty Boards

The General Education Implementation Committee has developed the following definition of and policies for the Faculty Boards. The Faculty Boards are faculty panels that will supervise the initiation and semester-by-semester operations of the various elements of the General Education program. These Boards will be appointed by the Dean for Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Collegiate Deans. The Boards will review and measure success of the program; they will also assess specific elements and requirements. The Boards will base their evaluation of new and existing courses for suitability in the new General Education categories on the extent to which they fulfill the learning outcome goals for each category, as well as on overall quality and potential effectiveness. The Boards will periodically review approved General Education courses and/or review learning outcomes assessments of the General Education categories.

Faculty Board membership will be primarily tenured/tenure-track faculty members. Membership will come from across the campus: each Board will have membership comprised of representatives from the colleges and departments that offer General Education courses in the Board's relevant category and possibly membership from consumer colleges and departments. Each Board will also have as a member either the Dean or an Associate Dean from Undergraduate Studies. This practice will help ensure uniform application of policy and standards across Boards. The size of each Faculty Board should be kept small in order to assure efficiency and agility. Members' terms on the Boards should be two years, with approximately half of the Board turning over each year.

The Faculty Boards include Writing, Mathematics/Analytic Reasoning, Oral Communication, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Scholarship in Practice, Understanding Plural Societies/Cultural Competence, and I-Series Courses. The Dean for Undergraduate Studies will post the membership of all boards and include the membership in the annual report to the General Education Committee of the Senate.

See the Faculty Boards implementation document for a list of each Board, its membership, and number of members.

Senate General Education Committee

The General Education Committee of the Senate will exercise broad oversight and supervision of the General Educational program. It will review and make recommendations to the Senate and the Dean for Undergraduate Studies concerning the General Education program, its requirements and its vision, especially with regard to evaluating trends, reviewing learning outcomes, and maintaining the balance of courses in the General Education categories. The committee will periodically review the General Education Program to ensure that it is meeting its goals.

The Dean for Undergraduate Studies will prepare an annual report on the status of the General Education program, and the Dean will meet with the committee as needed to discuss or update the report. Any actions made based on the recommendations of the General Education Committee will be reported back to the committee by the Dean for Undergraduate Studies, and the committee will be informed of modifications in proposal or review processes, and any changes regarding the implementation of the General Education program as specifically delegated to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. The specifics of the committee's charge, membership, and other details will be outlined in the University Senate Bylaws.

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