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New General Education Program Unveiled

Publish Date: 1/5/2011

January 5, 2011

MANSFIELD, PA— What program of study will prepare college students for lives of purpose and careers that may not even exist at this point in our rapidly changing world? That is just one of the many questions that Mansfield University faculty asked themselves as they began to revise their core program of general education in fall 2009.

President Maravene Loeschke has approved a new program of general education based on work completed by faculty at the end of the fall semester.

To prepare for their task, faculty reviewed the general education programs at other well-regarded colleges and universities and consulted the recommendations of respected higher education organizations such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Their inquiries led them to explorations of the knowledge base, intellectual, practical, personal, and social skills that tomorrow’s community, business, and educational leaders are most likely to need.

Mansfield faculty also turned for guidance to a set of timeless values reflected in the University’s own creed which dates back nearly 100 years. They rediscovered the importance of an emphasis on character, scholarship, culture, and service as well as sets of more focused professional skills students will need to thrive in a world that faculty and University leaders believe is changing at an unprecedented rate. Their new program emphasizes a liberal studies focus on the capacity to understand a changing, more interconnected world, think clearly about complex problems, and act with integrity.

The changes have been spearheaded by the University Senate. The new curriculum is expected to be in place for students entering in the fall 2011 semester.

The program changes include a newly designed seminar course for first-year students as well as new expectations for senior-level projects that require students to synthesize in more advanced ways their learning across their undergraduate years.

More specific goals of the new general education program are to challenge students to think clearly, encourage lifelong learning and personal growth, prepare students for leadership in a rapidly changing world, and inspire them to live engaged lives.

“A representative group of talented faculty have spent a considerable amount of time exploring various options, structures, rationales, and solutions for general education at Mansfield University,” Scott Davis, University Senate president and Chemistry professor, said. “This committee studied plans at other universities, examined recommendations of respected organizations in higher education, and built a General Education model that includes a distinctive Mansfield perspective.”

“The new program advances the mission, vision, and goals outlined in our new Strategic Plan,” President Loeschke said. “I am grateful for the excellent and timely work of our faculty in developing a program that will enhance the quality of study at Mansfield significantly. The new program will consolidate our position as a public liberal arts university that emphasizes student leadership development.”

According to the program mission statement, the new general education curriculum “promotes character, scholarship, culture, and service through broad-based study in the liberal arts disciplines. Attributes we seek to foster include an inquiring mind, effective communication, use of varied means of seeking truth and acquiring knowledge, a sense of global connectedness, understanding and evaluation of multiple perspectives, ethical reasoning, the exercise of civic responsibility, and the lifelong pursuit of personal growth.”

Provost Peter Keller also praised the work of the faculty leading the initiative and emphasized the importance of the new program for Mansfield students. “These are both exciting and challenging times,” he said. “Our new general education program defines Mansfield as a university where a cutting edge preparation in the liberal arts combined with high quality professional programs will ensure our students are better prepared for the career and leadership roles that will be demanded of them in the future.”

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