Instructor in a classroom

The University of Hawaiʻi General Education Curriculum Design Team will participate in a month-long Summer Institute in July to inform the development of a General Education Redesign Proposal for the UH 10-campus system. General education requirements are the core lower division courses in an array of subjects that every student must take to fulfill their requirements to graduate.

The 17-member team was announced on May 13 and consists of faculty representatives from each campus and three undergraduate students. The team is tasked with completing a draft of the proposal by the end of August that will then go through a thorough consultation period through the 2021–22 academic year with all campuses and constituencies. The redesign process and timeline can be viewed online.

“Although change can be difficult, it can also be a time of great excitement, as UH has not updated its System General Education requirements since 1999,” said a June 28 email to faculty and staff sent on behalf of the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team. “This effort is not only intended to better prepare our graduates for life after college and a world that seems to be evolving faster each year, it will also provide an opportunity to more deeply engage students in general education and ensure they leave UH with a strong liberal arts core regardless of their major.”

The institute is scheduled to run on weekdays from July 6 to July 30, and the design team members will be engaging in intensive research, discussion and intellectual exchange. There will be multiple presentations that will be available for review at the Summer Institute Schedule webpage with topics that include industry standard practices, the results of the recent survey of UH students and employees and innovative modern approaches to General Education pedagogy.

The June 28 email also stated: “The full suite of competencies (skills, knowledge areas and values) that will be discussed include those currently in our general education curriculum, the core competencies identified by our accreditation bodies, and others that are part of national conversations about what an educated citizenry needs to flourish in our complex, interdependent world.”

There will be a daily/weekly blog by design team members to provide a summary of the internal discussions on the direction and decisions the team is considering and a FAQ webpage is available to answer questions about the initiative.

Email sent to the faculty and staff of the UH 10 campuses on June 28, 2021

Subject line: General Ed. Curriculum Design Summer Institute begins July 6

Aloha UH faculty and staff,

July is an important month in the initiative to develop a new general education curriculum for the University of Hawaiʻi 10 campuses, announced by UH President Lassner on March 12. The month-long Summer Institute begins Tuesday, July 6, for the 17-member General Education Curriculum Design Team that consists of faculty representatives from each campus and three undergraduate students. It will be four weeks of intensive research, discussion and intellectual exchange that will be used to develop a General Education Redesign Proposal.

There will be multiple presentations every weekday from July 6 to July 30 during the Summer Institute that will include industry standard practices, the results of a survey of UH students and employees and innovative modern approaches to General Education pedagogy. In the interest of full transparency, faculty and staff can see the data and information being presented to the design team, and every presentation will be posted on the Summer Institute Schedule webpage.

The full suite of competencies (skills, knowledge areas and values) that will be discussed include those currently in our general education curriculum, the core competencies identified by our accreditation bodies, and others that are part of national conversations about what an educated citizenry needs to flourish in our complex, interdependent world. Additionally, a range of curricular models, or ways of pairing and teaching different curricular areas, will be considered.

Regular updates, transparency

There will also be a daily/weekly blog by design team members to provide a summary of the internal discussions on the direction and decisions the team is considering. We will be sending out an email at the start of each week and the end of the institute providing updates and sharing topics and presentations. There is already a wealth of information available on the General Education Redesign website that is regularly updated.

This level of visibility is extremely important because we know that there are understandable concerns surrounding this issue. We have proactively addressed some of the questions circulating about the effort in our FAQs.

Although change can be difficult, it can also be a time of great excitement, as UH has not updated its System General Education requirements since 1999. This effort is not only intended to better prepare our graduates for life after college and a world that seems to be evolving faster each year, it will also provide an opportunity to more deeply engage students in general education and ensure they leave UH with a strong liberal arts core regardless of their major.

Faculty to decide on new look

While the design team will structure the proposal based upon their intensive month-long conversation, there will be ample opportunity to provide feedback once the General Education Redesign Proposal is complete. The resulting proposal will be vetted by faculty on all campuses. The consultation period is scheduled to run through the 2021–22 academic year and will include all campuses and constituencies. The redesign process and timeline can be viewed online.

Our hope is that everyone gets involved now to gain the best understanding possible of what we are trying to accomplish. We don’t want anyone to be caught by surprise. Please watch for emails that will provide updates on the Summer Institute and the upcoming steps in the process. Please email gedesign@hawaii.edu if you have any questions.

Mahalo nui loa for your time and consideration,
On behalf of the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team