UH System-wide General Education Redesign
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa last revised its general education curriculum in 1999 and after more than 15 years, that curriculum has now been adopted system-wide. With one exception (the transition to quantitative reasoning), little has changed in either the structure or content of the curriculum. Meanwhile, the state of the world as well as higher education has substantially transformed. It is now time to envision a new general education curriculum for the entire University of Hawaiʻi (UH) system to prepare our graduates for the world in which they will live.
UH Mānoa commissioned an external review of general education, which provides valuable insights and recommendations. And all ten UH campuses have agreed to participation in the (WICHE) Interstate Passport program, a multi-state faculty-developed approach to base general education transfer on learning outcomes and proficiencies rather than specific courses and credits. These both provide valuable background, and the Mānoa General Education Committee has begun work on recommendations for reform. It is clear to all today that this work has implications across the UH system. With the support of faculty governance groups, I am therefore charging a system-wide working group to develop a plan for reform of general education at UH both substantively, what skills and competencies comprise general education, as well as structurally, how general education is organized and the curriculum maintained. The working group will also consider any applicable accreditation standards.
The starting assumption for a new general education curriculum must be how best to prepare our students for the uncertain future facing them. We must identify and articulate what our students need to know, be able to do, and value so they can be knowledgeable and contributing citizens in the complex, diverse, information-driven and interconnected world within which they will live and work. UH needs a general education curriculum that will prepare them for this world’s challenges, and the many careers, not just jobs, and life experiences they are likely to face. From issues of civic engagement, sustainability, resilience, data analytics, critical thinking, effective communication, teamwork and much more, we need to ensure that we have created a general education curriculum that prepares our students to flourish and lead in the wide range of possible worlds before them.
The key guidelines that will structure the work of the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team, and shape our future General Education curriculum, are:
- To make the general education curriculum more understandable and efficient for students (fewer credits required) without diminishing its effectiveness.
- To make administration of the curriculum less bureaucratic, reducing the work required by faculty to manage general education coherently across the UH System.
- To design a curriculum that scaffolds learning throughout matriculation.
- To design a curriculum that ensures the key 21st-century competencies and knowledge necessary for all UH graduates to succeed in the workplace and society.
- To emphasize an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to learning, with consideration of project- and problem-based learning.
For more information about how participants for the Summer 2021 General Education Summer Institute were recruited and selected, see the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team: Recruitment and Selection Process page.
For more information about the Summer 2021 General Education Institute and general timeline and process for this Systemwide General Education Redesign initiative, please see the Summer Institute page.