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Last modified: Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Bloomington faculty approve general education requirements

Oct. 4, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Bloomington Faculty Council today (Oct. 3) approved a set of general education requirements for future IUB students.

The requirements would be incorporated into all degree programs offered on the Bloomington campus.

In his inaugural address in 2003, IU President Adam W. Herbert called for the development of a general education curriculum for students at all IU campuses. Faculty councils on each campus are currently working on curriculum plans, and Herbert is expected to make a final report to the Board of Trustees in February.

BFC President Ted Miller said the general education requirements drafted by Bloomington faculty members take into account a 10-year history of discussion on the Bloomington campus. He said IUB faculty members developed a curriculum that takes full advantage of the campus' many academic strengths, including the liberal arts and sciences, and international studies.

The requirements are divided into two parts -- a set of "common ground" courses and experiences that would be required of all students, regardless of major, and a set of "shared goals" -- competencies and experiences to be embedded in current coursework and curricula.

Required common ground courses include three credits of English composition, three to four credits of mathematical modeling, six credits of arts and humanities, six credits of social and historical studies, and five to six credits of natural and mathematical sciences. Also included is a requirement to complete the second-year level of a world language or six credits in world culture courses, or an approved study-abroad experience.

Shared goals include intensive writing experiences, information fluency, diversity in the United States and some type of enriching educational experience, such as an internship, a capstone project, student teaching, an honors thesis, or a musical recital or performance.

"The two-part curriculum recognizes the importance of both a strong foundation in a wide range of disciplines and the need for further experiences articulated within the context of individual degree programs," Miller said. "These 'shared goals' may be addressed in the classroom, outside or a combination of both."

The proposed standards were welcomed by IU's senior administrators.

"I am very proud of our faculty," Herbert said. "These new standards will serve the Bloomington campus well. The quality, depth and breadth of this general education curriculum will become a major student recruitment tool. It will foster the intellectual growth and development of our students. It also will facilitate transferability and better accommodate changes in academic majors."

Michael A. McRobbie, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the new standards will advance the Bloomington campus's goal of becoming more selective and academically distinctive.

"Such a curriculum is a way of helping ensure that all students at IU Bloomington will receive a liberal education of the kind this campus represents," McRobbie said. "It will allow them the opportunity to explore many subjects, developing a broad range of knowledge without fear of adding years to their programs of study should they decide to change their major."