General Education Review

The General Education Committee monitors and evaluates the university's general education program and reports its work and recommendations to the Baccalaureate Council. All meeting minutes of the General Education Committee are available. The following is a summary of the review of general education over the past five years.

After a thorough review, the General Education Committee passed a recommendation on Oct. 19, 2023, to eliminate the Pathways program in the general education curriculum. This was discussed and approved on Nov. 9, 2023, at the Baccalaureate Council and will go into effect with the 2024-2025 catalog. The committee is working on philosophy and guiding principles for general education. A task force was created which includes faculty, staff and students. The committee created a faculty survey and a student survey to gather campus input. We expect to finalize by August 2024. The committee will also be working towards an assessment plan for general education, to be implemented in the 2024-2025 academic year. The university is implementing Curriculog, a digital curriculum management system that will be used starting with the 2024-2025 academic year.

The university’s Higher Learning Commission quality initiative was “Success in Gateway Courses for All Students”. This initiative also aligned with the university’s goals, the NIU Strategic Action Planning Framework (PDF), the NIU Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Plan and SEM Accountability Plan (PDF), and NIU’s Illinois Equity in Attainment (ILEA) Equity Plan (PDF).  

The General Education committee continued the review of the Pathways program. This involved examining data about student intention and completion of a Pathway area since they were created. The committee also reviewed all general education courses to determine the regularity to which they were being taught and how many had prerequisites. The committee also mapped the three Knowledge Domains to specific baccalaureate learning outcomes, one primary and then one of two secondary. Each department was asked to review their general education course to determine if they agreed with the selection of learning outcomes for that course and offered the opportunity to select a different Knowledge Domain or remove the General Education designation for the course.

The committee created a syllabus statement for all general education courses, so students were more aware of which Knowledge Domains a particular general education course satisfied. The statement was approved on March 24, 2022, by the General Education Committee and Nov 10, 2022, by the Baccalaureate Council and appears in the list of syllabus statements.  The discussion of the Pathways program continued, along with updated data, which was shared with the Baccalaureate Council.

The committee carried out surveys of faculty and students regarding the Pathways program. Faculty were asked about their knowledge of the Pathways if they had taught a course in the Pathways, and to what extent they felt students understood the Pathways as a way to organize their general education experience. The survey also captured comments about the overall Pathways program. A similar survey was conducted with students.

A subcommittee was created to review the role and responsibilities of the Pathway Coordinators, to develop criteria for inclusion or omission of courses in a Pathway, to analyze Pathway course enrollments and schedules, to survey faculty and chairs, and to review a marketing and communication plan. The General Education Committee recommended the retention of the Pathways model, to reduce the number of Pathways from seven to three, and improve outreach and engagement of the Pathways program.

Contact Us

Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies
Ian Gawron
Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator
Williston Hall 300
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