Understanding Visual and Performing Arts is one casualty of new education program


Florida Gulf Coast University is constantly growing and inevitably changing. One of the newest changes the university will implement soon will affect the requirements every FGCU student has to meet in order to graduate.

A new General Education Program, which will start in fall 2015 has been developed by the General Education Council and the General Education Competency Assessment Advisory team.

Eric Otto, Ph.D., the chair of the GEC, said it has been a thoughtful and deliberative process.

“The GEC is a Faculty Senate team and has facilitated all of the main changes to the program,” Otto said. “The CAAT has done more of the assessment of the program.

“In a couple of weeks we are going to present the assessment plan to the university community for feedback so that we can finalize it,” Otto said.

It all started when the Florida legislature passed a law during summer 2012 that changed the state core requirements.

“The changes were prompted by the new law but we didn’t want to just implement the law,” Otto said. “We saw the law as an opportunity to finally think — ‘Is there anything we can do to our General Education program that will improve it?’ So, as a campus we decided yes and the changes we implement will hopefully enhance the program.”

The subject area requirements will basically remain the same.

One of the main changes is students will no longer be required to take the course Understanding Visual and Performing Arts. Students will now be able to choose from a list of five courses that includes Art Appreciation and Introduction to World Literature.

A few new courses will be offered for FGCU students. Some of the courses are new foreign languages courses such as Chinese and Theater Appreciation.

The general education competency requirements will be changed, too. The current competencies include quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and written communication. A new competency called intercultural knowledge, with the attribute INKN, will be added.

“I think it’s not a radical change,” Otto said. “The only place where students are really going to have to be a little more cognizant when choosing classes is getting the intercultural knowledge courses.”

Existing courses that will be given an INKN attribute are Social Problems, Cultural Anthropology, Diversity Consciousness and Global Studies.

“I think by emphasizing the skills that students are getting they will hopefully start to realize that the courses they might think they will never need are actually helping them develop skills that they will apply in their jobs in the future,” Otto said. “There’s more to education than just getting prepared for a job.”

“I am revising the general education website, so students will be able to see the changes that way too,” Otto said.