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General Education by U s: a Student Perspective Ashley Oberst, Kelly Haggerty, and Connie Adams Saint Mary’s College May 1, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "General Education by U s: a Student Perspective Ashley Oberst, Kelly Haggerty, and Connie Adams Saint Mary’s College May 1, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 General Education by U s: a Student Perspective Ashley Oberst, Kelly Haggerty, and Connie Adams Saint Mary’s College May 1, 2007

2 Purpose ► ► Last semester, Student Academic Council (SAC) was approached by general education administrative committee, lead by Dr. Incandela ► ► Group of SAC volunteers were asked to research and present the “Ideal General Education Requirements” from a student perspective ► ► This research will be used to help decision-makers in the process of updating the General Education Requirements of Saint Mary’s College

3 Methodology ► ► This research did not consider general education requirements by major (did consider by degree) ► ► Two methods were used to survey students:   In-person interviews   solicitation (less than 5% of surveying) ► ► Research of comparable colleges’ general education requirements (e.g. Calvin College), Saint Mary’s Purpose and Goals Statement, and Mission Statement also used to aid student committee members in forming suggestions

4 Methodology (continued) ► ► Two rounds of surveying:   1 st (informal): If you could change anything about Saint Mary’s General Education Requirements, what would you change? (target population: student body)   2 nd (formal): Students asked five approved questions (target population: juniors and seniors) ► ► Aladdin Fouad (department of college research) reviewed questions: approve as unbiased

5 Organization of Findings ► ► Results reveal identity:   Who we are   What we need   What we want ► ► Informal survey results (1 st ) ► ► Formal survey questions (2 nd ) ► ► Formal survey results ► ► Committee suggestions: the “Ideal General Education Requirements”

6 Identity

7 Who we are Jeanne Choquehuanca

8 We are: ► 21 st Century Women ► Intellectuals ► Practical ► Spiritual ► Inquisitive ► Leaders ► Individuals

9 What we need Senior Beth Sands on her Pilgrimage in Mexico

10 We need: ► Intellectual Challenge ► Excitement ► Culture ► Knowledge of a greater world ► Knowledge of our history as women ► Practical, applicable classes specific to our individual needs ► Joy/pride of self- enlightenment

11 What we want First-year Ashley Williams

12 We want: ► Opportunity to take higher level courses to fulfill general education requirement ► Interactive learning:  Is enjoyment obtained from the material?  What ideas challenge us?  Learning by questioning ► Opportunities to be immersed in other cultures, to be knowledgeable of current events, places, and ideas ► Women’s studies course

13 What we want (continued) ► More physical education/recreation courses  More “well-being” courses, such as women’s health ► Options:  Option to choose from a list and to study abroad  More classes to prepare for future, e.g. additional math/business course in financial literacy or GRE preparation ► Guidance, not hand-holding: we want to learn collectively as individuals  Knowledgeable and willing advisors  Area to grow; to realize on own why learning, rather than being told why/how to learn

14 Results: Informal Survey ► Better advising ► Women’s studies course (a must) ► One less science class (those that require two) ► One less foreign language class ► Additional math class ► Practical finance class needed (taxes, loans, etc.) ► Diversity and service learning ► More PE classes ► More options If you could change anything about Saint Mary’s General Education Requirements, what would you change? Most popular responses:

15 Why a formal survey? ► Committee members do not believe adding a class implies removing a class ► Popular responses to informal question needed clarification to help committee members in the process ► Specific areas of interest:  Science  Math  Interactive learning

16 Questions of Formal Survey ► ► What is your major? ► ► Reflecting on your time and education at Saint Mary’s, do you feel an additional course in mathematics would be beneficial to your overall education? (ex. Financial literacy course) ► ► Along the same lines, do you feel the current requirements of two lecture/lab science classes is beneficial to your overall education? ► ► Do you feel a one semester lab science would be more beneficial? ► ► Would you like to see more discussion-based class time across the curriculum?

17 Qualified Responses ► ► Answers needed rational reasoning   Yes/No only answers were not considered ► ► Surveyors did not accept the following types of reasoning:   …because I hate/love or like/dislike…   …because that was a hard/easy class… ► ► Surveyors wanted to know if something was beneficial to the individual’s overall education, not whether she likes/dislikes a course

18 Formal Survey Results Number of student respondents: Majors (22 different majors): elementary/secondary education, history, English writing, French, economics, humanistic studies, marketing, accounting, studio art, chemistry, mathematics, English literature, political science, communications, civil engineering, psychology, Spanish, social work, religious studies, biology, and nursing

19 2. Reflecting on your time and education at Saint Mary’s, do you feel an additional course in mathematics would be beneficial to your overall education? ► ► Yes ‘If’s reasoning: (22)   if financial literacy type course ► ► Applicable (to real life), taxes, balance checkbook, 401k, pension plans, sign on bonuses, stocks, problem solving, proofs/logic skills, practical   if taking GRE/LSAT type tests ► ► Helpful for review and logic ► ► Yes reasoning: (5)   Logic, will use no matter what career, helpful for grad school/job search ► ► No reasoning: (7)   One sufficient, too many create schedule problems, not pertain to major, do not require—publicize current one

20 3. Along the same lines, do you feel the current requirement of two lecture/laboratory science courses is beneficial to your overall education? ► Yes reasoning: (26)  Science too broad cover all in one semester, too crammed in one semester, enforce logic, problem solving, and critical thinking, better rounded education  Need open ‘science by learning’ to all (2) ► No reasoning: (10)  Four days/week too much, three hours of lab too much, not applicable to career, schedule conflicts because takes up so much time

21 4. Do you feel a one semester lecture/laboratory science requirement would be more beneficial? ► Yes reasoning: (10)  Less time consuming, one semester sufficient, went too in-depth—make more broad ► No reasoning: (28)  Well-rounded education from two, not want admit—but happy to have taken for future, problem solving skills

22 5. Would you like to see more discussion-based class time across the curriculum? (Interactive Learning) ► Yes reasoning: (32)  Hear other ideas and opinions, break up long lecture, easier remember because see applications, learn through debate, enforce/challenge beliefs, inquiry-based learning  Example: have student present article/day ► No reasoning: (6)  Some classes need more straight facts, get off- topic, takes up class time  Solution: do not require—but suggest little more

23 Committee Suggestions: the “Ideal General Education Requirements” ► ► Addition of 1 credit hour 1 st year seminar to include:   Advising, W and D process   Introduction to college life and resources   Service requirement (3 – 5 hours) ► ► Addition of 3 credit hour women’s studies course

24 Committee Suggestions (continued) ► ► Language: Mission Conversation   Negative feedback on language lab requirements   Propose four credit hour lecture and lab become a three credit hour lecture plus a one credit hour conversation course (Guatemalan speaker) ► ► Addition of three credit hour Geography course to ‘additional designated courses’ list   Geography and current events   Degrees/majors require between one and four ‘additional designated courses’ (mostly social sciences)

25 Committee Suggestions: Proficiencies ► ► Language Proficiency   Students may test out of second semester language if pass proficiency requirement after completion of one semester language ► ► Addition of D for Diversity   Must complete D, as with W   Classes must discuss at least three of eight diversity requirements to be considered D: Gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age discrimination, religion, culture, socio-economic background, sexuality ► ► Technology Proficiency   Per department   must complete with Advanced W

26 Other Suggestions: ► Based on responses to the formal question on math, committee suggests a math-based (not required) financial literacy course ► Suggest (not require) more math courses, e.g. GRE/LSAT preparation courses ► Suggest (not require) more PE courses, e.g. kick boxing, karate, tae kwon do, golf, wrestling ► Not require a tandem course  We are individuals at different levels of development  We like options, self-confidence from realizing on own the purpose of the general education requirements, without being given the “ways of learning” document

27 Thank you


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