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Integration of Liberal and Professional Education Dr. Milton Clark, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Otto Chang, Associate Dean of Business and Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Integration of Liberal and Professional Education Dr. Milton Clark, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Otto Chang, Associate Dean of Business and Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integration of Liberal and Professional Education Dr. Milton Clark, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Otto Chang, Associate Dean of Business and Public Administration California State University, San Bernardino

2 The Purpose The session presents a broad-based student survey on what knowledge and competencies students identified as critical and valuable for their life as an effective and productive citizen of modern society. Among the list of knowledge and competencies identified are knowledge of financial markets, savings, and investmentknowledge traditionally excluded from general education.

3 The Message The survey suggests that: –The traditional liberal arts-based general education curriculum may be too narrow to effectively achieve its originally intended goals –Integration of liberal and professional education is not only desirable but also necessary for a holistic and complete general education curriculum.

4 Goals of General Education Most of the general education curriculum in the nation has broad goals that intend to prepare their graduates for a rewarding engagement in their personal life, professional life, and an active involvement in their civic duties.

5 Prominent Roles of Financial and Economic Activities In our modern society, financial and economic activities have become a very important component, if not the most dominating aspect, of human experience. They have become the unseen force behind many social and political changes that have long and prevailing impacts on our society as a whole and on each citizen as an individual.

6 Examples Turn on the television or radio, can you imagine any prime time news program without the reports of changes in stock indices? In any local or national election, economy, employment and tax are always complicated issues up for debates by voters.

7 Importance of Personal Financial Planning In any persons life, budgeting and financial health is an indispensable aspect of an individuals wellbeing. Personal debts and bankruptcy not only ruin families, but also affect national economic health through its impact on savings and consumption.

8 Status Quo: A Hole in the GE Due to the artificial distinctions established over time by academia, students, other than those enrolled in business schools, have received little exposure to the complicated financial and economic environment in which they live. Students, as a result of such educational practices, are doomed to fail in their personal life as well as in their roles as responsible citizens.

9 An Even Bigger Hole The traditional wall between liberal arts and professional education creates permanent damage to the development of professional education or major programs.

10 For Example… Take business education for example, there is very little discussion regarding the validity of profit-maximization as the basic premise of business activities in main stream business education. There may be one or two courses on business ethics or social responsibilities of corporations, but the fundamental principles of a business organization are unshakably rooted in self-interest and shareholder value-maximization. Social or ethical considerations are only marginally add-ons that are secondary to the profit motif.

11 The Consequence There is no wonder that there are so many fraudulent corporate irregularities in our society. The definite source of the problem appears to be a deficient professional education system that fails to integrate a liberal arts education into its foundation.

12 The Solution Eliminate the artificial distinctions between liberal arts and professional education. Explore the possible connections between general education and major programs in professional schools.

13 Supporting Data: Voices from the Students* (1) Should GE be part of college curriculum? –Yes (88%) No (12%) Importance of goals of GE curriculum: –To lay a basic knowledge foundation for professional and career growth 4.29* –To cultivate informed and responsible citizens for our modern society 4.13 –To enrich personal life and well-being 4.01 * On a 5-point scale, 5 -- the most important

14 Supporting Data: Voices from the Students* (2) Other goals of GE curriculum: –To reinforce or brush up basic skills –To help direct undeclared students toward a fitting degree –To increase awareness and tolerance of other cultures/races –To become a better human being –To connect or network –To make the students stay longer in school

15 Supporting Data: Voices from the Students* (3) A comment we like the best: –There are many urgent and unique problems facing the emerging adult society and general education classes can assist in informing students on these issues. Especially important are issues concerning morality, the environment, and global issues (business, developing nations, environment, etc). I think it is extremely important to assure that some of the required curriculum focuses intensely on these issues. Too few young adults truly understand globalization and its impacts, the depth of environmental issues facing coming generations, and what is happening in the rest of the world.

16 Supporting Data: Voices from the Students* (4) Rank of knowledge or skill to achieve GE goals: 1.Written Communication 3.55** 2.Critical thinking Oral communication Computer and technology Economic and investment Mathematics World history and culture 2.80 *Sample size: 241 senior students from a state university. **On a 4-point scale, 4 being Most Important

17 Voices from Students (5) Rank of Knowledge or skill to achieve GE goals (continued): 8. American History and institutions Sociology Psychology Physical fitness & self-improvement Business and management Life Science Physical science Philosophy & religion Arts and letters Earth ecology & environmental science 2.42

18 Voices from Students (6) How well are you prepared? 1.Written communication 4.09* 2.Critical thinking Oral communication Mathematics Psychology Computer & technology American history and institutions Sociology 3.45 *Based on a 5-point scale, 5 being very well prepared

19 Voices from Students (7) How well are you prepared? (continued) 9. World history and cultures Life sciences Physical sciences Arts and letters Physical fitness and self-improvement Philosophy and religions Earth ecology and environment Economics and investment Business and management 3.00

20 Voices from Students (8) How well is college curriculum integrated? –Within each of GE categories (humanity, natural and social sciences) 3.46* –Between GE and professional knowledge in your chosen field 3.43 –Within GE curriculum across humanities, natural and social sciences 3.41 * On a 5-point scale, 5 being very well integrated

21 Voices from Students (9) Effective ways to integrate liberal and professional education: 1.Bring professional applications and real life problems into GE foundation courses (3.49/4.0)* 2.Allow professional schools to offer courses of common interest as GE electives (3.42) 3.Have customized GE curriculum for different professions (3.41) 4.Restructure GE course by applications rather than by disciplines (3.08) 5.Increase exploration of philosophical and fundamental assumptions in professional knowledge (2.93) 6.Require applied projects in GE foundation courses (2.91)

22 Voices from Students (10): Comments on GE –It is assumed that by the time one enters the university all courses such as sociology, history, political science, and speech are done but it seems that we go through it all over again. Perhaps capstones that are created to suit all sciences like business, math, English, and nursing would be better or capstones designed specifically to major to better integrate knowledge. –Although I enjoyed the Humanities: Latino Studies capstone, I am not sure what was being integrated. Some of the information near the end of the course might be of use in my Business/Accounting in understanding employee behavior and such, but it was not discussed.

23 Voices from Students (11) The comments that are not encouraging: –The stated goals of the GE program are admirable; but, the GE requirements and courses, as they are now structured, do not accomplish them. Even with these requirements, the students are not accomplished speakers, writers, or thinkers. These courses seem to breed resentment, are demoralizing, and present obstacles to the students rather than insuring that they become accomplished and well- rounded. The results that are accomplished are actually counter to the goals.

24 Voices from Students (12) –There are many disciplines offered at CSUSB that the GE program has no relation to. I have yet to meet a single student (which includes students graduating with highest honors) that feel that the work they put into the enormous G.E. requirement has benefited them and their ability to succeed within their discipline… My personal discipline (music) takes 4 to 5 years to complete… the G.E. requirement is ridiculously large and it is disappointing to see how much time is taken with having to take those classes instead of applying what we learn in our major courses.

25 Ways to Integrate (1) Example of increasing exploration of philosophical and fundamental assumptions and presumptions in professional knowledge: MBA/REL 582 Humanistic Buddhism and Management offered in The University of West This is a course where basic Buddhist values are used to reconstruct theories and principles of organizational structure, behavior, culture, innovation, and performance for modern organizations. Comparisons are made to classical and contemporary management theories.

26 Ways to integrate (2) Example of requiring applied projects in GE foundation courses: Hayes Valley Public Housing Complex Computer Learning Center conducted by Professor Gerald Eisman at CSUSF. This is a community-based participatory research project where multi-disciplines skills and knowledge are required such as social work, political science, computer science, public administration.

27 Ways to integrate (3) Example of bringing professional applications and real life problems into GE foundation courses: Phil 355 Contemporary Ethical Issues taught by Professor Chris Naticchia at CSUSB. This course prepare students to participate in the Ethics Bowl and the LMU Intercollegiate Business Ethics competitions Many of the problems debated at the competitions requires integration of disciplines, e.g., should all employers be required to provide health insurance to their employees?

28 The Epilogue The ideas explored are in line with the educational framework articulated by AAC&U in its 2002 report, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College. In particular, it addresses the AAC&Us plea to end the artificial distinctions between liberal arts and professional education, to connect general education to major programs, and to emphasize advanced and culminating programs in degree-granting institutions.

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