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Central Washington University

CWU’s Makes New General Education Requirements More Relevant to Student Learning

Under new requirements recently approved by Central Washington University’s Faculty Senate, General Education classes will become more relevant to students.

“The idea behind the new Gen Ed requirements is to make the Gen Ed experience meaningful for students and bring it into the 21st Century,” said Amy Claridge, associate professor of Family and Child Life and chair of the Faculty Senate. “Our hope is that students will see relevant connections between General Education classes and what they’re interested in studying.”

Claridge said in the past students often couldn’t see how General Education classes, which are basic education classes usually taken during a student’s first two years, directly relate to their prospective majors or to their future careers.

“The new requirements are aimed at making the General Education program more germane to what students wish to study,” said Katherine Frank, CWU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Life. “It’s a way we can make these classes more applicable to the students’ academic and professional interests and foster curiosity for lifelong learning.”

The new General Education requirements offer students choices in eight general content areas that include: reasoning and research; physical and natural world; science and technology; individual and society; community, culture, and citizenship; global dynamics; creative expression; and humanities.

Within each of those content areas, students will select from a list of four to ten classes that relate to their chosen pathway, which is an overall theme that runs through all content areas.

Additionally, first-year students will participate in a special topics seminar with enrollment capped at 20 students. Claridge said the idea behind the seminar is to provide new students with an opportunity to get to know their professors and other students.

“We want to offer a small class environment in which the student can build relationships with faculty and other students,” she said. “We think this will help students feel more a part of the university community, and in turn, promote student retention.”

Students will also take a course, called a “Culminating Experience,” during their senior year at CWU. This can take the form of a project or capstone class that serves to round out the student’s academic experience.

Claridge said current students may continue with the present General Education requirements or have the option to select the new requirements. She said the new requirements, which the Faculty Senate worked on for more than two-and-a-half years, will be regularly reviewed and  can change and evolve over time.

“In all of these new requirements, we are still teaching core basic skills but through the lens of something that the students will be more interested in,” Claridge said. “Our goal is to continuously reevaluate the program and allow it to evolve so it remains current and relevant to the students.”

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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