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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Gen Ed Rolls Out

Each fall, new students invariably get lost looking for classrooms in Wheatley, searching for books in the stacks of the Healey Library, and hunting down cars parked in the university garage. Getting oriented can be a truly disorienting experience. This fall, all UMass Boston students run the risk of feeling a little bit lost as they learn about this year’s full implementation of the General Education program, a major change in the undergraduate curriculum requirements. The good news is that there is plenty of help for students who have questions and plenty of good reason for the changes being made.

“The capabilities taught in the new General Education curriculum-including critical reading and thinking, clear writing, academic self-assessment, collaborative learning, information and technology literacy, and oral presentation–will teach our students how to be effective lifelong learners, ” says John Applebee, director of the University Advising Center. “Our students will be better prepared to effectively meet the evolving demands of the modern workplace.”

Janet Wagner, Associate Dean of the College of Management and Chair of the Provost’s General Education Implementation Committee explains the rationale for the new curriculum: “The faculty really wanted change in the curriculum to make sure students experience their learning here as an integrated set of experiences. As faculty, we want to focus our teaching efforts on a well defined set of capabilities that we think all students need in order to be educated people.”

Two years ago, the first experiences in the General Education Program were implemented. Many students should now be familiar with the first-year seminars, and recently matriculating CAS students also should be familiar with the new “quantitative reasoning” courses, and the intermediate seminars, which are already in place. This fall’s major changes concern the distribution requirements and capstone experiences in the majors for most students. Students are also likely to find that several of their classes have been revamped to address the larger general education objectives.

Because requirements vary by college as well as by the academic year of student matriculation, the Fall 2002 Course Schedule Booklet outlines each group’s requirements in painstaking detail. Additionally, in the course listings section, those courses that meet the new requirements have been identified with two letter codes in the schedule book making them much easier to find.

Students who have questions are encouraged to contact their advisor, either in their department or in the Advising Center. Director Applebee says, ” The University Advising Center is working with the General Education Committee to resolve some of the questions for students raised by the implementation of the new requirements. It is communicating these requirements to students through the new student orientation process.”