The Ad Hoc Committee on General Education Review and Revision was charged with considering and proposing revisions to General Education that would better serve our students and achieve our educational mission.

As part of that work, we are now seeking feedback on four illustrative models that differ from one another and from our current approach to General Education. These are intended to be conversation starters—we have come to no conclusions about what a revised curriculum should be; we are still exploring what it could be.

These models reflect the feedback we heard from you and our research on other schools’ programs. The models have different approaches to scaffolding the curriculum, to balancing thematic unity with distributive range, and to the overall size of the core, among many other things. We are not asking you to vote between them, but rather to identify the key ideas you most want us to continue thinking about and those in which you are least interested.

It will be natural to focus on specific details and to first ask how you or your program would fit in and benefit from each of these. We hope you will instead focus on the key ideas in these models and help us to think about broad questions concerning what PLU’s students need and how we can best achieve our educational mission. Part of our work in summer and fall will be to work out specifics and to consider in more detail how the proposal we eventually develop will impact departments and programs.

A brief summary of each model is below; please use each link to download a pdf with more complete explanations.

At our May 11 Faculty Assembly, we will propose an informal discussion so that you can share your feedback. After that, you will have a chance to provide written feedback through this site. We will also resume this conversation as a faculty at fall conference.

Illustrative Models for Discussion

Model A: PLU Core
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Model B: PLU Experience
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Model C: Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability
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Model D: Engaging Contemporary Challenges
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This model features a lean distributive liberal arts core and a required minor outside of the school or division of a student’s major as well as a common set of courses which focus on vocation and the mission themes of Leadership, Service and Care. This model combines scaffolded First Year and Second Year Experiences with a distributive core. This scaffolding is designed to improve student retention and to introduce students to key elements of the PLU experience. In their first two years, students take 5 courses designed solely for General Education, designed to complement and build on each other.This is a thematic core that focuses students’ general education on a single theme with a scaffolded series of courses. The theme used here, based on PLU 2020, is Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability. This core would offer a distinctive and common perspective for all PLU students that would shape and define our campus community. This model also integrates and emphasizes the AAC&U’s High Impact Educational Practices.In this model, students engage in two categories of study: 1) a foundational set of common courses, and 2) a thematic pathway through their distributive core chosen from 5 options, each of which focuses on a tension inherent in 21st century life.
• Reduces the size of the distributive core in order to make room for a required, complementary minor
• Adds a thematic focus to the first-year writing courses
• Creates two 2-credit mission-focused sophomore courses
• Requires a writing intensive course in the major
• Creates a scaffolded sequence of courses through the second year
• Establishes courses focused on Lutheran Studies, Social Justice, and Care for the Earth as expressions of PLU’s identity and mission
• Includes a team-taught course to encourage faculty interactions and model interdisciplinary dialogue
• Establishes a single-course language or study away requirement
• Thematic design creates a distinctive focus for general education
• Suggested theme of Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability builds on PLU 2020
• Focuses on High Impact Practices throughout the core
• Creates a team taught, interdisciplinary course
• Creates a thematic core while retaining some distributive elements
• Offers options for students to choose their thematic pathway
• Suggested themes focus on a core tension to inspire critical thinking and faculty collaboration.
• Distribution requirements would be overseen by central committee rather than any department, division, or school