Incoming students will never know Temple without the TECH Center, the newly renovated Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, or the Tyler School of Art on Main Campus and their education won’t be complete without the new General Education courses.
GenEd is the replacement to the previous Core Curriculum that is now obsolete for students admitted to Temple for the 2008-2009 school year.
Previously, students took Core classes along with their declared majors.
To satisfy the GenEd requirements students must complete 11 courses under nine different areas within the curriculum.
The fields include Analytical Reading and Writing, Quantitative Literacy, Arts, Human Behavior, Race and Diversity, Science and Technology, U.S. Society, World Society and Mosaic Humanities, which replaced Intellectual Heritage courses that explored prominent literature from the past.
Core credits earned at Temple still apply to students who enrolled prior to this semester. Students enrolled in the Core Curriculum also have the option to take GenEd classes and have the credits applied to their academic records.
While Core classes and those under GenEd may look identical Terry Halbert, director of the GenEd program and member of the General Education Executive Committee, said courses are only similar by name.
“It took us years and years just to decide what could be changed,” Halbert said.
A series of “turf wars” as she called them, were fought between departments on who would get the changes and what would remain the same.
The decision to scrap the Core Curriculum came out of department chairs working with each other, and realizing professors often cross into other subjects within separate majors.
Some of the classes under GenEd were carried over from the original Core classes.
Halbert said it’s because it is still the same professors but a different way of teaching is being implemented.
“Within the last 20 years a lot of research has been done on how people learn and the conclusions showed that it is in groups trying to solve problems or work on issues that they think are important,” Halbert said.
Another new technique brought about by GenEd is that similar courses are offered by different departments. The basic concepts of the course are covered by different departments with some variation. The professor’s academic background is also a factor.
Professor Robert Yantorno teaches “Investing for the Future” in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. He said students in the past had difficulty locating the course.
“They use to look under the business school and would never think to look under Electrical and Computer Engineering,” Yantorno said.
During the planning phase of GenEd, incorporating Philadelphia into the new courses was important to GEEC .
The city is now included in seven of the nine areas with 34 classes offering interaction with Temple’s urban setting. Course range from studies of arts and culture originating here to the role of law and justice within Philadelphia.
“Truthfully, I’m really interested in building up this Philadelphia experience,” Halbert said.
Mickey O’Malley, a freshman film and media arts major, is enrolled in “Dramatic Imagination,” an Arts course. Students in the class will attend live plays throughout the city.
“If you’re not from the region it gives you a chance to learn the area better,” O’Malley said. “You get to hang out in Philly and earn credits.”
With the 2008 school year just beginning GenEd remains untested, but Halbert said the program is being taught at colleges and universities across the country.
“The GenEd reform trend is nationwide,” Halbert said. “Schools are changing their required curriculum to look at the ways different areas of study blend or mix.”
Greg Adomaitis can be reached at email@example.com.