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Reimagining General Education

This webpage archives information from spring 2019-spring 2020. Current information can be obtained by viewing the UCC General Education Committee webpage.

Reimagining OHIO’s General Education Program

Ohio University holds as its central purpose the intellectual and personal development of its students.  Ohio University is committed to developing each student’s potential to contribute to the public good. By combining the culture and personal attention of a small, residential institution with the opportunities of a large public research university, Ohio University immerses students in a shared community of learning that builds character while preparing them to address the local, national, and global challenges of the 21st Century.

General Education at Ohio University

Ohio University is committed to the belief that students need certain intellectual skills in order to participate effectively in society. These have explicitly included the following:

  • The ability to communicate effectively through the written word and the ability to use quantitative or symbolic reasoning.
  • Broad knowledge of the major fields of learning.
  • A capacity for evaluation and synthesis.

To achieve these skills, OHIO’s general education (GE) program includes a three–tiered GE requirement that all baccalaureate-degree students (except those in the Honors Tutorial College) must fulfill:

  • Tier I course requirements build your quantitative and English composition skills;
  • Tier II course requirements increase your breadth of knowledge; and
  • The Tier III course requirement develops your ability to interrelate, synthesize, and integrate knowledge from different academic disciplines.

A Brief History of General Education at Ohio University

OHIO’s original GE program was established by the Faculty in May 1979. Since 1979, a number of major reforms have been attempted, yet only minor adjustments have been made. For example, two major reform initiatives (in 1995 and 2005) were introduced but recommendations for updating GE were not adopted by the Faculty Senate. However, the following three changes have been made:

  • In 2005, the Faculty Senate approved changes to Tier III. The revision allowed capstone courses (Tier III Equivalent) to be substituted for current Tier III requirements

  • In 2006, the Faculty Senate approved revisions to Tier II. The revision reorganized the breadth of knowledge into six areas.

  • In 2011, the Faculty Senate approved revisions to Tier I. The revisions established Junior Composition Equivalency (JE) courses.

In 2014, the Faculty Senate approved a more robust set of outcomes for its graduates known as the General Education Common Goals. Passed on May 5, 2014, the Resolution for the Endorsement of the General Education Common Goals directed the General Education Task Force to:

  1. develop learning objectives for these goals;
  2. propose possible changes to general education in order to meet the learning objectives for these goals;
  3. incorporate learning outcomes and assessment into any proposed changes to general education; and
  4. propose any suggested revisions to UCC and EPSA before final approval of Faculty Senate.

Following the directives of the May 2014 Faculty Senate Resolution, the 2017-18 UCC General Education Committee defined and prepared student learning outcomes for each common goal. Definitions and outcomes were presented to UCC and Faculty Senate in 2018.

Reimagining General Education Task Force

In April 2019, a new review of OHIO’s GE program began with broad ambitions to examine OHIO’s general education program using the common goals framework. Following the directives of the May 2014 Faculty Senate Resolution, the Reimagining General Education Task Force and the Reimagining General Education Advisory Group are working towards reimagining, revising, and reforming OHIO’s general education program in order to meet the learning outcomes of OHIO’s General Education Common Goals.

Leaders of the task force include:

  • Cynthia Cogswell, Director of Strategic Planning & Assessment, Division of Student Affairs
  • Todd Eisworth, Chair, Mathematics Department
  • Katie Hartman, Chair, University Curriculum Council General Education Committee
  • Sara Helfrich, Chair, University Curriculum Council
  • Elizabeth Sayrs, Dean, University College; Senior Vice Provost, Undergraduate Education and Student Success
  • Beth Quitslund, Co-Chair, University Curriculum Council Individual Course Committee
  • Sarah Wyatt, Chair, Faculty Senate Professional Relations Committee

Presentations and Discussions


Leaders of the Reimagining General Education Task Force will regularly present to the Faculty Senate and the University Curriculum Council (UCC) to provide progress updates.

  • In September 2019 the Task Force presented motivations for reimagining general education and general-education principles to Faculty Senate and UCC.
  • In October 2019, the Task Force presented the general education program statements of intent and proposed models for consideration to Faculty Senate on Monday, October 7 and UCC on Tuesday, October 8). The full report is also available.

  • In October 2019, the Task Force hosted a Poster Event at Baker Center University for all faculty, staff, and students. Posters shared the reasons for reimagining general education, the common goals, the statements of intent, three proposed models for considerations, and the reimagining general education timeline.

  • In November 2019, the Task Force presented a revised model to Faculty Senate and UCC. Handouts were also available.

  • In December 2019, the Task Force presented an updated revised model to Faculty Senate and UCC.  Handouts were also available.
  • In January/February 2020, the University Curriculum Council and the Faculty Senate formally voted to approve the revised general education statements of intent and model. The approved revisions are available as a presentation and as a handout.

For convenience, answers to frequently asked questions are provided.


For additional information, questions, or concerns, please contact Katie Hartman at hartmank@ohio.edu.