Strategic Planning for Curricular Policy and Programmatic Issues Committee Report
An AQIP Team including several members of the Residential University faculty, the Dean of the Extended University and a full time Extended University academic advisor recently completed a thorough review of the University’s General Education program, and its recommendations were approved by both the faculty and the administration in April, 2007. The revised system is currently being assimilated into the overall University curriculum. The present committee, having examined the new structure, believes that the General Education’s new design is congruent with the University’s newly revised mission to develop global citizens; that it, in fact, seems to anticipate the revised mission. Of course there may be additional competencies relevant to the University’s efforts to develop global citizenship, and the committee assumes that the new system is fluid enough to accommodate phylogeny.
In June, 2007, another University committee, acting under the direction of the Strategic Planning Group, independently arrived at a list of competencies and capabilities it perceived as essential to full global citizenship. That list is remarkably similar to the one arrived at by the AQIP Team as it fashioned its system of Tasks which students would complete as they worked their way through the General Education. Both attach high value to communication and problem solving skills, cultural sensitivity and aesthetic sophistication, and technological competence.
For the sake of comparison, the present committee has also looked at a global citizenship matrix prepared by a University of Washington task force laboring under a similar mandate. Upper Iowa’s AQIP and Strategic groups’ conclusions differ more from the Washington group’s than from each other’s, in particular with regard to communication and problem solving skills. The committee endorses Upper Iowa’s approach, and suggests that time and assessment will determine what further modifications may be appropriate at some future time.
It is worth noting that, in anticipation of a general academic swing toward the idea of global citizenship, Upper Iowa began offering General Education coursework in cultural anthropology in 2001, for the first time in a generation; at the same time, the University approved the creation of a tenure track faculty position in that area. The General Education is, in brief, soundly in accordance with the University’s Mission Statement.
On the other hand, there is little in Upper Iowa’s major degree and graduate programs that speaks to or encourages the development of a global citizenry. A few elective courses in a scattering of programs address the concept (e.g. BA 424 International Marketing, COMM 221 Intercultural Communication), but there seems little consideration given among majors to incorporate into or even to directly acknowledge in the curricula the overarching goal of global citizenship.
The members of the present committee, whose academic degrees represent the fields of anthropology, education and English, do not believe that they are in position either of