Faculty senate endorses liberal studies program


This article was originally published prior to June 2, 2013.  Due to a change in content management systems, the initial publication date is not available.

The new liberal studies program was endorsed by the Baker University Faculty Senate on Tuesday.

The new liberal studies program will replace the old general education and consists of three types of courses: inquiry seminars, linked courses and salons.

The inquiry seminars will be the core courses in which students will develop necessary skills such as writing, critical thinking and oral communication skills.

The linked courses will be connected to the inquiry seminars and will allow students to gain a better understanding of themselves, their community and their world.

The salons will be used for student-led discussions.

Erin Joyce, assistant dean of liberal studies, said the new liberal studies program will reduce the number of general education courses from 64 credit hours to 38-39 credit hours. Joyce said she hopes this will allow students to be able to double-major more easily and go more in-depth into their major.

Joyce said the current general education program is 20-years old and outdated.

“The outcomes of the liberal studies program are based on what students in 2010 really need to know now before they leave (Baker), rather than what students needed to know in 1990,” Joyce said.

Although the new general education program has been endorsed by the Baker University Faculty Senate, it will not be implemented next year

There will be at least a year before the program is offered to incoming Baker students in order to work out the details of the program.

Sophomore Megan Reid said she wishes she could try out the new liberal studies program instead of taking the current general education courses.

“If I would have been able to be in the new liberal studies program I feel like it would have been a lot less stressful for me,” Reid said. “Only some of my courses for my major coordinate with my general education courses, so I am constantly trying to work out my schedule.”

The General Education Taskforce, or GET, committee for the new liberal studies program has been working for three years on different general education program proposals and they began their work with a lot of student feedback on what students felt they needed to learn before graduation.

“Now that we are getting ready to implement the program we need more student feedback again,” Joyce said.

Faculty senate also approved four travel interterms for the upcoming academic year. The interterms include trips to Spain, scuba diving, Hebrew in the Holy Land and a concert tour.

Senate also discussed several course deletions, changes to the oral communication proficiency and changes to the Computer Science program.