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Aug. 18, 2006
CONTACT: Ron Podell

EMU's new general education program to help students prepare for the world

YPSILANTI – When a student graduates from college, it is often said that they are ready for the world. Eastern Michigan University’s new general education program is designed to make that statement even more viable.

The new general education program, dubbed “Education for Participation in the Global Community,” will start in fall 2007. The program will focus on:

  • Preparing students to participate in a global community and become informed world citizens;
  • Providing outcomes-based learning. Learning outcomes will be made explicit, helping faculty create learning experiences that help students meet these outcomes;
  • Encouraging life-long learning. The new program will help EMU students learn how to learn, which is crucial in an era when it is estimated the average person changes careers up to six times during a lifetime.
  • Creating an EMU community. The new program, with a focus on both curricular and co-curricular experiences, will give students much more of a sense of community before, during and after graduation.

“It is through a strong general education foundation that a university provides a learning environment that enhances student’s lives, enables them to contribute to multiple communities and better prepares them for the world that awaits them upon graduation,” said Chris Wood Foreman, the new director of general education at EMU.

The new general education program will require EMU students to take 40 hours of credits rather than the current 50 hours required (48 general education credits and a two-credit requirement in health and wellness).  The current general education program, or basic studies program, was implemented in 1989, and is more course specific.

The new curriculum will be outcome-based and focuses on five areas. Under the new program, the

largest number of credits — 25 — must cover knowledge of the following disciplines: natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Other credits are required to demonstrate effective communication (6), quantitative reasoning (3) and perspectives on a diverse world (6).

Foreman’s duties include:

  • Helping coordinate the efforts of admissions, academic advising, Campus Life and academic

departments in providing an outstanding general education program to EMU’s students.

  • Being responsible for meeting with various external constituencies, which have a stake in EMU’s General Education program.
  • Teaching sections of general education classes and be involved in general education advising.
  • Being involved in the creation of faculty development resources for general education.
  • Chairing the General Education Advisory Committee and, when necessary, participate on its various subcommittees.
  • Producing scholarship related to general education, in the form of books, articles or conference presentations.
  • Working on grant projects in support of the general education program.

Since 1994, Foreman had been a professor of communication and theatre arts at EMU. Foreman received her doctorate in organizational communication and her master’s degree in communication, both from the University of Kentucky. She received her bachelor’s degree in business management from Bowling Green State University.

“The combination of excellence in teaching, knowledge of the new curriculum, and leadership abilities make her an excellent choice for the position,” said Don Loppnow, provost and vice president for academics. “We are confident that she will provide the necessary leadership to successfully launch the new curriculum and establish an infrastructure for sustaining and strengthening the program through continuous oversight and periodic assessment.”

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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