Philosophy behind the General Education
The General Education (GenEd) Program serves as Temple University's liberal education requirements for all undergraduate students and provides a foundation for learning and development practices that help students succeed academically and professionally.
A recent survey of more than 300 employers nationwide conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities indicated that the majority of employers seek graduates with 4-year degrees with a mix of deep disciplinary skills and knowledge and a broad base of skills and abilities. Skills and abilities which employers ranked most important for schools and colleges to develop included communication skills, critical thinking skills, the ability to apply abstract theories and ideas to concrete experiences and practices, and problem-solving skills.
GenEd facilitates linkages by stressing the development of eight competencies rather than content knowledge. The Program in General Education provides opportunities for students to engage in:
Within GenEd, students who think critically recognize an object of investigation, frame questions about it, and interrogate assumptions—explicit or implicit. Critical thinking includes the evaluation of evidence, analysis and synthesis of multiple sources, and reflection on varied perspectives. Critical thinking generates a well-developed investigation that incorporates supporting and countering claims. A student engaged in critical thinking produces an informed account, a hypothesis for further study, or the solution to a problem.
Understand historical and contemporary issues in context
Within GenEd, students who contextualize learning understand and integrate historical, contemporary, and cultural phenomena and their underlying principles in two broad applications. First, contextual learners recognize the interaction of complex forces that give rise to specific phenomena. Second, contextual learners understand and analyze related events, artifacts, practices and concepts across geographic, chronological and cultural boundaries.
Understand and apply knowledge in and across disciplines
Within GenEd, students who use interdisciplinary thinking recognize the world presents problems, topics, or issues too complex to be satisfactorily addressed though a single lens. Thus, interdisciplinary thinkers apply multiple perspectives, paradigms, and frameworks to problems, topics, or issue
Communicate effectively orally and in writing
Within GenEd, students who communicate effectively use spoken and written language to construct a message that demonstrates the communicator has established clear goals and has considered her or his audience. Effective messages are organized and presented in a style appropriate to the context.
Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning
Within GenEd, students who exercise quantitative and scientific reasoning use and apply these reasoning processes to explain phenomena in the context of everyday life. Quantitative reasoning includes statistical and/or logical problem-solving, the relationships between quantities, and the use and misuse of quantitative data. Scientific reasoning introduces students to the evolution and interdependence of science and technology and includes problem identification, hypothesis evaluation, experimentation, interpretation of results and the use and misuse of scientific data.
Function as an engaged citizen in a diverse and globalized world
Within GenEd, students open to civic engagement view themselves as connected to local and global communities where they participate in activities that address issues of public concern. Critically engaged students define issues, pose, probe, and solve problems with an awareness of and an inclusion of the diverse values and interests.
Identify, access and evaluate sources of information
Within GenEd, information literacy encompasses a broad spectrum of abilities, including the ability to recognize and articulate information needs; to locate, critically evaluate, and organize information for a specific purpose; and to recognize and reflect on the ethical use of information.
Promote a lasting curiosity
GenEd cultivates these skills and abilities throughout the required undergraduate curriculum, and students will experience these ways of being though readings, discussions, activities, and classes throughout GenEd.
The GenEd program attempts to foster the development of such skills through its curriculum by providing students multiple opportunities to exercise, in multiple contexts and settings, their communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills and we attempt to do so by helping students make connections from academic knowledge to experience.
These and other modes of stretching and contextualizing traditional disciplinary content prepare students to deal with a rapidly globalizing world, in which the resolution of complicated issues increasingly calls upon the ability to see a problem from many angles and to synthesize divergent perspectives.
Ultimately, GenEd is about equipping our students to make connections between what they learn, their lives and their communities.