Matching the purpose of the general education curriculum with the reality of its implementation

Lesley Cottrell, Scott Cottrell, Michele Wheatly, Bernadette Jungblut, Elizabeth A. Dooley, Lisa Dibartolomeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This essay examines the current general education curriculum (gec) structure at a large institution where the gec program has been remodeled often to meet student needs. Assessment of this structure has been limited. Faculty and adviser perceptions of the gec’s role in the larger curriculum, strengths, areas for improvement, and impact on student learning were explored. Outcomes were observed across the sample as a whole, but the study also explored potential differences in perceptions based on the participants’ advising roles and rank and whether they had “ever” taught a gec course. The findings demonstrate that familiarity with and knowledge of the gec program was greatest at the departmental level but declined when participants were asked about gec at the college or university level. This finding was also seen among those who were currently teaching a gec course. Most participants recognized the role of the gec in student learning, retention, and graduation. However, there was no consensus on how the gec should be structured (e.g., variety of courses, skill-specific). These findings will contribute to gec planning and also identify a challenge about how to raise awareness of the gec offerings across the university.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of General Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Advising
  • Faculty
  • General education assessment
  • Student learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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