Rethinking the Curriculum: Toward an Integrated, Interdisciplinary College Education

By Mary E. Clark ; Sandra A. Wawrytko | Go to book overview

How can we best renew the two-thirds of all college professors now teaching who are slated for retirement in the next twelve years? It seems that the only choice is to renew ourselves, by providing an intellectual environment where we can continue learning.

I will conclude with these observations by my colleague, Dick Jacobs, on the "exportability" of programs such as the IGE Program: 7

The need to reform general education should emerge from an informed and concerned faculty and not be imposed from the top down on the faculty.

Each college and university must create its own institutional and intellectual world. The pride of authorship and the process of deliberation cannot be short-circuited by the import of another program. At the same time, the inevitable insularity of the individual institution can be diminished by the investigation of other viable models. The IGE Program would serve as a valuable resource and model in this regard.

There must be a group of faculty, with broad intellectual interests, who can broker and mediate the proprietary interests of departmental and disciplinary concerns.

The emphasis should be on the significant issues, paradigms, and concepts of the human experience, with an open-ended and problematic approach. This helps to avoid looking at curriculum as turf, to be divided up according to some fixed scheme.

Methods may be developed to activate faculty as authentic learners, sufficiently secure and adequately supported, to pursue the possibilities for professional renewal and institutional reform. . . . The definitions of professional responsibility must be extended beyond subject specialization to include an obligation to the level of excellence and sum total impact of the entire university and college experience on the students.

The first step in the initial process of consideration should not be practicable or even reasonable, taking into account institutional resources, past traditions, and the immediate disposition of faculty. Rather, the first step should be the visionary projections of the ideal curriculum for young people about to step into the twenty-first century. Global questions that incorporate normative and intellectual goals and aspirations can form a motivating and inspirational basis for stimulating intellectual reflection.


NOTES
1.
Jack H. Schuster, "The Changing Academic Workplace and the Future of College Teaching," Lilly Conference on College Teaching-West, March 17-19, 1989.
2.
For complete titles and course descriptions, contact the IGE Office, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 West Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768. The IGE Guide also is available from this source.
3.
Included among these awards was a citation for Undergraduate Education from Brown University ( 1985); recognition from the Association of American Colleges, in 1986, for an outstanding model program; and a citation in the G. Theodore Mitau Award competition for Innovation and Change in Higher Education in 1987. Articles have also appeared in publications of the Association of American Colleges and of the Meiklejohn Education Foundation.
4.
Letter from Chancellor Reynolds to President Hugh LaBounty, dated October 20, 1985. See also Joseph S. Johnston Jr., Susan Shaman, and Robert Zemsky, Unfinished Design: The Humanities and Social Sciences in Undergraduate Engineering Education ( American Association of Colleges, 1988), pp. 46-47.

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