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Faculty Senate votes for general education reform

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Faculty senate gathers for their monthly meeting. Photo by Jordan Ellis.

Ohio University Faculty Senate passed a resolution Monday to revitalize the institution’s general education requirements in an effort to create a more student-focused, liberal arts curriculum. 

The resolution comes after a university-wide discussion on enrollment decline at Ohio U. Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali addressed members of the body about the resolution to “reimagine and revise general education” — a plan introduced at the meeting by Associate Professor Sara Helfrich — and how it focused on balancing the budget at Ohio U. 

According to Djalali, the financial problems at Ohio U are partially caused by factors including a lack of transfer students. 

“It would be irresponsible to launch the gen-eds and not keep the resources great to be successful, ” Djalali said.

Katie Hartman, an associate professor of marketing, said the resolution is concentrated on promoting student-focused learning outcomes instead of standard curriculum-based teaching. The goal is to teach students a set of skills that are focused on workplace performance rather than general knowledge.

Hartman said the resolution was created through the combined efforts of the administration, Faculty Senate and the Ohio U Student Senate in order to represent multiple groups of the university.

The resolution’s driving force is a goal set called “Ohio BRICKS,” an acronym for: Build, Reason, Integrate, Communicate, Know and Synthesize.

Bill Owens, associate professor of classics in the College of Arts and Sciences, read a letter to Djalali explaining why he wanted to delay the resolution’s passing. He questioned if Ohio U had the resources to support the plan and expressed concern about the lack of numerical data presented to senators. According to Owens, a lack of knowledge about the resolution could result in faculty cuts. 

“Reducing faculty at this point in time is like drawing blood from a runner before he runs a marathon,” Owens said.

The resolution passed with a vocal majority.

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