SMU Provostís Charge to the General Education Review Committee
The President and Provost of the University ask that the General Education Review Committee complete a review ofthe University's current General Education curriculum, formulate recommendations for any needed change, and present to the Provost a proposal for a new general education curriculum by April 25, 2009. The proposal will then be presented to the appropriate governing bodies of the University for approval in the academic year 2009-2010.
Ideally, appropriate approvals, along with any needed program and course development, will be completed in time for the new curriculum to be launched in the fall of 2010.
Since the opening of Southern Methodist University, the philosophical foundation for the undergraduate curriculum has been the deep beliefthat the liberal arts are central to the goal of graduating educated women and men. The Master Plan of 1963 articulated the University's educational commitment as follows:
"The essence of the educational philosophy which undergirds the Master Plan is that professional studies must rise from the solid foundation of a basic liberal education. The aim of the University, in other words, is to educate its students as worthy human beings and as citizens, first, and as teachers, lawyers, ministers, research scientists, businessmen [sic], engineer, and so on, second. These two aims-basic and professional education, general and special, cultural and vocational (in the best sense)-will not be separated in the program ofthis university."
Over the history of general education curricula at SMU, the University has insisted that these programs guide all of our students in the pursuit of these goals. The curricula have emphasized learning to read, write, and think critically, while acquiring a basic understanding of human society in all its dimensions. The courses ofthe general education curricula have aimed at providing a solid and broad education that equips students to compete and adapt to the rapidly changing contemporary world, while complementing more focused study in their majors.
The work of the review committee, along with the general education curriculum that it formulates, should foster the mission and goals of the University. The new curriculum should also reflect best practices and contemporary thought about how to achieve our mission and goals in the twenty-first century.
In addition, the curriculum should reflect the changing demographics of the U.S., the region, and international college-ready population; allow students to pursue multiple majors or minors; reflect the need to accommodate transfer of students from other institutions; incorporate student residence life as an integral part of the University's educational mission; accommodate the need for honors programming to attract and satisfy the aspirations of highachieving
students; reflect the increasing need for international study, undergraduate research options, and internship experiences; and be feasible within current and anticipated University resources.