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Editorial

General education changes could have positive impact on students

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March 12, 2015

The general education requirements at UW-River Falls will be drastically different starting in the fall, because of motions passed by the General Education and University Requirements Committee on Feb. 23.

Gov. Scott Walker’s UW System budget cut proposal is slowly becoming a reality on the UWRF campus and general education is taking one of the first hits.

Beginning in the fall, students will be allowed to count courses as having met requirements wherever they meet educational outcomes. That’s right, double counting credits will possible next year and beyond.

UWRF students will no longer need to take two social and behavioral sciences and two humanities and fine arts courses, only one each. Personal health and wellness will no longer require a physical activities course.

Also, starting in the fall of 2016, students will no longer be required to meet ethical citizenship or multidisciplinary requirements, and the committee will be piecing together a “First Year Seminar Requirement” where new students will learn individual, social, and environmental responsibility.

Students will still be required to take 120 credits before graduating. So, what this means is that students can still explore different areas of study while cutting back on classes in the general education program that may not necessarily matter to each specific student.

The goal of general education, and a liberal arts degree, is to become a more well-rounded individual going out into the workforce. We at the Student Voice believe that the changes in general education still allows students to learn in a variety of ways in multiple disciplines, while gaining a tad more freedom to seek out classes in other, non-general fields of study.

The biggest drawback from these changes is the instructor job cuts that are certainly going to happen as a result. Walker’s budget proposal left the General Education and University Requirements Committee no choice but to cut courses and staff.

The Voice recognizes that these changes were unavoidable, and we believe the committee did its best with the rotten situation that the university has been shoved into. Students can still spend the first two years at UWRF exploring different programs and taking courses they feel will be beneficial to their eventual career decisions.

We expect more developments in not only the general education program, but in all colleges throughout the next few months leading up to July 1, so keep your ear to the ground and check out the Better UW Initiative at http://www.uwreps.com/better-uw.html for ways to be better prepared for the impending changes.