Maybe It’s Time to Stop Thinking About “Turf” and Design Meaningful Gen Ed?

Credit: iStock.com/fcscafeine
Credit: iStock.com/fcscafeine

To begin with a statement that will surprise absolutely no one: one of the major challenges of general education reform is turf anxiety—the concern among various departments and disciplines that a new curriculum will not adequately represent their fields to ensure class enrollments that justify their professional existence.

The particulars of this anxiety vary from institution to institution and have changed over time. Twenty-plus years ago, when I was leading my first curricular revision at a small college, part of the impetus for the conversation was the desire of STEM fields to be more effectively represented as a part of the “liberal arts.” Many members of the English department, meanwhile, voted for a curriculum that reduced the number of courses staffed solely or largely by the department. Fast-forward to 2023, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an English or history or philosophy department comfortable with giving up any gen ed requirement that ensured that nonmajors appeared on their course rosters. Many STEM fields, meanwhile, struggle to offer enough classes to satisfy their majors, let alone students looking to check a box in the graduation requirements.


To continue reading, you must be a Teaching Professor Subscriber. Please log in or sign up for full access.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

I have two loves: teaching and learning. Although I love them for different reasons, I’ve been passionate about...
A childhood friend of mine passed away a few years ago. We worked on the high school yearbook...
Since I began teaching 15 years ago, I’ve noticed more and more students self-disclose aspects of their mental...
Rubrics have been indispensable in education for providing clarity on performance expectations, consistency in grading, and detailed feedback...
It wasn’t until I described how watching Ian McKellen’s explication of Macbeth helped me recover from a lousy...
Picture this: Days before your semester begins, your students are messaging each other about how excited they are...
Many of us would like to have a textbook tailored to our specific course, but since publishers cannot...

Are you signed up for free weekly Teaching Professor updates?

You'll get notified of the newest articles.