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Cardinal Directions: Behind Our Strategy

What is the purpose of a general education curriculum?

When faculty leaders started looking at developing a new General Education curriculum in 2016, they first posed some basic questions: What is college for? Who are our students? Who will they become after graduation? What purposeful work will they engage in?


"The world is a very different place today and our students' demographics have shifted dramatically," said Jennifer Jackson, Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professor in the Humanities and associate professor of English.


According to faculty members who worked on creating the new curriculum, it was important to them to create courses that are responsive to what's going on in the world and on our campus.

A Dynamic Framework Emerged

We want you to chart your own course through your General Education curriculum while we provide a map! Our general education curriculum is designed to give you the tools needed to succeed in your career, while also helping you navigate the adventures of life. 

How it Developed

Conversations began by considering and establishing outcomes for every graduate. Today's students bring vastly different experiences and expectations than students over the past 20 years. More than a dozen learning outcomes emerged as a way to guide the curriculum development process. 


"The starting point was, 'what do you want students to know and do?... And we also had to make sure our curriculum is responsive to the College's mission in the areas of ethics, global understanding and citizenship," said Jennifer Jackson, Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professor in the Humanities and associate professor of English.


"We hoped to anchor their General Education in a relevant topical area, so they can better deal with real-world questions and issues," said Jon Visick, Professor of Biology. 


The faculty also embraced the principles of Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP), a national initiative that champions high impact educational practices that research shows lead to better student learning and post-graduation outcomes. LEAP promotes curriculum components such as learning outcomes, high impact practices, undergraduate research and internships, assessments and capstone projects across disciplines. 


There are a myriad of ways you can approach your general education experience here at North Central College. We are happy to provide you with outlines, course options, and iCon frameworks that will assist you in getting the most out of your education.

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