Campus on the move pieces are designed to highlight the work of a campus as they undergo a program or curriculum redesign, are innovating their programs or  reinvigorating an established program.
The summaries that will be featured here are recipients of the AGLS Award for the Improvement of General Education or submitted directed by the institution.
Those featured may have been invited to make a presentation at an upcoming Annual Conference.

On the Move submission guidelines


University of the District of Columbia logo
GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
www.udc.edu               https://www.udc.edu/general-education/

CONTACTS:
Wynn Yarbrough, Director of General Education Program
          wyarbrough@udc.edu, 202-274-5653

Kim Crews, Assistant Director of General Education Program
          kcrews@udc.edu, 202-274-5857

In the Fall of 2010, The University of the District of Columbia introduced a new model for undergraduate education. Chaired by April Massey, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the General Education Reform committee embraced the 14 core learning outcomes outlined in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ report Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) [https://www.aacu.org/leap/essential-learning-outcomes]. These learning outcomes are bundled into nine strands of interdisciplinary learning outcomes that guide the development of classes, assessments and revisions to those classes [https://www.udc.edu/general-education/nine-strands/].

The program, which replaced the 30+ year-old distributive model, provides three levels of course work—Foundation, Discovery, and Frontier—introducing students to the pillars of the college learning experience, extending and generalizing knowledge and skills acquired in the Foundations courses, and exploring the opportunities for success in the major and beyond. By offering a broad array of interdisciplinary courses that emphasize independent inquiry, the General Education Program (GEP) helps students learn to ask relevant questions, find and evaluate answers to those questions, and use the answers to make informed intellectual, social, and ethical decisions about local, national, global, personal, and professional issues throughout their lives.


Design of UDC's General Education Program

 
Renovation
In the Fall of 2017, Kimberly Crews and Wynn Yarbrough rebuilt the pedagogy of the Capstone Course, following the intended design of the program, to finally realize the vision of the integrative GEP. The Frontier Capstone course was designed for students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in Foundation courses and developed in Discovery courses in a real-world setting—in this case, towards a specific issue or problem in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia (DMV). In our rebuilding of the Capstone Course, teams of students conducted research on a problem or issue in the DMV, developed a proposal to tackle this issue or problem, collaborated with their team in action steps towards completing the capstone project, and delivered a presentation for the community. This enhanced “capstone” concept engages our mission responsibility—that is tying the resources of the University to the community around the issues of access, equity, and social justice.

While newly redesigned, it is clear that that the Capstone course is successfully accomplishing mission-related goals. This year-long course brought together the various strands and interdisciplinary classes and experiences, including those classes and experiences in the major coursework. It also helps prepare students with the skills that employers value: “…91 percent of employers say that critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving abilities are more important than a potential employee’s undergraduate major…” (AAC&U, 2015). Finally, it is igniting students’ passion for civic engagement, an important mission of this land-grant, historically Black institution.

Sample projects included:
  • developing a program to increase middle school students’ passion for reading books (not e-text);
  • exploring how the use of urban gardens, such as the East Capital Urban Farm, can help improve food security among residents of Wards 7 & 8 in Washington, D.C.; and
  • creating a program to increase entrepreneurial skills of African-American children (ages 9-12) in Ward 8 in Washington, D.C.
Read an Extended Summary Here



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This Page Updated April 25, 2018