CAA approves changes to general studies degree

The Council on Academic Affairs approved adding a new course to the general studies undergraduate degree at its meeting Thursday.


The new class, BGS 3002, Critical Thinking and the Adult Learner, “focuses on adult development, adult learning theory, the adult learning cycle and critical thinking as it relates to the students earning a general studies degree,” according to the course proposal format.

Carrie Johnson, the director of the general studies degree, said she has worked on the course proposal details for one and a half years, and hopes it will help further develop students in the program.

“I believe the course makes (students) more well-rounded,” Johnson said. “I want students to think about what qualities they have and how to sell themselves (to potential employers).”

CAA member Rebecca Throneburg said she likes how the new course helps tie the degree together.

“I like the way you are making students conscious of their thinking,” Throneburg said.

The new BGS 3002 course will be added to two other classes general studies majors must take as a part of their 120 hours in order to graduate.

Students in the general studies program must meet all requirements set for graduates in any other program on campus with the exception of a foreign language requirement.

Johnson said the general studies degree is geared toward “mature, adult learners.”

She continued by telling the CAA about how she often has students who wish to transfer to her degree because of their failure to pass a requirement in their current program.

Johnson said it is a large problem, and that she has a moral problem allowing this change in order to “let them out” with a bachelor’s in general studies.

“I don’t want to be a major for those people (who fail another program),” Johnson said. “I am one person fighting a perception I inherited.”

Johnson said she hopes the new class will help tie the variety of courses together in a more all-encompassing way through focusing on strong academic fundamentals such as writing and critical thinking.

“My students need (this course), as there is no guarantee they are getting (the information) somewhere else,” Johnson said.

As well as approving changes to the general studies degree, the CAA approved a new general-education course in the department of chemistry.

The new class, CHM 3025G, The Chemistry in Your Life, will focus on teaching students the various ways chemistry is integrated into everyday life.

Mark McGuire, the chair of the chemistry department, said the course will be the first course in the chemistry department that is offered online.

“Since it is difficult to have chemistry courses online due to labs, we have been anxious to (have the opportunity to add) a course online,” McGuire said.

McGuire said the department hopes to offer the first chemistry course in summer 2014.

“(The new course will) help students make connections to products in stores and educate students on chemistry at the molecular level,” McGuire said.

The tentative plan is to offer the course during the summer online, and offer it face-to-face during the academic year.

McGuire said the course was also designed with nursing students in mind.

The new course will allow students to meet the chemistry qualification, as students in the past have taken courses elsewhere because of a lack of general education chemistry courses at Eastern.

With the addition of this new class to the chemistry portfolio, McGuire said CHM 2040G, Practical Chemistry, is “going away.”

The next scheduled CAA meeting will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Arcola-Tuscola room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Jack Cruikshank can be reached at 581-2812 or jdcruikshank@eiu.edu.

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