At Morehouse College, a substantial component of a student’s undergraduate degree is earned in the General Education program. Provided in the College Catalog is a listing of courses and distribution requirements that constitute the College’s general education requirements. Also referred to as “Core Curriculum Requirements,” as well as the “standing core,” the general education curriculum of the standing core consists of 53 semester hours of coursework in the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences, plus a set of other educational experiences. As stated in the mission of General Education, the courses and distribution requirements of the standing core are intended to produce student learning and to promote intellectual inquiries and problem solving; citizenship; ethical judgment and behavior; knowledge of the natural world; leadership; understanding social institutions; aesthetic experience; the African American experience; philosophy and religion; and the interdependence of nations and cultures.
In May of 2005, the Morehouse faculty approved the revision of the general education curriculum for a three-year pilot test, beginning fall of 2006. Referred to as “Core Curriculum Requirements,” as well as the “piloted core,” the revised general education curriculum of the piloted core consists of 48 semester hours of coursework and labs in the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences plus a set of other educational experiences and co-curricular activities. In this revision, student learning, which also is aligned with General Education’s mission, goals and outcomes, moves from orientation and advancement of skills to integration of skills to a culminating student learning experience or experiences in a capstone course. The latter course also allows for value-added measurements of intellectual inquiries and problem solving; citizenship; ethical judgment and behavior; and leadership via pre/post surveys and tests and demonstration projects gathered from students’ orientation and capstone courses.
Patterned after the instructive work Strong Foundations: Twelve Principles for Effective General Education Programs, which was reprinted in 2004 by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU), courses for the standing core and courses and labs for the pilot are structured in an hierarchy of learning so that students are seen moving from foundation skills courses to application of skills courses to analysis and synthesis courses. Students in the pilot end their coursework with a capstone course. The concept of revising General Education’s curriculum has led not only to rewriting for clarity General Education’s statements of philosophy, mission, goals, outcomes, and assessment but also to rewriting for clarity General Education’s models of student development as stated above. For a complete description of the more clarified General Education program, including its philosophy, mission, goals, outcomes, assessment, and courses and distribution requirements, and for a comparison of the models of student development in the standing and piloted curricular structures, visit General Education’s Web site and the General Education Handbook.
In the fall of 2006, the first cohort of students (150) was enrolled in the piloted core, to be followed by an equivalent number in succeeding years. To guide the development of the General Education program and its curricular, the College has established a general education director who reports to the Provost. The Director of General Education, Dr. Hazel Ervin, is formerly a professor in the Department of English and a teacher of secondary education. She is assisted in her work by the Core Curriculum Advisory Council.