From the Provost — August 29, 2017

Provost McPheron’s perspective on General Education

Toward higher-order thinking and innovation

“Creating the next generation of educated citizens is our most important role as a land-grant university. We have a responsibility to society to prepare students not only for the deep subject matter of their majors, but to provide them with the broader context needed to be citizens of the world.

“It has been decades since we re-evaluated our General Education curriculum in a meaningful way, and many things are different. Career paths are different, technologies are different, the subject matter of our majors has changed over that period. Likewise, a quarter of our freshmen are now coming in with a year of university credit already in hand.

“This combination of factors puts us at a point where we have the opportunity and obligation to step back and say, ‘What is it we want this core knowledge to be? What do we want a General Education for an Ohio State graduate to look like?’

“Employers assume that our students will be well prepared in the subject matter they’re studying, but we know that isn’t enough. Over and over, CEOs tell me they are looking for graduates who can think critically, who can lead, who can communicate and work in teams, who will continue to learn throughout their lives.

“It’s understood that our students need to be educated in a number of baseline subjects, but the real power of an Ohio State degree should enable them to weave together disparate threads of knowledge into a tapestry of understanding that broadens their thinking and brings a different kind of relevance to their major course of study.

“Information is a commodity now. Think of it—we’re all carrying around access to every piece of information in the world in our pocket. What’s needed is the ability to integrate that information into higher-order thinking and innovation. At its root, this is what a general education should provide.”