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Liberal Education

The University's Liberal Education requirements have been in place for twenty years, with some revisions made to them in 2007-2008. While these requirements have served students and the University very well, regular reassessment is healthy. With implementation of the campus strategic plan underway, and a reaccreditation review recently completed successfully, the campus is taking this opportune time to revisit liberal education at the University of Minnesota.

A preplanning group has been charged to look at current requirements and consider the issues that might be relevant to a possible revision. This preplanning group will not be redesigning requirements, or even making proposals for revised requirements. They will instead be asked to review the current status of liberal education on this campus and make recommendations on a process for further consideration of relevant issues.

Pre-Planning Open Forums

The pre-planning group held several pre-planning open forums to gather views on liberal education from the faculty, instructional staff, and advisors. Learn more on the Office of Undergraduate Education website.

Pre-Planning Group Members and Charge

The pre-planning group includes the following individuals:

  • Mary Benner, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship
  • William Durfee, Mechanical Engineering
  • Raymond Duvall, Political Science
  • Gayle Golden, Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Sarah Hobbie,  Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
  • Emily Hoover, Horticultural Science
  • Peter Hudleston, Department of Earth Sciences
  • Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, History of Science and Technology
  • Kenneth Leopold, Chemistry; Chair of Council on Liberal Education
  • Keith Mayes, African American & African Studies
  • Peter Mercer-Taylor, Music
  • Richa Nagar, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
  • J.B. Shank, History
  • Susan Staats, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Susan Wick, Departments of Plant & Microbial Biology and Biology Teaching & Learning; Chair, Senate Committee on Educational Policy
  • Rebecca Ropers-Huilman, Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, ex officio
  • Robert McMaster, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, ex officio
  • Leslie Schiff, Associate Dean for the University Curriculum, ex officio

The tasks of the pre-planning group include:

  • Reviewing the current status of liberal education on the Twin Cities Campus-- What is our history of liberal education? Who is teaching our liberal education courses? Do our students see and gain the value in the existing requirements?
  • Understanding who is affected by or has an interest in our liberal education program-- e.g. Minnesota State (formerly MNSCU), employers, graduate and professional schools-- and the implications of those interests.
  • Briefly reviewing national trends in general or liberal education, and considering what selected other universities are doing. (This review could serve as background for a later stage redesign committee, if such there be.) 

The group may also:

  • Recommend to the provost, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and SCEP a process and timeline for consideration of new requirements.
  • Recommend to the provost, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and SCEP the composition and members of a possible Liberal Education redesign committee.
  • Recommend to the provost, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and SCEP a charge for a redesign committee.