Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education






What does it mean to be an educated person in the 21 st Century? How can we best prepare students to take their place in a world awash in information and speed—at once increasingly fragmented yet also interlinked? How can we blend the aims of the university for knowledge, self-reflection and global awareness with the students' aims to be gainfully employed?


General Education is often seen as the foundation for answering these questions. As SIUE moves into its second 50 years, what do we as a community think that all of our students need to know in order to survive and thrive in the decades to come?


In celebration of SIUE's values and the newly revised Statement of Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree, the BRIDGE Committee issues this Call for Designs for the re-envisioning of our General Education Program (see ).


To emphasize the importance of the project to the life of the university, the Faculty Senate in 2004 endorsed the formation of the BRIDGE committee to guide the renewal of General Education. In 2005, the Provost and the Chancellor approved the Faculty Senate's creation of the BRIDGE committee.


The BRIDGE Committee was charged by the Faculty Senate and the Provost to involve “the faculty widely in modifying or redesigning the General Education Program.” To that end, the BRIDGE Committee created an open design process that begins with members of the SIUE community coming together in teams. Each team will create a unique, comprehensive reform of the General Education Program. Teams will work within a set of common guidelines. The following priorities have been established by the BRIDGE Committee in response to concerns raised by the SIUE community during the review of the objectives of the Baccalaureate Degree undertaken during 2003.







Team Composition: Each design team should have three to eight members; design teams must justify having more than eight members. Regardless of the number, team members must be drawn from more than one program, department, or academic unit. Each team could include faculty, staff, student and community members.


Product: Each team will create a design proposal with supporting rationale for General Education that builds on the 

•  Values of SIUE: Citizenship, Excellence, Integrity, Openness, and Wisdom.

•  Statement of Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree: Analytic, Problem-solving, and Decision-making Skills; Oral and Written Communication Skills; Foundation in Liberal Arts and Sciences; Value of Diversity; Scientific Literacy; Ethics; and Preparation in an Academic or Professional Discipline.


In addition design proposals must include SIUE's existing commitments to:     

•  the New Freshman Seminar (as approved by the Faculty Senate); and

•  inter-group relations (as required by the State of Illinois ).



The BRIDGE Committee is especially interested in designs which emphasize:   

•  Student-centered learning and diverse learning environments;

•  Integrative thinking;

•  Core competencies in languages, technology, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, communication and interpersonal skills, cultural and global awareness;

•  Community service and citizenship;

•  Incorporation and/or creative use of SIUE's existing physical and human resources (e.g., East St. Louis Center, Cougar Lake, University Museum);

•  Incorporation and/or creative use of SIUE's distinctive programs and curriculum (e.g., interdisciplinary studies, international issues/culture and Senior Assignment)


All design proposals need to consider :  

•  the diverse range of SIUE's student body and the special needs of the various professional and academic programs at SIUE;

•  SIUE's relationship with community colleges and the needs of transfer students (codified in the Illinois Articulation Initiative).


Process: Design teams will develop their proposals over the next few months. Design teams will have the opportunity to meet with the BRIDGE Committee and with the university community to explore their ideas during the development process. Supporting materials (e.g., details of SIUE's current Gen Ed program; models from other universities; basic principles of curriculum writing; relevant administrative and legislative parameters) will be available on the BRIDGE website.




Design teams are required to submit:  

•  a letter of intent to the BRIDGE Committee by Friday, 14 October 2005 . The letter of intent must include the title of your proposal and a list of team members, including a contact person .


•  a preliminary proposal to the BRIDGE Committee by Friday, 11 November 2005 . The preliminary proposal should be a one-page statement that describes the model of general education that the team is developing, its broad intent and the particular needs and strengths of SIUE that will drive the development of your final design.


Complete design proposals are due by Wednesday, 15 March 2006 .


If design teams are interested in receiving feedback prior to submission of their plan, design teams may present their plans at open meetings sponsored by the BRIDGE Committee in January and February 2006.


The BRIDGE Committee will conduct an ‘audit' of all design proposals received by 15 March 2006 to determine if they meet the established guidelines.


All Faculty and Staff members of Design teams that turn in completed design proposals for a revision of General Education that have passed the BRIDGE ‘audit' will receive $1000 in professional development Funds.


Within and across design teams, diversity and multiple perspectives should be represented. All approved design proposals will be made public on the BRIDGE website. All approved design proposals will be reviewed by a peer-review panel established by the BRIDGE Committee. Your design could become a part of others as the process moves forward.


Please submit all materials to the following address:



c/o University Governance Office

Box 1252

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville