History of General Education Reform @ UD

In 1996 the University of Delaware Faculty Senate appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on General Education to focus on two interrelated questions: 1) what are the strengths and weaknesses of the University’s present undergraduate programs and 2) what are comparable institutions doing to renew and improve educational experiences for their students? The findings of their report produced ten goals of general education and they recommended the adoption of a general education curriculum for all students earning bachelor’s degrees from UD which included a First Year Experience (FYE), skills courses like ENGL 110, a Discovery Learning Experience (DLE, and a Capstone course. This curriculum, termed a General Education Program (GEP) was aimed at providing sustained engagement with the ten GenEd goals from the time baccalaureate degree seeking students entered UD up through the capstone course, which provided “one final opportunity to make sure that students have fulfilled the University’s 10 goals and that they are ready to take on the responsibilities of educated citizens and professionals in their various fields.” On March 6 and 13, 2000, the Ad Hoc Committee on General Education’s ten GEP goals were adopted and the Faculty Senate endorsed the four components of a general education curriculum listed above (link to resolution). 

As part of the March 2000 resolutions, a temporary Committee on General Education was formed and tasked with the responsibility of recommending guidelines, standards, and academic policies for the GEP, overseeing a three year pilot period of the various components of the GEP. In 2003, the Committee on General Education submitted its final report on General Education at the University of Delaware. Importantly, the committee noted that the scope of the GEP has become more than a program, and that the term “General Education” was at the time being used to refer to various undergraduate program requirements which were not university-wide. They suggested the use of the term “General Education Initiative (GEI)” to refer to the university-wide curricula and objectives of undergraduate General Education at UD. 

Recommendations from the 2003 report were considered during a May 2004 meeting of the University Faculty Senate. The Senate endorsed key recommendations which included the continued use of the Ten Goals of General Education in the GEI as well as in all courses at UD regardless of whether those courses operate under the aegis of General Education. The General Education Committee was converted from an ad hoc to a standing committee and they were tasked with continued coordination on GEI along with the Office of Undergraduate Studies, and Center for Teaching Effectiveness (precursor to the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning) in the further assessment and evaluation of the impact and outcomes of the GEI. The Senate also required all incoming first year students participate in a First Year Experience (FYE) and take at least three credits of Discovery-Based or Experiential Learning, beginning in September 2005, while urging all departments and academic programs to develop capstone courses. In 2007, a DLE Guide for Faculty and Academic Units was submitted to the Senate.

During the Fall of 2014, the UD Faculty Senate’s General Education committee brought forth a resolution to replace the previous ten gen ed goals with four new purposes and five new objectives of general education. On 3 November 2014 the University of Delaware Faculty Senate unanimously passed this resolution, and a Gen Ed Task Force began work on an implementation plan. After holding several open hearings in the Spring of 2015, the Task Force issued its final report and the Faculty Senate committees formulated eight resolutions addressing various aspects of the plan. On 11 May 2015 the Faculty Senate debated these resolutions on the Senate floor. This page outlines the work and tracks the progress toward implementing the five resolutions that passed. These documents are linked here:

First Year Seminar

Core Curriculum Proposal

Capstone Requirement

Review of Undergraduate Degree Programs

Align Multicultural Courses with Diversity Learning Rubric

Addendum with Explanatory Paragraphs


During the Fall of 2016, UD implemented GenEd reforms that require action by virtually every department on campus. These reforms include (1) recertifying all First Year Seminar (FYS) courses, (2) recertifying all Multicultural Courses, and (3) recertifying all capstone courses. In addition to recertifying all these courses, each program must include a Capstone requirement for students matriculating in Fall 2017 and beyond; previously the Capstone was a recommendation, not a requirement.

To help faculty and departments access the recertification documents and forms you will need to process during the Fall of 2016, a web page was created with relevant links and forms. For quick access to these recertification documents and forms, follow this link to Fall 2016 Tasks and Forms. Curricular mapping was initially completed in 2017 as a collaboration between the GenEd Committee, CTAL and the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Phase 2 of curricular mapping began in 2017 and applies to all undergraduate departments and degree programs. In 2020, the General Education Committee was expanded to include 16 members. 


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