Emory, Oxford will require an experiential learning GER for the class of 2027

Students entering Emory University in the fall of 2023 will be required to meet a General Education Requirement (GER) of experiential learning. The new GER, which will be compulsory for students at Oxford College and Emory College of Arts and Sciences, aims to facilitate learn “by thinking or doing” to improve students’ understanding of conceptual material.

Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski said the experiential learning requirement will bring significant changes to the current GER system.

Students will be required to participate in an experiential course or experience, Brzinski said. Experiences that would satisfy the GER could include undergraduate research, study abroad, significant artistic performance or presentation, internship, or community learning experience.

Oxford previously had an experiential learning GER, but the requirement has been waived for Oxford graduate students in fall 2022, spring 2023 and summer 2023 due to challenges posed by COVID-19, said Valerie Molyneaux, associate dean for academic affairs at Oxford. The experiential learning requirement has not been waived for the incoming Oxford class.

This fall, Oxford will offer over 45 experiential learning courses with over 550 places available in these courses. Molyneaux noted that more than 75% of Oxford graduate students will have experiential learning on their transcripts after this academic year, despite the requirement being lifted for them.

Molyneaux added that Oxford’s experiential courses will satisfy the new GER.

This will be the first time that the experiential learning GER has been required for Emory College students.

Precious Ajiero (24C) believes that one of the main strengths of experiential learning is its goal to engage students more in the classroom, thereby improving learning retention.

“The experiential learning GER will facilitate student learning and engagement by providing an environment for reflection and doing what is taught,” Ajiero said. “This hands-on approach will help students better understand what is being taught and retain knowledge for longer.”

Chassidy Arnold (25C), on the other hand, said she supports student learning and engagement, but is concerned that GER experiential learning will be a barrier for students hoping to complete their majors and move on. other GER requirements within four years.

“If Emory does it right, I think the class will make it easier for students to learn and engage, but I also think Emory should revamp all of their GER requirements if they want to incorporate that into their curriculum,” Arnold said. “I think adding more GERs would definitely reduce students’ chances of completing their degree and taking other courses that interest them.”

The University is already changing the GER framework to encourage students to complete their GER in their first two years instead of four years, Brzinski noted. She called it “the most significant change to GERs”.

“Our new framework takes a focused development approach that uses GERs to build a broad base in the first two years of an Emory College of Arts and Sciences degree and create more space in the curriculum for students focus on their chosen academic concentrations later. years,” Brzinski said.

Under the new system, students will continue to complete GERs in Social Sciences, Humanities/Arts, Natural Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning, Language Studies, Physical Education and Health, Race and Ethnicity, and Communication – which has been officially continued. in writing.

The addition of the experiential learning GER comes a year after the University implemented GER Race and Ethnicity for students entering Fall 2021. Race and Ethnicity courses fast students to explore racial, ethnic and cultural dynamics.

The University is currently reviewing the race and ethnicity requirement to assess whether it meets its goals, Brzinski said.

“A number of departments and programs are working to develop new courses to meet race and ethnicity requirements,” Brzinski said. “It takes a while to develop new courses, so it will probably be a few years before all of these new courses are available to students.

Some students have criticized GER race and ethnicity as being performative rather than a way to support underrepresented racial groups. This includes Arnold, who is part of the first class of students required to meet the requirement.

“I think it’s meaningful in that it promotes learning and discussion about the history of races and how their history has had or is impacting the world today,” Arnold said. . “However, I believe Emory uses this, and other things, as a way to show how progressive they are.”

Ajiero, who is not required to complete the race and ethnicity GER as a member of the Class of 2024, believes the classes are beneficial for students.

“GER race and ethnicity is integral to the positive progression of the student body and America as a whole,” Ajiero said. “These courses will help provide information to those who may not have been aware of certain race and ethnicity issues.”

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