Next-Gen Gen Ed

The charge of the Next-Gen Gen Ed group under the umbrella of IDEA Hub is to develop a flexible, interdisciplinary, and mission-oriented approach incorporating learning goals consistent with producing agile graduates and integrating co- and extra-curricular experiences. This group supplemented Design Thinking empathy building with more targeted exploration of who are the stakeholders of the Next-Gen Gen Ed reform. They wanted to find out what is and isn't working in the current program. In the fall of 2019, they conducted individual interviews and group interviews with 150 undergraduate students; moderated an Online Discussion Forum; held an Open House; and formed a motivated task-force consisting of faculty members from across the university.

Moving Forward

The Next-Gen Gen Ed framework will be designed to be agile and responsive to the changing world. An NAE Grand Challenges framework would allow faculty across disciplines to collaboratively develop new pathways through general education. The changes introduced will be sustained and carried out through IDEA Hub in collaboration with the existing institutional structures and include the following:

  • Re-branding of general education as “Essential Education” to reflect the essential nature of the skills, abilities, and habits of mind that “Gen Ed” courses cultivate to student success and well being, as well as to the well being of our local and global communities
  • A simplified set of learning goals as the pillars of this curriculum
  • Themed pathways, certificates, and/or stackable credentials that allow students to pursue their passions and interests and add value to their degrees
    Core courses that are interdisciplinary and team-taught or parallel taught
  • Increased interdisciplinary options in the curriculum
  • A structure that is flexible and agile, allowing for easy adaptation without extensive overhaul as Michigan Tech and the world changes
  • Flexible scheduling, with options that allow for 7-week, J-term, May-mester and spring break courses that fulfill Essential Ed requirements
  • More options for counting co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences (such as study away, community engagement) toward Essential Education requirements
  • A simplified and holistic assessment process, with student involvement through an e-portfolio system

Next-Gen Gen Ed prototypes for the 2020-2021 school year include:

  • Essential ed pathways and integrative experience
  • Nature psychology course with health and wellness outcomes
  • Interdisciplinary environmental issues course 
  • Interdisciplinary human factors task force
  • Humanities in the disciplines (HID)
  • Information literacy modules
  • Living laboratory for sustainability and resilience
  • Reflection protocol for Gen Ed courses
  • Local literacy teaching and learning at Michigan Tech
  • Critical ethics for Enterprise


[Learn more about our prototypes]

Team Roster

Team Co-Leaders

Stefka Hristova

  • Associate Professor of Digital Media, Humanities
  • PEC Tech Forward/IPEC Director
  • Faculty in Communication, Culture, and Media

Mark Rouleau

  • Associate Professor, Social Sciences
  • Graduate Director, Social Sciences

Next-Gen Gen Ed Team

Name Department
Susan Amato-Henderson Cognitive and Learning Sciences
Jared Anderson Visual and Performing Arts
Maria Bergstrom Humanities
Leonard Bohmann College of Engineering
Whitney Boroski Student Health and Wellness
Jeremy Brown Chemistry
Laura Brown College of Computing
Laura Fiss Pavlis Honors College/Humanities
Alex Guth Academic Affairs
Adrienne Minerick College of Computing
Blair Orr College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences

Next-Gen Gen Ed inspirations include...

  • Clarke University
  • Purdue's Cornerstone Program
  • Jefferson University's Hallmarks Program