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New requirements set for BG Perspective program for fall 2015

Upon starting the next phase of their lives as college students, the incoming freshman class in the fall of 2015 will also be the first to experience the University’s new requirements for the BG Perspective Program.

The new plan will not only affect the new class, but also be a new experience for University staff members. However, students attending the University prior to fall 2015 will not have to abide by the changes.

Several reasons account for why the University will adjust the program. Director of Academic Assessment Julia Matuga said a greater emphasis on assessment of the general education program was one factor that drove the University to make changes.

In light of this, Matuga said the new implementations for BGP will hopefully create a “focus or shift to what students are able to do.”

Without the learning outcomes and assessment of the outcomes, “Students don’t know what they need to do,” Matuga said. “It is harder to improve the program.”

The assessment will also be able to guide future changes in the program.

“Once we have assessment data, we will work with faculty and students to see what new goals need to be set and look to further directions,” said Donna Nelson-Beene, BG Prespective director.

With the new program, Nelson-Beene also anticipates a heavier focus on learning outcomes to make students more “well-rounded.” Having different learning outcomes can show students the directions they need to take while at the University.

“Students like having the clear expectation of what they needed to know at different levels,” Matuga said.

Because of a potentially more measurable approach to learning outcomes, Matuga also said the University wants the program to be about “learning rather than checking off boxes.”

Finally, the BGP program is changing to comply with state requirements, which also explains what students can expect as a result.

“We had to have more hours in our [general education] program,” Matuga said.

According to the BGP homepage, students currently need to take 10 courses that adhere to the BGP requirements, which equals about 30 credit hours.

Now under the revised conditions, students are expected to take 36 credit hours of BGP courses with new added requirements of Oral Communication and English Composition.

Sophomore Stefanie Ward thinks the current BGP program is very helpful and sees the new additions as a positive benefit.

“I think they’re pretty cool,” Ward said. “They can help you to figure out what you want to do if you are undecided.”

Ward mentioned that she was once an undecided major as well, but the program seemed to help with changing this.

Ward also finds the new additions of Oral Communication and English Composition to be an effective tool for enhancing the BGP program.

“Oral communication isn’t required for all of the majors and it’s a very important skill to have,” said Ward.

Even though the new BGP program will require students to take more classes, Nelson-Beene said more credits will open more options for the students and allow them to “double-count” more.

“We want to do what the state needs, but we also have to make it smooth for students,” Nelson-Beene said.

Faculty and staff will have to adjust to the new curriculum, but the University can give future students a more positive learning experience in their classes with an approach that will guide them into higher directions throughout college and beyond.

“The general education courses are the foundation for everything,” said Nelson-Beene. “We want good, solid foundations for students to move into upper level classes.”

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