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Liberal Arts Curricula at Michigan Colleges and Universities

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PEDAGOGICAL DESIGN

Liberal Arts Curricula at Michigan Colleges and Universities


One key takeaway of our workshop is the degree to which being aware of and thinking critically about the way that general education courses fit into a larger curriculum can set you apart as both a teacher and a job candidate.

For the sake of comparison, then, we have gathered together an incomplete (by design) map of various schools in Michigan to faciliate a comparison between the ways each defines their liberal arts or general education curriculum. 

(Image description: Map of the lower peninsula of Michigan, with brown pins marking Kalamazoo, Alma, Albion, Hillsdale, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit)

Each of the schools marked above requires some version of a general education/liberal arts* curriculum, and you may find that it's easier to articulate your own experience of this type of teaching when you compare it to some sister institutions. To that end, use the links below to explore how these various schools in Michigan define general education, and the way they structure their curriculum as a result.

* Alma College refers to this curriculum as "distributive requirements." At Kalamazoo College, it's the K-Plan.

(Schools arranged alphabetically)
You may find it helpful to use the following to guide your thinking:
  • Albion and Alma are both small liberal arts colleges with religious affiliations. How do you see those shared characters influencing their approach to general education requirements?
  • In many ways, Hillsdale College is very similar to Albion and Alma, but it regularly appears on lists of the most conservative colleges in America. Do you see that political orientation influencing the school's approach to liberal arts anywhere?
  • Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University are both located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Does that shared setting promote any meaningful comparisons or contrasts between their curricula?
  • MSU and U of M are the two highest-rated public universities in the state (though college rankings are an inherently fraught subject). How would you differentiate between the way both programs describe their general education/humanities curricula?
  • Wayne State University includes a number of additional links and philosophy statements about their general education program, which makes its website fairly comparable to the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities at MSU. What similarities/differences do you notice about the way Wayne State and Michigan State talk about the mission and goals of general education?
Please feel free to share your response to these questions, or any of your own reflections, as comments on this article in the space provided below.
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Posted by:
Garth J Sabo From Graduate Assistant to Assistant Professor