GENERAL EDUCATION IN AN AGE
OF STUDENT MOBILITY
This monograph in "The Academy in Transition" series
explores the problem of curricular coherence as students working
toward a bachelor's degree move among multiple institutions.
The focal article by Robert Shoenberg, a Senior Fellow of AAC&U,
cites the absence of clear intentionality in most states'
general education requirements and their concerns about credit hour
transfer rather than course purposes as major contributors to the
lack of coherence in many students' academic programs. He
argues that states need to develop statements of purpose for their
general requirements and make these clear to faculty members, academic
advisors and students in order to respond cogently to the perennial
student question, "Why do I have to take this course?"
Seven responses to this article, most by community college presidents,
support the argument in various ways but also raise questions about
such matters as the actual desirability of coherence, institutional
autonomy, students' attitudes and legislative roles. The monograph
also includes three cognate articles. James Palmer documents the
"swirl" of student transfer among all kinds of institutions
and surveys state practices in defining general requirements. Carolyn
Praeger defines an important role for accrediting associations in
promoting curricular coherence. William Maehl suggests some lessons
from adult learning that might be applied to promoting curricular
coherence for mobile students.