Dickey-Kotz - Horizons Winter 2017 issue

“Faculty members at a wide range of institutions are finding they can have a powerful impact by organizing curriculum – not just individual courses – to support students’ learning and success.” * A strong, well-balanced education is crucial in today’s professional world. Graceland has revised its general education requirements to new essential education courses that organize curriculum in themed groups that will give graduates a competitive edge providing essential skills to thrive in life.

In mid December, Gary Heisserer, Professor of Theatre/Director of University Assessment, held a meeting in Carol Hall for faculty and staff to examine details of the new essential education curriculum. Heisserer discussed the benefits this will bring to the university and its students. The first phase of the new curriculum went into effect this year, with full implementation planned for Fall 2018.

Students, parents and institutions of higher learning are charged with thinking beyond a major and focusing on fundamental skills valuable to employers, such as critical thinking, oral and written communication, creativity, ethical judgement, ability to work effectively with others, knowledge of global issues, and competency in solving complex problems. Removing the singular emphasis

Gary H Essential Ed - Horizons Winter 2017 issue
“The only constant our graduates will encounter is a world of rapid change. We must, therefore, prepare our students to think with a creative and critical mind. By doing so our graduates will not only be able to thrive in a world of change, but more importantly, they will themselves become agents of change.”
-- Gary Heisserer
The new curriculum will cultivate the intellectual flexibility needed for professional and personal development throughout life.

on majors and concentrating on a sound liberal arts education creates leaders, ethical human beings and informed citizens.

Andreas Schleicher ** stated, “Today, because of rapid economic and social change, schools have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t yet know will arise.” The capacity to make smart decisions fosters highly productive and lucrative employees with the ability to learn, unlearn, then relearn.

According to, “a new study by networking site LinkedIn found today’s college graduates don’t just change jobs, they often switch to entirely different industries. Many will change jobs four times by the time they are 32.” Graceland needs to prepare students for exible career paths and lifelong learning by providing a sound educational base.

The uniqueness of the essential education curriculum distinguishes Graceland from other colleges and universities across the country. Students will follow one of five broadly-defined tracks or themes: sustainability, peace, equality, world citizenship and innovation. The new curriculum will also be aligned with a wide variety of co-curricular and noncurricular events on campus.

Graceland’s essential education will provide a sound intellectually-unifying experience; a liberal arts base that will be beneficial for professional aspirations as well as personal endeavors.

*  Loni Bordoloi Pazich, Roosevelt Montas and Steve Mintz.
**  Division Head and coordinator of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the OECD Indicators of Education Systems programme (INES)