Can’t stand LERs? Talk to this guy

Regina Garcia Cano

Committee seeks student, faculty help

Watch as students react to LER changes.

For Courtney Jacobs, Liberal Education Requirements are a reiteration of high school. Matt Rees thinks he has to take way too many. And Katelyn Pike finds little excitement taking them.

These, and any other complaints or suggestions, are what the members of the committee in charge of reforming LERs want to read or hear from the Kent State community.

three possible fixes

The models were created around the transferable module required by the Ohio Board of Regents. Chandler said regardless of the model that in the end is chosen to be put in place, it will be implemented in such way that no students would be in disadvantage.


Would offer 27 hours of core LER hours accepted by any major. Students would also be required to take nine hours specified by each major.


It would allow for some double-dipping between categories to address the navigability issue. It would add foreign language requirement through the elementary II level.


Faculty would align course content with issues that are affecting human beings around the world. Students would then choose courses from different content areas exploring unified themes.

“We need you to tell us what you need,” said Tim Chandler, senior associate provost and co-chair of the LER Core Committee. “We will make a recommendation to the provost as to how to proceed with the LER revision based on feedback that we get from the students, faculty (and) staff.”

The committee expects to receive the community’s opinion through discussion boards on its Web site,, and through a series of town hall meetings. Since the committee first met in September 2008, they have also met with student groups.

The navigability of the LERs seems to be the major identified issue for David Dees, assistant professor at the Salem Campus and co-chair of the LER Core Committee.

“The biggest problem that struck me was how students really are affected when they change their major,” he said. “Some majors accept some of the LERs and other majors don’t accept the same LERs.

“So, as students try to navigate from major to major, or from college to college, it really is extremely problematic.”

Dees said the LERs system was last revised in 1984. Since then, classes were simply added one after the other, without actually revisiting the goals of the LERs.

“Over time it had just grown so large that it added to the complexity, and it didn’t really necessarily reflect what students were learning,” Dees said.

No pain, no gain

For Mark Scafuro, LERs do not add anything to his education.

“They’re probably my favorite classes because they’re the easiest ones,” the junior computer science major said. “I wish we had more advanced LER classes. It seems like all the ones they offer are pretty elementary.”

Sophomore nursing major Courtney Jacobs agreed with Scafuro.

“They’re teaching us just basic principles that we have learned previously,” she said.

Katelyn Pike, freshman public relations major, said LERs are simply too boring.

“I only take them because I have to,” Pike said. “I’d like to see smaller classes because sometimes they’re just big lectures. I think it’s easier to learn in smaller environments.”

While for some students LERs are just a barrier in their way to graduation, for others LERs add knowledge that they will acquire in their everyday life.

“Their purpose is to make you a well-rounded person, from what I understand,” said Matt Rees, junior computer technology major. “They definitely help because you can’t go to society without knowing anything else besides your major.”

But Rees said he wishes he could take fewer LERs.

Dees said another identified problem is the inconsistency between sections.

“Students may be taking the same course, but they may be having a totally different experience depending on professors,” he said.

Chandler said the committee is particularly interested in hearing about the learning outcomes of the LERs rather than just the classes themselves. He said years ago higher education officials were worried about teaching; now, they worry about learning.

“What is it that you want students to go way with?” Chandler said. “We’re looking at it slightly different and trying to focus on the outcomes, so that when you finish here, we can say that you actually understand these things. You’re well educated in these areas; you’re liberally educated in these terms.”

The last town hall meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. today in the Kiva. It will be broadcast to all regional campuses. Those who cannot attend, Chandler said, can register and give comments on the Web site.

The LER Core Committee has created three possible models for the LERs. Dees said either one, two or even the three of them will be recommended to Provost Robert Frank on Feb. 6. The decision of which model or models should be recommended will be based on the feedback the committee receives from the community.

Contact academics reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].