Committee looks to reform LER’s

Maria Nann

The committee charged with reforming Kent State’s Liberal Education Requirements is exchanging ideas for reforming the university’s basic courses.

“(They) are making progress,” Provost Robert Frank said. “They’re looking at different models. They’re bringing to the table some ideas that certainly are new and interesting to the university.”

Kent State’s LERs have expanded over the years, almost becoming a burden and even delaying some students’ education, Frank said.

Frank has formed a committee co-chaired by Tim Chandler, dean of the College of the Arts, and David Dees, assistant professor at the Salem Campus, to look at simplifying Kent State’s LERs.

The LER reform committee is part of the overall 21st Century Initiative, which is looking to define the Kent State experience and what it means to be a student here. Under this initiative, different committees are examining an undergraduate philosophy, the First Year Experience program, Kent State’s core undergraduate curriculum and LERs.

The LER reform committee has been charged with:

n Making recommendations about what LERs should look like in conjunction with the undergraduate philosophy statement.

n Making LERs less complex and more easily manageable.

n Ensuring what students learn in LER courses matches the goal of the 21st Century Initiative.

n Working in conjunction with the 21st century core curriculum committee to make sure LERs fit with the overall undergraduate curriculum.

Frank said the committee will present a report by Feb. 6.

Since forming, the group has been meeting on a weekly basis to review Kent State’s current LERs and look at other institutions’ requirements.

“We’re trying to work out what we think the learning outcomes should be based on the philosophy statement,” Chandler said.

Dees said the purpose of the committee is not to cut a bunch of classes, but to try to help students by making the path to graduation easier.

“We’re trying to get feedback from students to get a feel for how (they) are thinking about LERs,” Chandler said. “We’re looking at how to make the process better for them.”

Frank said the issue of LER reform is a critical one.

“I’ve asked them to go as fast as they can,” he said. “We need it to be something people will rally around.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Maria Nann at [email protected].