General Education Reform

“Education is not preparation for life; Education is life itself.” – John Dewey, philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer

What foundational knowledge should a Pittsburg State student possess upon graduation? This is the question at the heart of a faculty-led endeavor to review the university’s General Education program.

The review began in September of 2015, when PSU’s Faculty Senate unanimously approved a motion to examine the university’s General Education program to ensure that it supported the university’s newly adopted strategic plan, “Pathway to Prominence.”

A Faculty Leadership Team, consisting of membership from each college, was formed in 2016 to develop the process by which the entire campus community (faculty, staff, and students) and external stakeholders (employers, community members, etc.) could participate in the process of developing a General Education program for the 21st century.

Over the next two years, these stakeholders will be asked to participate in the processes of reflection, discussion and creation of a new General Education program that reflects Pittsburg State’s core values and provides students with a transformational academic experience.

We hope you will join us in this journey by participating in our open forums or simply using our online form to provide your well-thought out ideas.  Together, we can ensure that Pittsburg State students are receiving the knowledge and support they need to be both personally and professionally successful.

We need you

We invite the entire Pittsburg State Community to be a part of this process. We will be scheduling focus group discussions in February 2017 to facilitate participation by all university and community members who are interested in contributing to this process. Please watch this webpage for information on times and dates of meetings!

We are interested in your ideas

Take A Survey


We are interested in your ideas. What knowledge and skills should a Gorilla have when they graduate? When you click on the survey link below, you will be asked to rate twenty-three components based on how you perceive the importance of each in the hiring process of college graduates in general.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this. We appreciate your input.


Have Questions?



Fall 2016 to Feb 2017

• Inputs phase
• What's important for PSU grads to know?
• Focus groups


Mar 2017 to June 2017

• Determine desired learning outcomes
• Compile findings from Discovery phase - Mar 2017
• Analysis and definition - May/June 2017


Fall 2017 to Spring 2018

Overall framework


May 2018 to Fall 2018

• Program with courses
• Report May 2018
• Proposal to Faculty Senate Fall 2018

What is general education?

Earning a university degree is about much more than fulfilling the requirements of a major. It’s about learning the key skills and knowledge needed to work effectively in our ever changing world. A General Education program (sometimes referred to as the core curriculum) consists of a collection of classes required by all majors, regardless of the degree that a student is seeking. General education classes are added to the required set of courses for a major with the intent of broadening their knowledge beyond what’s required in a specific field.

The Philosophy of General Education at PSU:

General Education is the study of humans in their global setting. The general education curriculum, therefore, acts as the heart of a university education by developing the capacities that typify the educated person and providing a basis for life-long learning and intellectual, ethical, and aesthetic fulfillment. General education examines the world around us and fosters and understanding of our interactions with the world and our place in the universe. General education celebrates the creative capacities of humankind and helps to preserve and transmit to future generations the values, knowledge, wisdom, and sense of history that are our common heritage.

Course Catalog

Why is this review needed?

The last general education review/reform process began in the early 2000s as an administration-led process. The work of the General Education Task Force culminated in the creation of the current General Education Program that went into effect in Fall 2005. Since that time, significant changes have occurred in the world around us.

“In recent years, the ground has shifted for Americans in virtually every important sphere of life—economic, global, cross-cultural, environ­mental, civic. The world is being dramatically reshaped by scientific and technological innovations, global interdependence, cross-cultural en­counters, and changes in the balance of economic and political power… Today, in an economy that is dependent on innovation and global savvy, these outcomes have become the keys to economic vitality and individual opportunity. They are the foundations for American success in all fields—from technology and the sciences to communications and the creative arts.” 

Liberal Education & America’s Promise | AAC&U The Nat’l Leadership Council for Liberal Education America’s Promise (LEAP) 2008

This endeavor to examine general education comes directly from the faculty who recognize that an effective program requires continuous improvement in the context of our ever-changing external environment. The development of a new university strategic plan that reflects our acknowledgement and adaptation to these changes provides us with an opportunity to tie our undergraduate experience to the strengths of our faculty and our new, unique university mission: “… to provide transformational experiences for its students and the community.” (PSU’s Pathways to Prominence 2016-2022).

Core values of PSU: Pathways to Prominence 2016-2022

Continue a campus environment where students feel a connection to the university and its faculty and staff by making students and their success the driving force behind institutional decisions at all levels.

Ensure the university strives for outcomes that are exemplary by demanding quality in all aspects of the institution’s operations.

Perpetuate the university’s founding principle of “By doing learn,” through the creation of academic programs and opportunities that engage students in real world activities.

Foster a diverse and international campus culture among students, faculty, and staff and students that supports an understanding and acceptance of a variety of ideas, beliefs, and cultures, thereby creating opportunity for all.

Enhance the university’s strong relationship with the region and the Pittsburg community by maintaining a welcoming campus and creating big university opportunities in a small campus atmosphere.

Encourage students, faculty, and staff to take informed, calculated, and strategic risks to build upon their success, start new ventures, utilize new technologies, and forge an entrepreneurial path forward.

Recognize there are limited and finite resources in the world, and, therefore, commit ourselves to establishing best practices to conserve resources as well as decrease the university’s carbon footprint.


Leadership Team

Dr. Mike Carper, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science in the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation. He arrived at Pittsburg State University in the fall of 2012. He completed three post-doctoral fellowships in research prior to arriving at PSU at Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, NC, Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. He teaches the upper level courses in the Exercise Science program and is the program’s coordinator. He played an instrumental role in updating the Exercise Science program to include more relevant and applicable courses to ensure student success. He has served as the chair of the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and was a member of the College of Education Curriculum Committee. x6155


Dr. Catherine Hooey is a Professor of Geography in the Department of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences. She arrived at PSU in 1999 and is the coordinator of the Geography program. The courses she teaches include World Regional Geography, Environmental Geography and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. More recently, she participated in the creation of the Bachelor of Integrated Studies with an emphasis in Sustainability, Society and Resource Management degree and also co-teaches in that program. x4327

Dr. Stephen (Steve) V. Horner is an Associate Professor of Management in the Kelce College of Business at Pittsburg State University. He previously held positions at Bethany College and Arkansas State University and taught courses at Kansas State University-Salina College of Technology and Aviation and McPherson College. At PSU, he teaches Business Strategy and Strategic Management. He is consulting editor for the Journal of Managerial Issues and a member and former president of the Southwest Academy of Management. His research appears in several academic publications. x4585


Mr. Philip (Phil) McNew is a Professor in the College of Technology’s Engineering Technology Department. He has been a Faculty member at PSU since 1980 and currently teaches the Quality Control and Welding Process classes. He is also involved with several of the “Senior Project” courses within the College. He is an American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector and regularly performs Welder certification and training, for companies in the region. x4381