General Education at Temple

In the spring of 2020, Temple began the planning process for the university’s strategic plan. Over the course of more than two years, with input from faculty, staff, and student stakeholders across campus, there was consistent feedback that one of the essential initiatives to include would be a General Education Review. When the university’s plan launched in October 2022, it included this initiative to assess and enhance Temple’s General Education curriculum in ways that support our students’ learning, engagement in issues of importance, career success, and lifelong commitment to inquiry.

General Education is the keystone of the Temple University experience. It provides the breadth of learning that complements the depth found in majors, minors, and certificates. All Temple programs, including General Education, conduct periodic reviews to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students and the challenges of the world we live in.

Over the last year, we have put together the foundation for the beginning of this important work. Initial conversations across campus and external reviews have been an important part of this planning phase. The success of our students is paramount to our mission, which is why we are advancing the collaborative review of our General Education Program. Most importantly, Temple will do this critical work with the voices of students, faculty, and staff to better understand their needs and vision for General Education at Temple.

What is the General Education Program

General Education is the signature curriculum for all Temple students. Temple’s General Education consists of 11 courses taken in a broad range of areas and offered across the different colleges and schools at Temple. With more than 200 courses to choose from, all undergraduate students engage with courses on writing, the humanities, math, science & technology, race & diversity, the arts, human behavior, U.S. society, and global society. 

Why do Temple students take General Education courses?

While majors and minors provide students a depth of knowledge in a specific field, the General Education curriculum provides students with the breadth of knowledge to make the major(s) and minor(s) work for them in a dynamic, constantly evolving world. The skills and goals built into General Education classes are important academically, and are also sought after by employers and central to civic participation. The General Education curriculum complements the major and guarantees that every Temple student has space to explore.

Both the State of Pennsylvania and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education recognize the importance of General Education, and even require it to be part of the curriculum. As the Middle States Commission says, General Education:

  • offers a sufficient scope to draw students into new areas of intellectual experience, expanding their cultural and global awareness and cultural sensitivity, and preparing them to make well-reasoned judgments outside as well as within their academic field; and
  • offers a curriculum designed so that students acquire and demonstrate essential skills including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy.
  • Consistent with mission, the general education program also includes the study of values, ethics, and diverse perspectives.

A Charge from the Steering Committee to the Task Force

In recognition of the following…

  • Both Pennsylvania law and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education value the role of General Education for undergraduate students;
  • Temple University’s General Education system has received no reform in over 15 years;
  • Multiple Temple leaders have called for General Education reform;
  • The self-study conducted by the Temple General Education program recognized both the many strengths of the existing program and several areas for improvement;
  • A 2023 external review of Temple’s General Education Program concurred with the findings of the self-study and offered specific suggestions for reform; and
  • Temple University’s Provost has called for the General Education Review Steering Committee to guide the reform process…

The Steering Committee calls upon the Review Task Force to:

  • Identify key points of inquiry regarding the purpose and scope of General Education.
  • Gather data from and about stakeholders such as students, faculty, advisors, college administrators, support centers, etc.
  • Review the General Education curriculum at other leading universities.

  • Review data and develop proposals for General Education reform.
  • Report at intervals to the Steering Committee; and
  • Submit a final report to the Steering Committee.

Some of the key points of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  • The existing and potential goals of General Education, including Temple-specific goals.
  • The timing and expectations of the General Education requirements.
  • The relationship between General Education and the majors.
  • The possibility of course sequencing in General Education.
  • The possibility and design of a General Education capstone course.
  • The possibility of discipline-specific courses counting as General Education courses.
  • The relationship between university and college budget models and the General Education program.