Shenandoah University successfully used a “town hall” approach to redesign its general education program and make it a more coherent learning experience for students with support from a Teagle grant made in 2014
. Students enroll in “town hall” sections of general education courses in the humanities and social sciences. The sections study a common issue or challenge like poverty or immigration, but from the disciplinary perspective of the course in which they are enrolled. At the end of the semester, students participate in a conference where they present their research on the common topic to their peers and to “community consultants,” experts on the issue who are based in the region, and refine their ideas based on feedback received. The approach helps students see how the skills associated with liberal arts education helps them unpack important problems of the day.
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