Jumpstart General Education

Innovative and Relevant: The Future of General Education

What is so different about Jumpstart GE? Everything.

Launched in 2015 with 48 students, Jumpstart is the most engaging, integrated and efficient way to complete your GE requirement. After a successful first year, Jumpstart doubled in size and now offers two sections. The program allows students to earn all of their general education credits through an integrated curriculum taught by fourteen professors between two themes: Stage & Screen and Our National Parks.

Innovative and Relevant.

"This is the coolest thing I've done in my 25 years of higher education."
Professor Matt Nickerson One of the nineteen jumpstart faculty members

Faculty mentor.

Faculty Mentors

Led by the University’s president, a team of Southern Utah University faculty reinvented the role of general education.

Fourteen faculty members, hand-selected from among SUU’s finest professors, work together to overhaul traditional GE courses to create Jumpstart GE, a highly-integrated curriculum.

Professor Matt Nickerson, a Jumpstart professor, remarked in one of the planning meetings, “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my 25 years of higher education.”

Excitement over this program is palpable among the incoming students and SUU faculty. There are plans to continue expanding the program and professors are more than willing to join the team.

“Universities are places where new things are created, explored, and developed,” says John R. Taylor, Southern Utah University’s provost faculty fellow for academic affairs. “We are focused on modeling this mindset for our students. Students in Jumpstart GE create projects and assignments that connect skills and concepts from all the different course areas in a truly unique way. This is the greatest shift the GE program at SUU has seen in over 25 years. These are exciting times to be a T-Bird!”

Meet the Faculty

Efficiency and persistence.

Efficiency & Persistence

“The national trend towards efficiency in higher education has led to a GE experience that is less than desirable. Among most colleges and universities, these courses have the largest enrollments on campus and are taught by adjunct faculty. This has led to the student view that GE programs are a waste of time, or simply hoops to jump through. However, nothing could be farther from the truth,” explained Taylor.

Students in Jumpstart have class every day, moving through their studies as a cohort, with their choice between two themes: Stage & Screen and Our National Parks.

Students have plenty of time to do homework, get involved with clubs and organizations, and perhaps even work. At the conclusion of the two-semester Jumpstart GE program, students will earn a GE Certificate that will transfer to any of the Utah System of Higher Education institutions.

The hope, of course, is that the students are so well connected and engaged in their learning community that they will continue on at Southern Utah University. Regardless, these students will undoubtedly have developed the proper study habits and academic mindset to succeed in higher education at large and persist through to graduation.

Meaningful experiences.

Meaningful Experiences

In one academic year Jumpstart GE students embark on an unparalleled educational adventure. The secret to the system’s projected success is the integrated curriculum.

“We feel that the purpose of general education is to create a more well-rounded and educated person,” says SUU President Scott L Wyatt. “But the traditional ‘buffet’ model doesn’t provide the learning experience that we really want our students to have. We wanted to create a system that was exciting and innovative for both the students and faculty.”

When the professors began their planning they realized there was significant overlap between the individual courses and that by working together they could create a synergistic learning environment that is both engaging and efficient.

“We are not trying to cover GE topics faster,” says Taylor. “We are trying to do it better and in a more meaningful way. SUU is making a significant investment into the freshmen class with the hope they will continue to see connections among all of their subsequent courses, becoming lifelong learners.”

President Wyatt further explains, “We are more concerned about the quality and number of graduates that leave this University than we are in how many walk through our door as freshmen, but never finish. We want the highest graduation rate we can possibly muster, because our students deserve it. We think that Jumpstart GE is the best way to fully support our incoming students and tell them, ‘Welcome to SUU. We care about you and your future. Now, let’s get to work’.”


Program Director:
John Taylor - taylorjr@suu.edu

Media Contact:
Ellen Treanor - ellentreanor@suu.edu