SUU Expands Jumpstart General Education Program

Published: October 03, 2016 | Author: Abigail Wyatt | Read Time: 2 minutes

Jumpstart Field TripAfter a successful first year, Southern Utah University’s Jumpstart General Education program is expanding in size. From 43 freshmen in its inaugural year to now 75, SUU is offering two sections of Jumpstart to accommodate the growth.   

Each Jumpstart section is a one-year, 34-credit class that covers 13 courses worth of material. The program allows students to earn all of their general education credits through an integrated curriculum taught by nine professors. These faculty members are driven to reinvent the role of general education and engage students to discover how classes unrelated to their major are relevant to their future.

“Before Jumpstart, I never felt excited about learning,” said Derek Rasmussen, a business major from Hyrum, Utah who was in the experimental first year of Jumpstart. “It was fantastic to learn how disciplines are interrelated and how we could use the materials we were learning in a number of ways and in multiple situations.”

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

“We are not trying to cover GE topics faster,” said John Taylor, SUU’s provost faculty fellow for academic affairs. “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 life-long learners.”

As Jumpstart continues to grow, Taylor is making plans to involve a broader audience.

“We are currently exploring a Jumpstart partnership with Iron County School District,” Taylor said, explaining one of the possible future avenues Jumpstart could take. “This new model would bring properly prepared high school seniors to the SUU campus, enabling them to graduate high school with an added General Education Certificate.” 

With two sections of Jumpstart this year, the program is focusing material around two different themes, Our National Parks and An Active America. Course work will be supplemented with group work, hands-on projects and field trips.

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