Faculty Director of the Program in General Education Jason P. Mitchell has stepped down after serving a year in the position, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced in an email sent to faculty members Tuesday.
Mitchell, a psychology professor, has served on the Standing Committee on General Education since 2013. During his five years on the committee, the Gen Ed program inspired significant Faculty debate, ultimately leading to the development of an entirely new program.
Current Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda Claybaugh will take over Mitchell’s duties, overseeing a “critical period,” Khurana told faculty members in his email.
Mitchell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The new Gen Ed program, approved in March 2016, was created in response to a 2015 FAS report that concluded the Gen Ed system was “failing on a variety of fronts.” It mandates that students take courses in four newly defined categories such as "Aesthetics and Culture," as well as three distribution requirements across the FAS and a “quantitative facility” course. It will fully roll out in the fall of 2019.
In his email, Khurana praised Mitchell’s contributions to the Gen Ed program. He wrote that Mitchell created new resources to help faculty develop courses and launched a student advisory board to gain insight into student experiences with the Gen Ed program.
“Jason has worked tirelessly over the past year to oversee the implementation of the new Program’s curriculum. Under Jason’s leadership, the revitalized Program in General Education has developed a strong foundation with more than 30 courses,” Khurana wrote.
Khurana also wrote that students have already begun experiencing the positive effects of the new Gen Ed program.
“Even before the program officially launches next fall, the class of 2019 is already reaping the benefits of the renewed program by fulfilling their General Education requirements with greater flexibility,” he wrote.
Claybaugh said in an interview Tuesday evening that the program’s progress is currently on track to launch next fall with brand new courses.
“Faculty are designing incredibly innovative cutting edge courses that are taking up questions that students are thinking about today, and it is really exciting to work with those faculty,” Claybaugh said.
Report Says Gen Ed Program Is 'Failing' on Many FrontsThe report lists about two dozen grievances about the program, voiced by undergraduates, teaching fellows, administrators, and faculty members in the past year.
A 'Core' IssueHarvard needs a core curriculum, one similar to the vision of the Gen Ed program that was first put forth decades ago.
Gen Ed’s Future Uncertain, Faculty Wait To Propose Courses
Faculty Hear Emerging Details on Renewed Gen Ed Program
Harvard Professors Prepare for New General Education Program Rollout