Grand Valley State University educates students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. The university contributes to the enrichment of society through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service. Grand Valley’s liberal education fosters critical-thinking, creative problem solving, and cultural understanding for the benefit of lifelong learning and global citizenship. Liberal education is achieved through the General Education Program, courses in the major, electives, and cocurricular experiences. This handbook outlines the General Education Program.

Mission of the General Education Program

The General Education Program prepares students for informed citizenship, leading to responsible participation in local, national, and global communities.

Philosophy of the General Education Program

Ensuring that undergraduate students receive a broad general education has been a primary goal of colleges and universities since their inception. In this era of increasing specialization and growing demand for professional expertise, it is vital that we continue to emphasize the value of general learning.

Grand Valley State University maintains that a complete education involves more than preparation for a particular career. A career occurs in the context of a life, and a sound general education helps one “make a life” as well as “make a living.” The university, therefore, remains committed to assuring that all undergraduate students, regardless of their academic major or intended profession, receive a broad education rooted in the arts and sciences. 

The focus of our General Education Program is to provide students with an education that balances depth with breadth and the specialized with the general. The General Education Program helps students become literate and enlightened in a number of disciplines, and it fosters their ability to make connections across various domains of knowledge. Such preparation will provide students with the general knowledge and skills necessary to participate intelligently in the discourses that shape local, national, professional, and global communities.

Faculty Role

  1. Units with courses in the General Education Program are expected to ensure that all faculty members who teach in the program are knowledgeable about its student learning outcomes.
  2. Minimum qualifications for faculty members assigned to teach in the General Education Program includes
    • an understanding and appreciation of the mission and outcomes of the GVSU General Education Program
    • adherence to the GVSU Faculty Qualifications Policy.

Page last modified December 6, 2018