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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
Chris Matthews: Inspiring language learners at home and abroad
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
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By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

SGB hosts general education town hall

Members+of+Student+Government+Board+speak+during+their+public+meeting+on+Tuesday+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place.
Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer
Members of Student Government Board speak during their public meeting on Tuesday in Nordy’s Place.

Student Government Board hosted a general education reform town hall at its Tuesday meeting. Belkys Torres, associate vice provost for Inclusive Excellence in Education, said she feels that each school and branch campus at Pitt “marches to the beat of their own drum.”

“We spent the last year or so conducting research on our own, about where the university stands in regards to the rest of the nation with regard to student success, equity, access, affordability,” Torres said. “Given the fact that we are so decentralized we’re trying to slowly sort of bring folks together into a conversation.”

According to Torres, 79% percent of public institutions have a common general education framework that spans across the institution. 

Torres said she hopes the new general education task force prioritizes student success.

SGB president Ryan Young said he would define students engaging with the gen eds they take as student success in this context. 

 “I think a lot of the time people like to look up what the easiest thing is to do or are just trying to check boxes off the list,” Young said. “There is confusion about the process, which limits people actually engaging with it and finding value out of it, succeeding and improving themselves from the courses that they’re taking.” 

Torres said she hopes students come away from the gen ed program with critical thinking skills.

“We want to make sure that by the time you leave here, you’ve learned how to gather and evaluate information effectively and appropriately so that you understand and are able to apply basic principles, right, scientific, quantitative reasoning, right, all of this,” Torres said. 

Board Member and General Education Task Force member Braydan Issermoyer hopes that general education courses in the future teach more tangible skills. 

“I’m interested in transforming the requirements and what should be coming out of our gen eds in terms of meaningful, visible skills,” Issermoyer said. “Especially how we’re able to conduct research, are able to use technology efficiently, we’re able to be leaders in the workplace and are able to communicate with others.” 

Academic Affairs Committee Chair Grace Bohl said she feels that one skill necessary to include in general education requirements is media literacy.

“Knowing how to critically engage with the media so you can come to your own opinions is important. I think those critical thinking skills really equip students to be good members of the workforce and also good citizens in everyday life,” Bohl said. 

Bohl, Issermoyer and Torres all said they feel that the general education standards need to be uniform across all of the campuses and schools. 

“I think we need to make a commitment as an institution that a more integrated gen ed curriculum should be part of our strategy, regardless of what school you’re enrolled in, regardless of your major, right,” Torres said. “It hampers the opportunity for transfer students to come in and not have to add additional time to [their] degree.”

Bohl said one of the goals of the task force is to make sure the classes are more meaningful.

“In terms of curricular demands, it won’t be either an increase or decrease,” Bohl said. “It’ll be more variety. It’s making sure that there [is] more consistency across the gen eds, making sure more practical skills are taught and that the gen eds you’re taking are impactful.”

Allocations: 

Kendo Club requested funds for equipment. The board revised and approved this request to the club sports cap of $2,000.

The Fann Club at Pitt requested for a performance event on campus. The board amended and approved this request to $4,874.53. 

Students Organize for Syria requested $3,596.81 to bring a speaker to campus. The board approved this request in full.

Turning Point USA at Pitt requested $3,600 to create a video for their club. The board denied this request in full.



About the Contributor
Adrienne Cahillane, Senior Staff Writer