New Conference Aims to Strengthen General Education

April 5, 2010

New Conference Aims to Strengthen General Education

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University's will spotlight the importance of general education at the first ever Core Matters Conference Friday and Saturday, April 9-10, in the University Center Magnolia and Rose rooms.

The two-day event will unite faculty, students and members of the local community to facilitate the sharing of ideas regarding core curriculum at VSU. More than 35 presenters will propose their own inquiries into various subjects -- from coping with budget restraints and strengthening learning communities to pedagogy and effective instruction in super section courses.

Members of the State Core Revision Committee will discuss recent and future revisions to state standards for core curriculum with those teaching courses in VSU's general education program. Round table and panel discussions will explore ways to enhance communication between faculty members, improve instruction for core subjects and better prepare students for entering the workforce. Myrna Ballard, executive director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce will serve as the event's keynote speaker.

A $25 registration fee ($10 for student presenters) includes a wine reception on Friday and meals for both days. Participants may register additional guests for $20 each. Between presentations and discussions, those in attendance will have opportunities to win door prizes and interact with various publishers.

Roy Pace, lecturer in VSU's Department of English, said the steering committee has encouraged student participation in an effort to change their perspective of general education.

"We believe core curriculum is required for all students to be successful in their majors and work lives after graduation," Pace said. "So many come to college wondering why they have to complete core requirements. We want to change their point of view so they see it as essential to creating a solid foundation from which to draw for future success."

The steering committee has also encouraged participation from the local business leaders, who can share ideas regarding the skills expected from recent graduates.

"We want to strengthen the connection between the business community and VSU, so we want to establish what is expected from our graduates," Pace explained. "Building a better foundation for students through core curriculum will make them more employable -- which benefits the students and employers, while also improving VSU's reputation for producing well-rounded, prepared graduates."

Pace, who believes that a strong general education program is essential to university success, said during preparation for the event he searched for similar conferences around the country but found very little information. He and the steering committee hope to continue the event on an annual basis, and also see it expand beyond VSU into a national effort.

Those interested in attending conference sessions may register for $5 at the door. View a schedule on the conference Web site: . For more information about the conference, visit e-mail Pace or call 229-293-6298.