General Education Theme

Click here to go to the official GenEdge College Theme site

A subcommittee developed a program wherein students engaged in a theme, applied across departments in order to give the participating classes a chance to produce meaningful work.

Initial Theme: 2015


Extending the Theme Across City Tech

Prof. Dionne Bennett developed the theme “What does Freedom Mean” for the African American Studies Department’s year-long 2014-2015 theme. When the General Education Committee expressed a need for a cogent and enthralling theme for the Pilot, Dr. Marta Effinger-Crichlow graciously invited us to utilize the theme.

The Theme Pilot subcommittee was then formed by volunteers from the larger General Education Committee. We made sure to have at least two professors from each school. The volunteers each took the theme back to their classes and had their student do one assignment dealing with that idea. The student work was aggregated into a presentation which was presented by Prof. Julian Williams during the Black Solidarity Day celebration.

General Education Theme Pilot: Full Presentation

General Education Theme Pilot: Survey Data

Gen Ed Theme 2014-15:
Samples of Student Work

Moving Forward

The Gen Ed Committee is developing a process by which the Theme program will be inculcated into City Tech.

A core set of criteria:

  • The theme must be open-ended and welcoming to critical engagement from a variety of angles.
  • The leader of the theme initiative will be in charge of developing the format of the theme’s inclusion in events, classes, and other deliverables.
  • Student work will be preserved electronically for later reference.
  • Any physical work should be made available for display in some easily accessed central location.

Suggested activities:

  • Guest Speakers
  • Existing events
  • A student show of the work is essential
  • Linkages to an outside group
  • Reach out to link to existing programming: The AAS program let the pilot team link into the momentum of their established events. This is a wonderful way to attract new audiences to your department’s activities.


Details to come.

Theme Loose Structure

  • Teams/Leaders suggest a theme, host entity, and general plan for the Year-Long Theme in the first weeks of the new school year. We have found that framing the question as an intriguing, open-ended question is quite effective:
    • what does freedom mean?
    • What was the most important invention of the last 1000 years? (NYTimes turn of the millenium question)
      • be inspiring, not all bogged in details
  • Theme proposals are vetted by the Gen Ed Theme Subcommittee then approved by general vote by the entire Gen Ed Committee
  • Theme is approved
  • Team/leader of team meet with Gen Ed Subcommittee for guidance and support as needed

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