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Review and Revision of TCNJ’s Liberal Learning Program

This page provides a chronology of review and revision of the Liberal Learning.

Self-Study and External Review

September 2014 – January 2016

The Self-Study was the first comprehensive review of the Liberal Learning Program, the general education program at The College of New Jersey, since the current program’s implementation in the Fall of 2004.

The Self-Study was conducted by the Liberal Learning Program Council, and its goals were to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the program and to make recommendations for improvement based on nationally recognized best practices and data collected at TCNJ.  The LLPC completed its report in November 2015.

The external review was conducted by two nationally recognized leaders in general education.  They reviewed the Liberal Learning Self-Study and visited campus in November 2015 to meet with a wide variety of constituents.  Their final report was submitted January 2016

Liberal Learning Task Force

May 2018 – May 2020

In May 2018, Steering charged the Liberal Learning Task Force, which consisted of all members of the Liberal Learning Council plus four additional faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate, “to discern faculty opinion regarding the scope and nature of the revision of the Liberal Learning Program and to define parameters for this revision, to engage the faculty in conversation regarding the role of Liberal Learning vis-à-vis the major, and to lead the faculty at large in defining the goals and composition of a revitalized Liberal Learning Program.”  The Task Force submitted its report to Steering in December 2018 and indicated that the data it gathered supported continued work by the Task Force on the Liberal Learning Program.

In response, Steering charged the Task Force in March 2019 “to move forward by recommending a range of models for Liberal Learning including our current model” and to “consider how Liberal Learning designations would be assigned to coursework or experiences under each model proposed.”  The Task Force developed a set of four models that represented a range of degree of change from the then current program  and gathered testimony on those models from the campus community.

Because the College had initiated a new cycle of strategic planning, Steering revised its charge to the Task Force in February 2020, requesting that the Task Force “recommend short-term improvements to the current Liberal Learning model.”  Steering indicated that the Task Force did not need to recommend a new curricular model, as such a change would need to follow the new strategic planning process.   In May 2020, The Task Force submitted to Steering nine recommendations for short-term changes to the Liberal Learning Program.   The following two recommendations were accepted and implemented in Fall 2021:

  • Students should complete WRI 102 or its equivalent before they enroll in an FSP.
  • The creation of a keyword-searchable database of Liberal Learning courses.

The remainder of the recommendations were sent to the Liberal Learning Council for further consideration and action (see below).

Liberal Learning Council Recommendations

March 2021 – May 2022

In March 2021, Steering charged the Liberal Learning Council (LLC) to review, evaluate, and decide whether to adopt five of the short-term changes recommended by the Liberal Learning Task Force, including expanding the number of courses meeting the mid-level writing requirement, expanding the definition of oral communication to include visual and multimedia communication, and renaming the program and some of its components.  The LLC submitted its recommendations to Steering in November 2021, and the recommendations were accepted.  The changes were implemented for the incoming cohort of students in Fall 2023, and the new name for the Program, The College Core, was implemented in May 2023.

In April 2021, Steering charged the Liberal Learning Council (LLC) to revise the learning outcomes of the Liberal Learning Program in light of the recommendations of the self-study and external review, including reducing the total number of outcomes and improving their wording to include an appropriate level of demonstrated proficiency and to make them readily measurable.  The LLC reduced the then current list of well over 50 outcomes down to 15 while making the needed improvements in wording.  In May 2022, the LLC sent its recommended revised outcomes to Steering, and they were accepted.  The new outcomes were implemented in Fall 2023.

The revised outcomes are listed on the College Core website under “What Do You Learn from the College Core.”  Hence forth, the syllabi of all College Core courses must now include the learning outcomes(s) for any Liberal Learning requirement(s) met by the course.

Please note: The Liberal Learning Program has been renamed The College Core, and some of its components have also been renamed. Learn More