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Thematic Pathways in General Education (TPGE) is an initiative to increase student engagement in General Education (Gen Ed) courses and to foster cross-disciplinary connections and co-curricular learning opportunities. Pathways identify subsets of Gen Ed courses with relevant content proposed by the General Education Committee or other faculty groups. They create a new filter in STAR so that students can identify subsets of courses with Gen Ed designations with thematic content that may interest them. Students may opt to fulfill a subset of their Gen Ed Core (Foundations and Diversification) and Special Graduation (Focus and Hawaiian/Second Language) requirements within one or more TPGEs, but they are in no way required to do so. Participation in TPGEs is entirely voluntary for faculty as well. If, for any reason, departments do not want one or more of their classes included, they can opt out by emailing their request to gened@hawaii.edu at any time. 

TPGEs will also feature co-curricular learning opportunities. For example, a lecture on campus may be interesting to students enrolled in Gen Ed designated classes with Sustainability content. The General Education Committee and General Education Office can forward announcements about such activities to the departments with courses in the Sustainability TPGE, for example, so that students can be alerted to them, and/or so those events can be incorporated into the curricula.

TPGEs should be clearly distinct and much broader than any single major, minor or certificate. TPGEs are not academic programs or a Gen Ed requirement. Instead, TPGEs provide selection criteria for undergraduate students, academic advisors, and faculty advisors to use during the registration process in order to identify subsets of courses fulfilling Gen Ed requirements that have some content relevant to a broad, interdisciplinary area that may be of interest to the student. A TPGE on “Climate Change,” for example, would identify the subset of courses with Gen Ed Diversification designations that have sufficient content related to sea rise,  air pollution, migration, and public policy. With over 4000 courses with Diversification designations, and more being added each year, students are faced with an overwhelming array of choices. By tagging subsets of courses with content related to a broad interest area, the registration system’s new TPGE menu will allow them to quickly pull up a subset of courses relevant to a TPGE that may interest them. The student interested in Climate Change can then find a shorter list of choices for fulfilling a Diversification Arts (DA) requirement (e.g.,Tropical Landscape Planting Design Studio, Topics in Theatre Production). If no courses in that subset fit her schedule or pique her interest, she can choose from DA courses in a different TPGE or from the complete list of all courses with a DA designation. As a registration tool, TPGEs function like filters in search bars on retail sites: Men’s Shoes may bring up thousands of options, but Boots narrows that to a more manageable subset of choices.

If you have any questions, or want to discuss an idea for a new TPGE, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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