A-to-Z Index

General Education

Diversity Board

In 2005, the General Education Council established the General Education Diversity Board in response to a call for all colleges at JMU to study diversity issues in their programs. At that time, the board defined ‘diversity’ broadly to include attention to ability/disability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexuality, or world view. This definition reflected the philosophy that guided the creation of General Education: The Human Community in 1996. Unlike campuses that have a specific ‘diversity’ requirement that must be filled by a small set of eligible courses, JMU embeds diversity-related content and outcomes throughout the entire General Education program. Sometimes, the intent is clearly stated in a course title and description, such as World Religions, which offers a comparative analysis of faiths across the globe. Similarly conceived courses include Critical Issues in Global History, Geography-The Global Dimension, or Intro to Global Music. But there are many other courses that address some element of diversity within the human community, from those focusing on gender or socioeconomics to ones that explore critically varieties of human communication, physiological differences, or planetary and environmental influences on human societies. A survey undertaken in 2005 demonstrated widespread support for diversity-related content and outcomes among the General Education program faculty. Of the 152 faculty members responding to the survey: 95% agreed that diversity should be included in classes in the General Education Program; 49% said that diversity issues are central to their Gen Ed classes; and 37% said that they included diversity issues in their Gen Ed classes as appropriate. For survey details and a list of pedagogical strategies employed by instructors in the Gen Ed Program, please visit the Integrating Diversity into the Curriculum website at http://www.jmu.edu/cfi/diversity/index.html.

AY 2010-20111 members