"The most successful teacher is he who makes himself superfluous by developing in his students the ability to educate themselves.” —Dr. Paul Klapper, 1939

For faculty, General Education is an opportunity to pause and to think: How is the college experience also a transformative experience - an awakening - for students? How are the courses I teach part of a student's development? How can I create a general education course that embodies the liberal arts tradition in a way that will stay with students long after they graduate? 

As faculty, you can create that unique class by:


Proposing a Pathways Course

Participation in General Education allows you to collaborate with other faculty, connect your research to your teaching, and design innovative pedagogies. The process begins by preparing a proposal (more on that below), which gets submitted by the Academic Senate’s General Education Advisory Committee, which reviews it to make sure it looks like it will make it through the succeeding steps. The Senate’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee then has to approve it, at which point it goes to the Academic Senate for their approval. Once the Senate approves it, it goes off to a CUNY-wide committee for yet another evaluation. Once they approve it, it has to be submitted to the CUNY Board of Trustees for final approval, and once they do so, it gets entered into CUNYfirst and becomes official.

Committee acronyms:
GEAC: General Education Advisory Committee
UCC: Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
CCCRC: CUNY Common Core Review Committee
BOT: CUNY Board of Trustees

Preparing a Proposal

To prepare a proposal:

  1. Pick the one designation you are going for. You'll need to look at the Pathways Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).
  2. Review the syllabus for the course to make sure course activities support claims that the course will achieve the required set of Pathways SLOs for the designation. Be sure to indicate how students will be assessed for various course activities, and be sure the syllabus states how course grades are computed. Adjust the syllabus as necessary. Note that this syllabus is considered a sample for the course.
  3. To prepare the proposal, sign in at the Curriculum website using your QC email and leave the password blank. The site is not password protected because whatever you do will be verified by sending email to your QC email address. There is, however, the option to set a password if you prefer to have one.
  4. Choose “Manage Proposals” to create a new proposal. You will enter the course, and it will look up the official catalog information for you. You will be able to select the proposal type, and there are boxes for you type or paste brief statements telling how the course will satisfy each of your SLOs (called “criteria” on the web page). These justifications and the sample syllabus are what will eventually be sent to the CCCRC once it makes it through the GEAC-UCC-Senate gauntlet on campus. Strategy: don’t explain how important the course is, tell how the students will achieve the SLOs, cross-referencing the syllabus in meaningful ways. (“The {assignment, activity, or test} will be graded on how well students demonstrate {assessment criterion}.”)
    Note: You can save your work and return to work on it at any time.
  5. Upload a copy of the sample syllabus.
  6. Submit the proposal. There will be a review page that does a sanity check (did you justify enough criteria?), and a button that sends an email to you to verify that it really was you who submitted the proposal.
  7. Wait a year or so.


GEAC can take up to a month to complete its review process and pass the proposal to the UCC. There is always at least a one-month delay from the time the UCC approves a proposal and when the Senate votes on it. The process is longer during winter and summer breaks. Once the Senate approves it, it takes a month or so for the CCCRC to review the proposal, (again longer during winter and summer breaks). Then it has to be entered into the Chancellor’s University Report (CUR), which goes to the BOT for their approval, and the BOT meet roughly six times a year. The key to success is satisfying the CCCRC.

If GEAC and/or the CCCRC sees a problem, time is added for making revisions and getting them to reevaluate the proposal.

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