The True Blue Core: A Community Discussion

This page provides essential information and context so that you can fully participate in the process of general education curriculum design. You can go straight to the qualities here and components here

Our current constraints

  • 41 lower-division hours and 6 hours of history are required by law.
  • SACSCOC requires a coherent general education, student learning outcomes, and a plan for assesment of those outcomes, as well as a minimum of 3 credits of social science, 3 credits of humanities/fine arts, and 3 credits of natural science/math. See more here.
  • THEC encourages us to protect the universal transfer path.
  • Our current program and its learning outcomes were imposed on us as part of a 2004 revision instigated by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Our current opportunities

As a locally governed institution, we are free to envision a general education program that aligns with our values and identity. Any changes that we make will be made as a part of a faculty-driven, democratic process that seeks to involve as many members of our university community as possible. 

What we have done so far

During the AY 2018-2019 we conducted focus groups for faculty, staff, and administrators, interviewed key stakeholders, and surveyed students to articulate our values. See the data here.

In the focus groups we asked faculty, staff and administrators to identify what university students should know, be able to do and have experienced by the time they complete the general education or core requirement.

Here’s what we found out: 

MTSU Institutional Values

***To read about these values in more detail, click here

This data mirrors the essential learning outcomes devised by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). To review the Essential Learning Outcomes, click here

Our design team went to the AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment. Using the data as well as other research, the design team (Click here to learn more about the design team) brainstormed 4 potential program components and 4 potential qualities/outcomes and have brought them for review by the university during the fall semester 2019.

Where we are right now

We need you to familiarize yourself with the components and qualities and attend the town halls and public forums that we have scheduled. At the town halls, we’ll gather your responses in hard copy, and we’ll give you a link to a survey where you can respond in greater detail. At the public forums in November, we’ll have an open mic for questions and concerns. You can also schedule a workshop for your academic unit here.

What we need from you

We want to know which of these components and qualities you think best align with MTSU's values and identity and how they can be revised to best reflect those values. 

Learn more about the potential qualities here.

Learn more about the potential components here.  

But what is the role of the strategic plan?

The strategic plan that was launched during the first week of the Fall 2019 semester is a plan for the design process and is guided by five key values (flexible options, core knowledge & skills, student engagement and exploration, relevant and innovative content, inclusion and intercultural competence). The language in the strategic plan aligns with the MTSU Academic Master Plan, the MTSU university strategic plan, and the 2025 Quest for Student Success.

The strategic plan is NOT the new gen ed program nor does it provide an implementation plan for the new university core. It is a plan meant to guide us through a complex process with multiple stakeholders, one that we are trying to conduct democratically with participation from across the university. It provides us with a timeline so that we don’t get lost in a morass of meetings, identifies the responsible parties for taking action, and clearly articulates the need for resources as well the university’s commitment to funding the redesign. You can read it here, but remember it is a plan for the redesign process not an implementation plan for the University Core. You can also learn about our strategic planning process there.


Director of General Education
Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk, Professor of History

Director of Communications & Research Associate
Dr. Katherine Brackett, Research Assistant Professor of History

Graduate Assistant
Meredith Funderburk

Contact Information


Institutional Memberships:

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)

Association for General & Liberal Studies (AGLS)