Skip to main content

General Education Featured Faculty


Dr. Marie Manning 

Assistant Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership  

  • What General Education course(s) are you teaching? In what Element?

I’ve taught SED 104 (Special Education Introduction) in General Education element 6 since 2017.

  • Why do you enjoy teaching in our General Education program?

Students who come to college do not often understand their role in the larger, global society, let alone have a grasp on future plans. General Education courses, especially content in SED 104, helps by providing a stronger foundation of disability awareness, self advocacy skills, and provides direction. After taking this course, students have come to me for more information on how they can change their majors or minors to learn more in fields that help individuals with disabilities, inquire about personal events related to the content, and share personal stories about how this content has impacted them. Students report that they learn much more than they expected within the course about how to interact with others who may be different than themselves. As a student myself long ago, I took this course as a requirement for my educational programming. I had no clue at the time how much a single class could change my future and impact every aspect of my life. I share that experience with them each semester to help open their eyes to amazing possibilities. 

  • As a faculty member, what is your role in teaching students in General Education courses?

My role as a faculty member first begins in the classroom. It is important to me that I contribute to the larger EKU mission. Within that, the General Education program promotes learning that supports student-centered educational goals and independent thinkers. Students learn to become contributing members of the larger community and society through perspective-taking and informed choice-making. My specific focus within General Education element 6 focuses on diversity of perspectives and experiences. Students taking SED 104 learn how to communicate and advocate for others with exceptionalities, and use critical thinking skills and quantitative reasoning to problem solve challenges and solutions for those across all areas of disabilities. The course also addresses how students fit within the larger context of society as teachers and other stakeholders. The knowledge and understanding of self and others helps students to recognize how their individual choices and those around them influence others. Most importantly, students learn how to recognize and embrace various perspectives of others from different cultures and marginalized groups. As a faculty member teaching General Education courses, my role is not only to teach students the skills they need to succeed in my class, but also show them how to incorporate the larger context of diversity, equity, and inclusion into their daily lives and future careers. 

My role beyond the classroom has grown and changed over the years. As an instructor, I focused on content delivery. As a course coordinator, my role extended to develop and maintain up-to-date content and delivery methods, and to ensure General Education assessments in all sections were implemented with fidelity. I provided part-time instructor support and technical assistance. With the support of our faculty, I scheduled and attended interrater reliability meetings to ensure key assessments were scored accurately across all sections. I continue to provide mentorship and support to our new coordinator as needed. Recently, as an undergraduate coordinator, my role has expanded to supporting all General Education courses in education programs through student advising and mentorship. It is even more important for me to see how all General Education courses work together to provide quality student outcomes. Sometimes, that includes student-focused explicit direction on the value and importance of General Education classes.     

  • What recommendations do you have for faculty teaching General Education courses at EKU? 

    • Understand your role. The most important aspect of teaching General Education courses, I believe, is understanding how your course fits into the larger structure of General Education competencies. Understanding how your class fits into the larger context if this process is key. 

    • Learning is a process. Students do not always understand how the content they are learning fits into the larger structure of a liberal arts education. For them, it is about taking a course, earning a grade and moving onto the next class. We need to be explicit how the information or skill sets we are teaching in a class will help them within their own personal journey. 

    • Personalize content. Use personal stories about how the content has impacted you as a learner. Even if it is content they are not interested in at the moment, there are key aspects that can broaden their scope and ways of knowing.

    • Differentiate instruction. Students taking General Education classes bring their own life experiences including varied skill sets into your classroom. When there is a disconnect between personal histories,  knowledge and skills, and varied perspectives the content becomes secondary. Use a variety of different activities and assessment measures. 

    • Recognize your own implicit biases. It is important that we are not influenced by unconscious biases we may hold about others or topics including our own content. Our personal experiences are what brought us to higher education, but at the same time they can shape how we act toward others, what content we deliver and how we deliver it. Be cognizant that all voices are heard and various perspectives are represented. 

  • What is the role of General Education in a student’s academic career?

General Education courses foster student learning and enable a growth-mindset. The curriculum in General Education helps students to become contributing members within a larger context through independent thinking and informed choice. Students at EKU will be entering a highly competitive workforce on a global scale. Skills required to be successful include communicating with others effectively, integrating knowledge that will deepen their understanding, engaging in critical thinking, analyzing social and behavioral influences that impact self and others, fostering a search for knowledge, and recognizing how their own perspectives influences ways of knowing and engaging with other cultures and marginalized groups. All skills necessary to meet the larger goal of independent thinkers within a larger, global context cannot be taught in a singular course or even through a specific program. The role of General Education is to develop these skills through various courses and student experiences through the student’s academic career.

Published on December 06, 2021

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/