A recent blog post made me think again about the part that the College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) has played in the general education curriculum at DePaul University. Dr. Lorelle L. Espinosa recently wrote a post entitled STEM Literacy Beyond STEM Occupations, which is a reaction to a publication entitled STEM by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. (Note that STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In that post she talks about the need for people who end up in occupations outside of STEM to possess STEM skills like deductive reasoning, mathematical reasoning, and problem sensitivity. In a particularly insightful summary she says:
If we are to truly meet the needs of an increasingly scientific society, of course we need more STEM graduates. But we also need more STEM-literate students, regardless of college major.
This is an idea that CDM faculty have not only bought into but actively pursued. CDM offers an extensive list of courses approved for general education credit in five Liberal Studies domains (arts and literature; scientific inquiry; self, society, and the modern world; understanding the past; philosophical inquiry) and in the Liberal Studies core (experiential learning and the capstone). There’s even an entire page on the CDM site devoted to spelling out the Liberal Studies classes we offer for interested students. And, yes, it helps that we’ve been able to participate in the governance of the Liberal Studies Program. But we’ve also encountered push back throughout the years. Despite this we continue to develop and teach new general education courses to make sure that students at DePaul have access to technology-focused courses regardless of their major. I hope that 10 years from now we will be only one of many computing colleges/schools/departments that do this.