New mosaic program helps students make sense of their GE classes

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BYU’s new mosaic program encourages students to make purposeful general education class decisions. Students often say they want to take GE courses to quickly get them out of the way, but the university hopes to change this mindset.

“My hope is the mosaics will help students look at their GE courses not as disconnected classes, but integrate classes around a theme of interests to them,” said Phil Rash, director of freshman mentoring.

The Office of General Education hopes students will not take random GE courses but use their GE courses to work for their future goals. The new mosaic program groups GE courses into unique themed categories called mosaics. For example, a student who served his mission in Mexico, is majoring in psychology and interested in a career in international healthcare, might want to complete the Understanding Societies and Cultures mosaic.

The university hopes that students take advantage of their educations by broadening some of their courses.

Heather Hammond, assistant dean for the Office of First-Year Experience, believes students should be well-rounded individuals. She suggested the GE program can help with this.

“You want to be able to talk about anything,” Hammond said.

Deborah Dean, associate dean of undergraduate education, hopes the mosaics will not be tied to students’ majors but rather enhance their overall educational experience.

“Mosaics shouldn’t be the major but (should) add meaning to your major,” Dean said. “The idea of a mosaic will make you think differently of the choice you can make to enhance your education.”

Students need to complete all of the GE classes under the mosaic of their choice in order to complete the mosaic. Once the students have completed the mosaic, they will fill out the form on the general education website and the university will reply to them with an official letter. Students can give this letter to future employers and graduate schools to show that they were purposeful in choosing certain classes.

There are currently 11 themed mosaics, including Artistic Engagement, Diversity and Globalization. Faculty can introduce new themed mosaics to the Office of General Education.

For more information, visit ge.byu.edu and click on the mosaic link.

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