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General Education Modification (GEM) Committee

General Education Modification (GEM) Committee

The General Education Curriculum at Berea College has not undergone comprehensive review since its implementation in 2006. After 14 years and many small and incremental adjustments, it is time to consider a more comprehensive review and possible revision of the curriculum. Besides needing to address the normal “drift” of a curriculum over time, this move is important, as many faculty members have joined the College since 2006 and have little grounding in the history and rationale behind the current curriculum. Broad and deep campus conversations about the goals, nature, and structure of General Studies at Berea College promise to revitalize the curriculum and develop energizing dialogues among faculty about teaching and learning. The General Education Modification (GEM) Committee was formed to complete this task of a thorough review and modification of the General Education program. To learn more about the charge of our group, please refer to the documents below (note: you may have to log in using credentials to see these documents).

Members of GEM

  • Eileen McKiernan-Gonzalez, Associate Provost
  • Kristen Barnard, Representative of Division I; Expert in Quantitative Reasoning
  • Nancy Gift, Representative of Division II
  • Melody Srsic, Representative of Division III
  • Amrita Mishra, Representative of Division IV
  • Jarrod Brown, Representative of Division V
  • Jon Saderholm, Representative of Division VI
  • Rochelle Arms Almengor, Expert in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
  • Rebecca Bates, Advocate for Writing and the Teaching of Writing
  • Jarrod Sipple, SGA Student Representative
  • Sam Cole, Staff Support

GEM Guiding Documents

New Gen. Ed Curriculum Implementation Teams

Team 1 – Learning & Inquiry 1 & 2; Writing Rich Competency

Learning & Inquiry 1 (Explorations)

Focuses on “scholarly practices,” interdisciplinary exploration, and communication skills

Learning & Inquiry 2 (Discoveries)

Focuses on conducting documentary research and writing

Writing Rich Competency

Students will be required to complete two WR (writing rich) courses. These courses would complement the writing instruction in core courses. These courses may be from any discipline, and may be completed through major courses, values courses, or ways of knowing courses.


XT Hong (MUS – Div. IV)

Maria Taylor (Library)

Chris Lakes (SST)

Amy Nichols (CTL)

Sandy Williams (HHP – Div. III)

Lauren Ballou (BIO – Div. I)

Jesse Montgomery (ENG – Div. IV)

Sarah Adams (Gen. Ed.)

Team 2 – Learning & Inquiry 3

This course uses Berea’s Great Commitments as a foundation to orient students toward an understanding of intersectional justice in the United States.


Chris Green (Appalachian Studies – Div. VI)

John Heyrman (Political Science – Div. V)

Penelope Wong (EDU – Div. VI)

Patrick Burrows (REL – Div. VI)

Team 3 – Learning & Inquiry 4

A course on research-based team problem solving.


Caryn Vazzana (BUS – Div. II)

Alison Heck (PSY – Div. III)

Mary Parr (ANR – Div. II)

Team 4 – Beyond The Borders Value; Internationally Rich Competency

Beyond the Borders

Courses that promote a deeper understanding of the human world and encourage a sense of global citizenship by exploring the perspectives and ways of life of societies and cultures that extend beyond the national borders of the United States.

Internationally Rich

Each student should be required to take one Internationally Rich (IR) course. This competency can be fulfilled by courses in any discipline (including those that fulfill other competencies or Values) or a Study Abroad experience (college approved experience may be credit or non-credit bearing) whether a course, research project, or experiential learning opportunity.


Mireille Pardon (HIS – Div. V)

Michael Litzau (ART – Div. V)

Teresa Clifton (Foreign Language – Div. IV)

Mary-Reginal Anibueze (REL – Div. VI)

Team 5 – Holistic Wellness Value

Requires students to take one full-credit holistic wellness-related course, one term, any time during the student’s (four) years at Berea. The full-credit, single term course will replace the current two-semester sequence. The Health and Human Performance (HHP) department will design a comprehensive holistic course with the intended audience of freshmen and sophomores.


Lisa Turner (NUR – Div. I)

Neil Mecham (CFS – Div. III)

Michael Dalessio (HHP – Div. III)

Team 6 – Power & Equity Value

This Value highlights the importance of thinking critically about the ways that structures of power have continued to shape the world around us, especially through their production of and reproduction of inequities. At the same time, this value invites students to explore the ways that marginalized communities across the world have resisted and dismantled such structures of power in the struggle for liberation, equity, and power.


Bobby Starnes (GST – Div. VI)

Andrea Woodward (SOC – Div. III)

Volker Grzimek (BUS – Div. II)

Michelle Thornton Adler (HHP – Div. III)

Team 7 – Seeking Meaning Value

Intended to help students develop an appreciation for the variety of human values through the systematic study of the histories, traditions, institutions, ideas, or applications of ethical, religious, and spiritual systems.


Duane Smith (REL – Div. VI)

Jim Butler (PHI – Div. V)

Beth Crachiolo (ENG – Div. IV)

Team 8 – Sustainability Value

Sustainability is about achieving balance among environment, equity, and economy. It can be approached from multiple fields, even though many people tend to assume that sustainability is just about the environment.


Laura Seroka (COM – Div. IV)

Dan Feinberg (ETAD – Div. II)

Sarah Hall (ANR – Div. II)

Suzanne Birner (GEO – Div. I)

Team 9 – Quantitatively Rich Competency

We define “quantitatively rich” as a course that can create evidence of performance of three or more of the six abilities. (Note: these six abilities are laid out in the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GEM proposal, on pages 20-21.)


Gary Thornsberry (THR – Div. IV)

Wei Wu (ETAD – Div. II)

Tracy Hodge (PHY – Div. I)

Nancy Sowers (BUS – Div. II)

Want to see other documents or resources on this page? Have any questions or concerns about the work of GEM? If so, please contact Sam Cole (; 859-985-3489).