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General Education – Relevant for All

Aug 11, 2014

One of the advantages of National’s career-focused approach is that we cut down on the “fluff” – those liberal arts-based elective courses that, while valuable in their own right, don’t directly contribute to knowledge one would need in their chosen career field.  This, in turn, allows us to offer more courses aligned with a student’s major.

That doesn’t mean our curricula are devoid of intellectually-stimulating college coursework; indeed, all academic degree programs incorporate general education electives to help round out a student’s education.  The difference is that these courses are developed specifically with an eye toward how theory can be related to practice—usually in a manner that is of value in the workplace to students of any major.

Recently, Chuck Steenburgh, National’s vice president of communications, paid a visit to instructor Daniel Serban’s Ethics (ETH 205) class at the Fort Wayne Campus, where  he described the application of ethics in his role as National’s public relations chief.  “My profession takes a hit sometimes, because we’re accused of always portraying the bright side of things,” said Chuck.  “But you can’t establish a relationship with somebody if you’re not truthful with them…you can’t say things that aren’t true about the product or service you’re promoting.”  Chuck went on to point out how he and his staff publicly respond to student concerns that are posted on National’s Facebook pages or other public forums.

The class included students from a variety of academic majors, and several drew lessons relevant to their own field.  For example, the connection between professional competence and ethical behavior was noted by business administration—management student Jordan Lowe.  “You can’t really do a job to the best degree if you don’t have core knowledge about the exact job,” said Jordan.  Particularly when dealing with a customer, client, or patient who is relying on you for your expertise, professional competence is key to an ethical professional relationship.

Medical assisting student Alexandra Wyatt noted the strict ethical requirements of the medical field.  “[Patients’] privacy rights, and what you should or shouldn’t be able to speak to other people about,” she noted as an example of one consideration of health care ethics.

Courses like Ethics, Oral Communications, or Psychology may not seem relevant to one’s career field on the surface, but at National we’ve carefully developed our general education courses so they provide useful knowledge to students in any career field.  Just one more advantage of a National education!

A– Students in Daniel Serban’s Ethics class included Jordan Lowe (left) and Alexandra Wyatt (right)

B– Daniel Serban teaches Ethics class at the Fort Wayne Campus

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