New general education models coming to YSU

By Molly Burke / The Jambar

Youngstown State University’s Academic Senate unanimously approved the 2025-2026 general education model for students at a meeting March 13, building off of the 2024-2025 model.


Changes from 2024-2025

YSU’s public speaking requirement, fulfilled by a communication foundations course, was removed with the 2024-2025 model. It remains unrequired for 2025-2026, but colleges may decide to require the course for certain programs.

A senior capstone requirement was also removed for the 2024-2025 model and remains unrequired for 2025-2026.

Before 2024-2025, students were required to have two social and personal awareness credits. The 2024-2025 model instead requires three gen ed electives. Students could choose any three classes in math, natural science, arts and humanities, social sciences or a social and personal awareness class they were already taking. They could also take communication foundations.


Changes for 2025-2026

Different from the three gen ed electives in the 2024-25 model, the 2025-26 model allows programs to implement a “thematic micro credential certificate.” The certificate may be optional or required depending on the program.

Martha Pallante, vice chair of the Academic Senate and chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, said the micro credential will require students to choose a theme with three courses from different disciplines.

“It will be a group of three courses from a pre-selected list built around a theme. For example, it might be leadership, it might be ecology. It might be statistics mining, or data mining or something like that. The three courses should be from different programmatic codes, and they’ll come by a list prepared by the proposers,” Pallante said. “In most cases, there will be five or six courses that students can choose from.”

Students must receive a C or higher in their micro credential courses to get the certificate. Pallante said students studying an optional micro credential may count courses as gen eds if they do not get C’s or higher in the respective courses.

“Other special notations on your transcript, for example your major or minor, require a minimum of a C. Currently, general education courses in which you earn a D will count toward general education. The real difference will be if the student gets a D and wants to graduate anyway, they can use the course in gen ed and just not get the [thematic micro credential] certificate,” Pallante said.

Pallante said the themes are not set yet, but they will be proposed and approved by the Senate General Education Committee. She added there will likely be eight themes in the first iteration.

For all gen ed models, students must complete writing I, a math course and a natural science with a lab. Before 2025-2026, students were required to take an additional writing course, writing II. According to Pallante, the 2025-2026 model allows programs to replace the writing II course with a writing course that applies to a program’s disciplines.

“Students who are taking history and are in the humanities might take a writing for the humanities course instead of just [writing II]. Similarly, students who are doing engineering might benefit from a writing in the discipline course, [such as] writing for engineers or writing for sciences,” Pallante said.

Starting in the 2025-2026 model, social sciences will be referred to as social and behavioral sciences. For both this category and arts and humanities, students will still take two courses, respectively. However, the course must be from different disciplines. Depending on the program, students may have the option to count courses required for their majors.


Which model applies to who?

The 2025-2026 model may apply to current YSU students graduating after summer 2025 and undergraduate students enrolling or re-enrolling in fall 2025, spring 2026 and summer 2026.

The 2024-2025 model may apply to current YSU students graduating after summer 2024 and students enrolling or re-enrolling in fall 2024, spring 2025 and summer 2025.

Pallante said students will have the option to stay on their current gen ed path or switch to one of these models.

“Current students have basically two options: They can continue on the current general education model, or if it streamlines what they have to take they may opt to take the new one,” Pallante said. “I would recommend that current students see an advisor before fall of 2025 and talk with them about which model would be most advisable for them — which one would make their trip through the university most efficient.”


Why these changes?

Pallante said the changes were made based on mandates from YSU’s board of trustees and the Ohio Department of Education.

“Four or five years ago, the Ohio Department of Education introduced a series of reforms for general education at a state level for universities to streamline their education processes to make them more coherent and to, again, give them more meaning,” Pallante said. “The notion was very similar to our board of trustees. They ought to have greater meaning and greater coherence. That became a program called Ohio 36 and it constitutes the transfer module guaranteed by the state if you move from one state institution to the other.”