Ryan Bartelmay

Dean, General Education and Student Learning

Phuong Thai-Garcia

Assistant Program Director, General Education

Our Stance

We believe general education courses should:

  • be relevant to students’ futures,
  • integrate learning into students’ programs of study (i.e. majors),
  • be contextualized into real-world topics and situations.


The general education courses make up about one-third of students’ course load. In the new general education program, students will take 48 credit hours (12 courses) for a Bachelor of Arts Degree and 24 credit hours (6 courses) for an Associate of Applied Science Degree. Unlike at other institutions, students at Kendall take general education classes throughout their career at the college, so it’s common for students to enroll in one or two general education course each quarter. Typically, as you probably know and probably experienced when you were an undergraduate, general education courses are completed within the first two years of college (Freshman and Sophomore years), and these course not only develop cross-cutting skills, like written and oral communication, they allow students to sample various liberal arts disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

The mission of general education is two-fold: 1) the courses develop cross-cutting and foundational skills (communication, critical thinking, information literacy, and quantitative literacy), and 2) they expose students to broad knowledge, topics and information that are outside of their major program. This is a common mission that general education programs throughout the U.S. share.  

The New General Education Program

The 18-minute video provides information about the problem the new general education program addresses and provides an overview of the new program, its clusters and courses.


The Clusters

The new general education program consists of 12 courses (48 credit hours) for Bachelor of Arts degrees and 6 courses (24 credit hours) for Associate of Applied Science degrees. The courses are organized into four clustered themes (The Citizen, The Professional, The Globalist, The Leader), with three courses in each cluster. 

Horizontal Alignment

Each cluster explores the cluster theme from multiple disciplines within the broad knowledge areas: humanities, science and math, and social science. We’ve organized the interdisciplinary approach of each cluster into three horizontal bands. Each horizontal band of four courses uses disciplines within a single broad knowledge area to explore the cluster theme. 


Furthermore, the courses use the horizontal bands to develop cross-cutting skills. This way the courses strive to contextualize skill development within the themed, broad knowledge courses rather than have standalone skill courses like composition, math, and speech. For example, the four humanities courses (KCC 101, KCC 104, KCC 207, and KCC 310) develop written and oral communication and information literacy, so each course will having learning outcomes both in broad knowledge and in cross-cutting skills.

Check out this clip from the video explaining the integration of the cross-cutting skills into the broad knowledge areas. 


Vertical Alignment

The vertical alignment of the curriculum relies on the three courses’ exploration of the cluster theme (The Citizen, The Professional, The Globalist, The Leader). We’ve used a curricular goal (the action we want the student to be able to do after completing the three courses) to unify the three courses in each cluster.

The Citizen

Students will evaluate their citizenship in the various communities in which they belong.

The Professional

Students will propose solutions to resolve the cultural and professional tensions between workers (the individual) and employers.                 

The Globalist

Students will determine the impact of the global interconnectedness of economic, political, and cultural institutions on the individual and the communities of which the individual is a part.

The Leader

Students will judge various leaders’ traits and styles and recommend the most effective traits and styles for having a positive and productive impact on local, global, and professional communities.                                                                                                                                               

Faculty Role

As you can see, we’re making significant changes to the general education curriculum. You may remember the Yammer conversation from February 2016 about this project. In that conversation, I solicited your feedback on our current model, and we brainstormed and discussed alternative general education models. The new model was born out of that conversation.

At this point, the curriculum is conceptual—the vertical and horizontal alignment, even the courses (the course descriptions are below, by the way). We will begin phasing the program into existence beginning Winter 2017, and as we phase in the new curriculum, we’ll be phasing out the old general education courses. 

Phase-in and Phase-out Timeline

Phase-in and Phase-out Timeline

Please know: just because we’re phasing out a class that you’re currently teaching does not mean we will not be having you teach Kendall College students. We want you to continue teaching for us. But, we want you to teach the new courses. We realize that this will make some faculty uncomfortable, since we’re asking them to teach interdisciplinary courses where they’ll be teaching content and skills that are a little outside their comfort zone. We will be supporting you while you’re teaching these courses. We will create teaching handbooks for these courses, host training sessions for instructors teaching a new courses, and provide instructors with a mentor. Furthermore, we will be inviting those of you with academic backgrounds relevant to specific new courses to consult on the development of the new courses. Lastly, as the course and program development progresses, we will provide the entire faculty with updates about the progress.

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about the new General Education Program, contact the Dean of General Education, Ryan Bartelmay. Email him, phone him, or stop by his office. 

The Delivery of the New Program

Enrollment Policy

The General Education Program is a sequential program, meaning its design requires students to take the courses in sequence. Students will begin with the first course in a cluster and continue to take the courses in order until they complete the program. Students are allowed to take two, but no more than two, courses concurrently (in the same quarter). The two courses must be adjacent to each other in the sequence. For example, students may take course KCC 101 and KCC 102 during the same quarter or another example: KCC 106 and KCC 207. However, students are not allowed to take KCC 101 and KCC 103 concurrently or KCC 106 and KCC 208. Therefore, when taking two general education courses concurrently, if a student fails or withdraws from one general education course, the student will need to successfully complete that course before continuing the General Education Program sequence. For example, if a student is enrolled in KCC 101 and KCC 102 and the student withdraws from KCC 101 and successfully completes KCC 102, the student will need to enroll in and successfully complete KCC 101 before enrolling in KCC 103. 

Transfer Guidelines

As mentioned in the enrollment policy, new students to the college will start with the first course in a cluster (KCC 101, KCC 104, KCC 207, or KCC 310), depending on transfer credit. Students will continue to enroll in general education courses sequentially until they finish the program. Students starting in a cluster beyond the first cluster (The Citizen) must receive credit for an entire cluster. Students are not allowed to start in the second or third course of a cluster. The Office of Admissions will review each student's transcripts and award transfer credit appropriately.

Even though the Office of Admissions audits each student’s transcript on a case by case basis to award transfer credit, there are four standard exemptions.

  • Students holding a Bachelor degree from an accredited college or university are exempt from The General Education Program.
  • Students holding an Associates of Arts (AA) or Associates of Science (AS) degree from an accredited college or university are only required to take The Leader cluster.
  • Students holding an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) degree from an accredited college or university are only required to take The Globalist and The Leader clusters.
  • Students who transfer from a Laureate Network college or university as a fourth-year transfer student are only required to take The Leader cluster.

The Courses

Each course in the new program is an interdisciplinary course, and the course is unique to Kendall College. Below is a list of all the courses. Click on each title to see the course description.

The Citizen Cluster


KCC 101—Seeking Selfie: Exploring Identity in the 21st Century

Who are you and what made you the person you are today? In this course, the first course of the Citizen Cluster, you will explore who you are and how you came to be that person. We will also seek to name the communities, from local to global, which comprise us. We will examine culture and communities as components of personal identity, such as age, race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and how these components of identity evolve over time. How changeable are your identities, and to what extents are identities constructed by parental and peer influences and nature?

KCC 102—Mindset Matters: Your Brain and You

This course, the second course in the Citizen Cluster, uses unique problem solving scenarios to launch a scientific analysis of your individual thought processes. From there, we will introduce the psychology and physiology of growth and fixed mindsets. Across several case studies, we will practice identifying and analyzing approaches to problem solving that other accomplished individuals have employed throughout their career. Students will then turn inward to study and reflect upon instances from their own lives when they landed upon different spots on the mindset spectrum. Finally, we will create a personal plan to apply growth mindset as a citizen.

KCC 103—Making a Difference in a Difficult World

What is important to you and how does it motivate you? During this course, the third and final course of The Citizen Cluster, you will articulate what is important to you and why, as a way to better understand what motivates your behaviors and actions. We will examine contemporary social issues, how they evolve, and their impact on you and the world. Lastly, you will take the first steps towards influencing and promoting change within various communities.

The Professional Cluster



How close is what you do to who you are? In this course, the first course in The Professional Cluster, we will examine who you are at work—the kinds of work you do and the kinds of work you want to do. We will ask you to think about the choices you might be faced with by your career—choices having to do with your career, but also choices about your life outside of your career. Lastly, we will put work in time, investigating how work has changed, but also forecasting how it might (for example, robots or artificial intelligence), all of which will position you for your future career.

KCC 105—Billfold to Boardroom: The Financially Prepared Professional

The foundation of this course, the second course of The Professional Cluster, will provide you an overview of consumer and financial problem solving. From there, the course will challenge you to investigate financial decision-making within a business or other organization and how those professional decisions have consequences across various communities. Throughout the course, we will tackle real-world financial issues like corporate responsibility, the time value of money, probability and risk assessment, and predictive analysis.

KCC 106—Risky Business: Balancing Identity and Tension

This course, the third and final course of The Professional Cluster, will examine professional identity, both workers and corporations. Have you ever wondered about the reasons for the 40-hour work week in the United States, the gender pay gap, the divide between the corporate haves and the have-nots, sweatshops or labor unions? We will discuss both current and historic struggles of laborers to receive recognition and rights worldwide. We will also discuss ways contemporary, global businesses have fostered and maintained their corporate identity and how this has impacted their bottom line and society. Of course, tensions result in the wake of the relationships between workers and the businesses that employ them and the relationships between businesses and consumers. Throughout, we'll examine those tensions and the ethical implications in the ways they have been (or are being) resolved.

The Globalist Cluster


KCC 207—You Are the World

How do you navigate your identity in an interconnected, global world? In an increasingly "borderless" world the decisions and actions made by countries, corporations, and cultures have an impact on you. In this class, the first class in The Globalist Cluster, we'll examine your role in a global world and the ways you balance your individual, national, and global identities. We will also identify various institutions (political, economic, and cultural), and you'll explain their impact on you and your life.

KCC 208—The Butterfly Effect

It has been said that a butterfly flapping its wings in Chicago can cause a typhoon in Southeast Asia. In this course, the second course in The Globalist Cluster, we will explore this phenomenon as it applies to a variety of notable scientific topics. We will analyze the impact human action has on the environment and ecosystems, and how the effects of these actions have crossed political, cultural, and geographic borders.

KCC 209—Global Ripples: Diving into the World

In this course, the third and final course in The Globalist Cluster, we will get up close and personal with the ripple-effects of globalism across various communities within the societal hierarchy. In an increasingly globalized world, cultures are colliding and combining in new ways. This offers us the opportunity to reflect on assumptions about borders—how they're made, are they real or imagined, who decides where they're located, and in what ways they are defended.

The Leader Cluster


KCC 310—Stepping Forward: Making a Leader

What makes a leader? In this course, the first course in The Leader Cluster, we will investigate the role of the leader—what it means to lead during specific periods of time and at specific places on the globe. We will examine those traits and attributes that make a good leader, but also trace how those have changed over time and due to historical circumstance. We will look at models for leadership, measuring successes and failures, and then anticipate leadership values in the 21st century. By the end of the course, you will better understand that there is not just one kind of leader and that there is a place in the world for a leader like you.

KCC 311—Scaling up: Thinking by the Thousands

Is the decision you make in your work today the correct decision to make in five years? Your day-to-day experiences are valuable data for you as an individual; but for a competitive business, or an efficient organization, the truly valuable data is scaled up to the thousands (and beyond!). Thousands of customers. Thousands of products. Thousands of times, measurements, dates, and descriptions. Within this flood of big data, patterns and trends can emerge. In this course, the second course of The Leader Cluster, we aim to train the careful eye of a leader, one that is capable of seeing and describing these trends from among the data. We work through ways in which this ability to observe, understand, and communicate trends in big data can be a positive asset for a leader who is focused on making the decisions that can pay off not just today, but five years down the road as well.

KCC 312—The Steps and Missteps of Leadership

Why are some leaders respected and admired, able to leave behind many accomplishments, while others are not? This third and final course of The Leader cluster focuses on leaders in their professions—leaders in the worlds of Culinary, Hospitality, Business, and Education, leaders you will look up to as you make your way in your careers. We will inquire as to the particular styles of these leaders and how these styles have reflected the values of a society. Great leaders affect not only their professions, however, but also their societies, so we will examine how a leader does this, what style of leadership this requires. We will also investigate the other side of leadership, the mistakes and missteps made, and the impact those have had on not only the leaders themselves, but the people who work for them, and various other communities. Finally, this course will prompt reflection upon your own leadership style as you take the first steps into your chosen profession.