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Fall 2021

Eighth Edition

The Pathways Community: Living the Mission of General Education

I am continuously inspired by members of the Pathways community.

I am inspired by faculty like Dr. Rebecca Hester who is working to bring her own transdisciplinary real-world experiences, perspectives, and passions to students. By developing a Pathways Minor in Displacement Studies, Dr. Hester hopes students will examine their own connection to displacement both globally and right here on the Virginia Tech campus. And as evidenced by this year’s Pathways grantees list, she is not alone in developing exciting and challenging new courses and minors on such timely topics as technology ethics, environmental justice, COVID-19, food, and even death.

I am inspired by instructors like Meg Emori who continue to develop new innovative ways to engage students in the classroom, particularly in the virtual environment. Instead of providing students with the typical final exam study guide, Dr. Emori challenged her students to work through digital “escape rooms” to review important biology material while also solving puzzles, placing science in its sociocultural context, and taking a journey around the world.

I am inspired by each of the more than 200 instructors, advisors, administrators, staff, and students who came together for this year’s Summer Institute in May. Through student and faculty panels, plenaries, workshops, and discussion groups, attendees were challenged to face the real, lived experiences of members of our community before taking steps to achieve Inclusive Excellence campus-wide.

I am inspired every time I meet with the Pathways committees, collaborate with our student interns like Renn Kennedy that support the program, and sit in on workshops (e.g. Ethical Reasoning Workshop) surrounded by colleagues that care about our students and improving the learning experience for students.

I’m inspired to do and be better. I hope as you read these stories, you’re inspired as well.

Stephen Biscotte
Director of General Education




  • General Item
    Flipping the Script

    When Virginia Tech shifted to online teaching during the Spring 2020 semester, biology instructor Meg Emori found herself trying to teach students spread across 11 time zones. Her solution? Build engagement with digital escape rooms.


  • General Item
    The Pathways Grants for the 2021 and 2022 Academic Year

    We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients of Pathways Grants. The grants are awarded to individuals or teams of faculty members to design or redesign courses and minors. Recipients then work throughout the year as an interdisciplinary cohort to contribute to the university and the dialogue on teaching and learning in general education.


  • General Item
    The 2021 Summer Institute

    Conference offers ‘meaningful dialogue towards actionable change’ as faculty prepared for a return to in-person learning and the most diverse first-year class in the university’s history.


  • General Item
    Meet Renn Kennedy

    Q + A with Renn Kennedy, a senior in the Creative Technologies program and communications intern at Undergraduate Education


Thank you!

The Office of General Education would like to recognize the members of the Pathways General Education Curriculum Review Committee for their ongoing contributions in reviewing proposed courses and minors. We sincerely thank the members of the 2020 - 2021 Pathways General Education Curriculum Review Committee:

  • Kim Carlson, Chair, Pamplin College of Business
  • Chad Bolding, College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Alex Brand, University Curriculum Committee
  • Matt Eick, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Xinghau Gao, College of Engineering
  • Gebre Gebremarium, College of Science
  • Katlyn Griffin, University Libraries
  • Kevin Jones, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Kerry Redican, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Nick Sano-Franchini, University Studies
  • Annie Ronan, University Curriculum Committee for General Education
  • Hannah Shinault, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • James Wilson, University Curriculum Committee for General Education
  • Gary Costello and the staff at the Office of the University Registrar
  • Anna Taylor, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Robert Jordan Jacks, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Tracy Sebring, College of Engineering
  • Lisa Kathleen Burns, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Cathy Barker, College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Michel Pleimling, College of Science
  • Julia Acton, Pamplin College of Business
  • Sara Vandyke, University Honors

Save the Date!

Ethical Reasoning Workshop
Undergraduate Education is offering two-hour workshops on how to incorporate Ethical Reasoning into your Pathways course.

Please join your fellow Pathways instructors and program administrators for a workshop session designed to help you integrate the Ethical Reasoning Pathways concept into your course. Come with your syllabus, an assessment (or an assessment idea), and your questions. An ethics scholar, a teaching and learning specialist, and an assessment expert will be on hand to provide feedback.

The workshop is open to anyone teaching Ethical Reasoning, but will be especially useful to those integrating ethics into a course for the first time or those looking for guidance on creating well-aligned assessments.

When: Friday, November 19, 10:00 AM to Noon
Where: 3310 Torgeson Hall
Worth: 2 TLOS PDN credits
Registration: Register through TLOS for the November 19 session

A short video presentation (22 minutes) on Ethics Integration is a prerequisite for the workshop unless you have previously attended an Integrating Ethics in the Classroom workshop. The video presentation will be available on the workshop's Canvas site upon registration.

This event is sponsored by the Office of General Education and will be facilitated by Hannah Wildman Short of the Department of Philosophy, Liesl Baum of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Molly Hall from Institutional Effectiveness.