How We Got Here

The BU Hub is a collective vision of general education built upon the combined efforts of the Boston University community of faculty, staff, and students. Here you will find an overview of its origins.

Historical Context

Boston University’s founding president William Fairfield Warren was dedicated to global engagement, lifelong learning, and uniting the liberal arts and sciences with professional training—commitments that still animate undergraduate education at BU today and form the basis of the BU Hub, the first University-wide general education program.

Developing Strategic Priorities for BU Undergraduate Education

  • The 2007 Strategic Plan laid out a series of recommendations for bolstering the BU undergraduate experience. It emphasized the need to better integrate the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of General Studies with the professional schools while enabling students to manage their academic and cocurricular activities.
  • The 2007 Strategic Plan also recommended the adoption of One BU, which aims to encourage cooperative work across departments, schools, and colleges.
  • The 2015 Refreshed Strategic Plan refined the University’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and to “a common and compelling vision for the general education of the upcoming generation of students.”

Creating the Task Force on General Education

  • November 2014: the University Provost charged a group of 14 faculty members to develop an intellectual framework for a University-wide general education program. In consultation with constituencies across the University, the Task Force on General Education drafted a working paper, which identified a set of core capacities to equip BU graduates with so they can thrive in an interconnected world.
  • Fall 2015: the Task Force met with over 1,000 people in 36 meetings, including hundreds of faculty members across all schools and colleges, to gather feedback on the paper. BU faculty, staff, and students were invited to share their ideas—at these meetings and via email—and this feedback was discussed and incorporated into the Final Report of the Task Force on General Education.
  • Spring 2016: the report was submitted to the University Council (UC), the faculty governance body, for formal discussion and consideration. The report proposed a University-wide general education program of six capacities and their constitutive areas. It also proposed a pilot of the Cross-College Challenge (XCC), the BU Hub’s signature experience. After being vetted by the Faculty Council, the Council of Deans, and the UC Committee on Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policies, the report was unanimously approved, with one abstention, by the full University Council on May 11, 2016.

Implementing the BU Hub

  • August 2016: the University Provost established the Implementation Task Force in order to develop an implementation plan for the BU Hub. The Task Force oversaw six satellite committees (comprised of over 80 faculty and staff members) that developed an initial set of learning outcomes for the six capacities and their areas, from which the Task Force drafted requirements for students. These were then circulated among the undergraduate schools and colleges and other members of the University community for discussion and feedback. The requirements and outcomes were then revised.
  • Four additional satellite committees, along with the subcommittees of the Task Force, developed plans for other aspects of the implementation, including operations, advising, assessment, and the pilot of the Cross-College Challenge (XCC).
  • March 2017: the Task Force distributed the Faculty Guide, a comprehensive set of requirements, learning outcomes, recommendations for course development, and resources. The guide has been periodically revised to reflect the feedback of faculty and staff. Faculty then began revising and developing courses for inclusion in the Hub.
  • July 2017: the University Council General Education Committee (GEC) was established in accordance with the University Council Constitution to review and approve the courses and cocurricular learning experiences that comprise the BU Hub. In its first year, the committee (composed of 21 faculty members) reviewed some 600 course and cocurricular proposals and published a series of interpretive documents on the program.
  • September 2017: BU Hub staff moved into offices in the George Sherman Union. By early 2018, the BU Hub had eight full-time staff, a faculty director, and a faculty fellow, along with temporary and student employees and the support of the Center for Teaching & Learning. Their combined charge is to direct, organize, and support the implementation efforts—from advising to course development to operational efforts to building up the XCC pilot to developing preapproved cocurricular learning experiences.
  • April 2018: BU Hub website launched to support students and offer a single source of information and guidance for general education at BU.
  • Fall 2018: the BU Hub welcomes its first freshman class.