Posts Tagged ‘General Education’

The New Proposed Curriculum Fails

May 10, 2017

I told you a couple of weeks ago about how I was nearing the end of a 4-year process on building a new curriculum. We had the vote last week, and we lost: the faculty decided to reject the proposed curriculum. We lost by five votes (if we had only changed three people’s minds! Actually, I am not sure if I would have wanted the curriculum to pass by one vote—I don’t want 50% of the people unhappy).

This is disappointing, but the people have spoken. There may be a tiny bit of hope for the curriculum, though: I talked to several people (at least three, which would be enough for it to pass) who wanted more details about a separate, but related, distribution requirement that will be decided in the fall. So it is possible that the Faculty Senate will decide to resurrect the curriculum after the distribution requirement is settled, but there is no guarantee of that.

That is the bad news. The good news is that a lot of my time has just been freed up over the next couple of years.

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New General Education Curriculum

April 24, 2017

I haven’t been writing much up until now because I have been in the middle of creating a new general education curriculum at our school. This is year-four of the process, so we have put quite a bit of work into this. We are in the middle of a five-day discussion period, followed by a five-day voting period on whether to adopt the proposed curriculum. Our current general education curriculum is a pure distribution requirement, where students take

  • a two-semester writing seminar in their first year
  • one Mathematics course
  • one Natural Science course
  • one Social Science course
  • one Fine Arts course
  • two Humanities courses
  • two Theology courses (I am at a Catholic school)
  • one Ethics course
  • one Gender course
  • one Intercultural course
  • one Experiential Learning course
  • a capstone course within the major

The Gender, Intercultural, and Experiential Learning courses can be double-counted with other courses; that is, a course could count as both Humanities and Gender.

There are many reasons why our Senate decided to explore changing the curriculum. Historically, very few people were happy with the way our current curriculum was decided upon in 2005ish (I was not at my current school then). Additionally, many feel that these courses occur in isolation, and the students are not given any opportunity to see how they are related.

Here is a link to the website of our proposed curriculum. This was a huge amount of work, and roughly 1/6 of our faculty ended up working on it in some capacity. It is safe to say that this curriculum is no individual’s ideal curriculum, but rather a result of considering 300 faculty members’ needs and desires for their students.

We are happy with this curriculum, although I have no idea how the vote will go. Many people have come out both in favor of it and many people have come out against it. If this does not pass, we (my school, not me in particular) will have to spend a couple of years revising our curriculum to get it up to snuff (many of the current outcomes are unable to be assessed, for instance).