New changes to university Interdisciplinary Core requirements

Jacquelyn Voghel, Editor-in-Chief

Nearly every student is required to take Core 101 through Core 105 as part of the university’s Interdisciplinary Core requirements; however, in upcoming academic years, students may see their options expand.

The General Education Curriculum and Planning Committee has voted to affirm a proposal that could allow for additional courses to substitute for the current Core offerings. The proposal has already been passed by both the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee and the full Faculty Senate, and is currently awaiting a signature from the Provost.

“[The proposal] doesn’t immediately change anything at all,” said Associate Dean of General Education Jason Jacobs. “It authorizes a process. The process would be for us to build systems for evaluating courses that are not existing as Core 101 through Core 105 to see if they meet the same learning outcomes.”

Under this system, faculty would be encouraged to propose courses that might qualify as alternatives to the current Core offerings, which would then be evaluated to ensure that they meet the same learning outcomes as the Five Course Interdisciplinary Core classes.

Students would likely not be able to register for classes approved as Core alternatives until the 2019-2020 academic year.

Because the Core courses are designed to be interdisciplinary, most introductory level courses will likely not qualify as alternatives, Jacobs said. However, courses such as Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies or Introduction to Latin American and Latino Studies may be considered, as they are more interdisciplinary in nature.

Under the current proposal, students would not be able to count any Core substitutions toward their primary major requirements, although these courses would be able to be counted toward a secondary major, minor, or Core Concentration.

With this proposed curriculum change, Jacobs hopes to “expand the range of options” available to students. Because current Core classes can also vary greatly depending on which professors teach them, Jacobs believes that the change would also allow students to more easily locate courses that they are excited about.

After being hired as the Associate Dean of General Education, Jacobs noticed a recurring theme among students he spoke with: many did not look forward to taking Core classes, and even those who did enjoy the courses didn’t like that they were requirements.

“It became very clear to me that the status [of Core classes] was quite low,” Jacobs said. “Students mainly saw Core classes as something they had to do, and a lot of students felt like they wished they didn’t have to do it.”

Senior Lianna Gerardi said that, had the opportunity been available, she would have “definitely” been interested in having different options for fulfilling the Core requirement.

“I did end up liking some of [the Core courses] because of the professor or the structure of the course, but overall they were definitely something I wanted out of the way,” Gerardi said.

If the proposed process is authorized, Jacob hopes that students will ultimately approach their general education requirements with more eagerness to learn.