By Lauren Grimaldi
The incoming Fall 2018 freshman class at Roosevelt will have a new set of general education requirements. Similar to the Academic Community of Practice (ACP) courses required of all current students, this new curriculum will aim to improve student experience at the university.
Continuing students will be able to fulfill any remaining ACP courses by taking certain classes under the new curriculum. Students registering for Fall 2018 will not see options for ACP courses on the fall schedule, but they can meet their requirements by taking the new courses. Current students should consult with their academic advisors to ensure they are correctly fulfilling any remaining requirements.
CORE features five main competencies including civic and social engagement, inquiry, analysis and decision-making, literacy and communication, personal and social awareness and integrated learning.
Chris Chulos, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that the idea to create a new curriculum was started by Provost Lois Becker about two years ago.
“One of her priorities was the general education requirements, which hadn’t been touched in quite awhile,” Chulos said.
Chulos said that Becker appointed a committee of faculty to look at the current curriculum and consider ways to improve it.
“She wanted us to revise the core so that students leave here with a sense of Roosevelt’s identity,” Chulos said.
He notes that Becker was also interested in incorporating experiential learning into general education requirements at Roosevelt, as well as the development of an e-portfolio for each student. The e-portfolio is designed to give students a chance to save their work as their undergraduate career continues on.
Additionally, Chulos said Provost Becker instructed the committee to make general education something that lasts throughout a student’s four years of undergraduate education rather than the traditional idea of those courses being finished by the end of year two.
“It’s not just these isolated courses and say let’s get them out of the way,” Chulos said. “General education should be something you also want to do.”
The committee said they consulted with other faculty, students and staff when making decisions to create the new requirements when creating the new CORE. After months of further developing the base of the curriculum, Chulos said that the new requirements were approved by the faculty senate in November of 2017.
They chose the five competencies by reflecting on current measures the university takes to educate its students outside of their designated major.
“The revision was to make it clearer to students, faculty, parents, employers and everyone else what these classes add up to mean,” Amanda Wornhoff, assistant provost for core curriculum and assessment, said.
Wornhoff said that students often feel that general education requirements are something to get out of the way, but that the university wanted to make it clearer to students that general education requirements in addition to the necessary classes for their major will help them leave the university with an ability to do what they desire.
“They really wanted to think about what our students are bringing to their employers, to grad school and to the world once they get out of here,” Wornhoff said.
Associate Provost of Student Success Katrina Coakley said it was important for the committee to make the new curriculum friendly to the university’s many transfer students. Coakley said the new curriculum will allow for transfer students to become involved in the university’s mission by giving them the chance to partake in these new courses. She said that school hopes to give transfer students an opportunity to learn about Roosevelt’s mission.
Coakley mentioned that all students at the university will be able partake in the new ‘Ideas’ courses regardless of their previous credits. The committee believes that this will allow for students to crossover to other fields of study and work with others in different academic colleges.
“I’m very excited about the ‘Ideas’ course and the open option that allows faculty to either collaborating with faculty in different colleges or coming up with new ideas for their own disciplines,” Coakley said.
While the common requirements of Roosevelt’s former core curriculum such as mathematics and science remain, the “Ideas Across Disciplines” courses are among the new options that the curriculum will give to students under CORE.
These courses will be newly created by professors and aim to get students actively involved with the material they’re learning about while integrating the five competencies into the curriculum.
They said that CORE will provide students with a more enriched and diverse academic background. They believe that the new curriculum will help students and faculty from all fields of study come together and learn from each other.
“I think the faculty are going to feel another level of engagement and excitement,” Coakley said. “Anytime the faculty is excited it automatically makes the student experience that much more positive.”
Chulos said he believes students will feel the new curriculum is more logical and applicable to the real world.
“I think that for students and their parents, they’ll see a connection between what you do at college which is right now under a lot of reconsideration and criticism,” Chulos said.
As an alum of Roosevelt, Wornhoff believes the new curriculum will help Roosevelt show students what makes their education at the university special.
“I know how special we are,” Wornhoff said. “Part of what I wanted with this revision was to make really clear to ourselves and to others what it is that we do really well.”