Core part of the mission

Jessie Hellmann

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While the “University core curriculum task force” may sound like a league of superheroes hovering around the campus, it is a committee formed specifically for revising the core curriculum that has been in place at USI for 18 years. 


The process took about four months. The task force is comprised of 16 members: 14 university employees and two students all with the goal of revising the current core curriculum. 

Michael Dixon is co-chair of the task force, as well as one of the assistant deans of the college of liberal arts. He said the inspiration for the new proposed core was the university’s mission statement and strategic plan. 

“There were several areas within the mission statement that aren’t really achieved in the existing core,” he said. 

He said the task force wanted to better prepare students for the 21st century. 

“We certainly saw in the universities mission statement and strategic plan an emphasis on living wisely in a globally diverse world,” he said. 

The current core exposes students to the global world, but the task force wanted to add a greater emphasis. 

Jordan Whiteledge, Student Government Association president and member of the task force, said SGA did a survey at the end of the 2010-2011 school year about the core curriculum. The results of the survey indicated that most students didn’t know if they were pursuing a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees. 

This is one issue the task force aims to fix in the proposed core.

 Dixon said the task force wanted to create a core that focused on the differentiation between a bachelor of arts degree and a bachelor of science degree.

In the proposed core, a student aiming to complete a bachelor of arts degree would take nine hours of world languages and three hours of lab science. For students working towards their bachelor of science degrees students would complete nine hours of math and science, and three hours of humanities and world cultures.

 Whiteledge said another goal was to condense the number of hours required in the core. The task force broke the core down from 50 to 41 required hours. The new core curriculum is still in its revision stage, and is now seeking feedback from faculty and students. 

“I think a lot of the faculty were worried about what this would do to their department or what it would do to their college with enrollment numbers,” Whiteledge said.

If the revised core is approved, it will be implemented the fall of 2013. The task force also wanted to make students more aware of what classes they are taking with the core, instead of the common attitude of taking core classes early to “get them out of the way.” 

Dixon said the task force wanted to incorporate verticality into the revised core.“In other words, something that’s not achieved primarily within the first two years of a students progress, but something that’s spanned across the entire four year experience,” he said.

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