Several years after its creation, CORE 210’s place in the university’s general education requirements is under evaluation.
A proposal to remove CORE 210 from the list of required courses passed the University Undergraduate Academic Council and University General Education Council panels in the past two weeks. The full faculty is set to vote on the proposal within the next month.
“The main change is being proposed to take the CORE 210 class and move it into the cultural awareness menu, and to take those three hours that are ‘freed up,’ as it were, by doing that, and have a historical literacy requirement be included,” said Greg Straughn, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Straughn, who presented the proposal to the faculty on Sept. 1, said the Department of History and Global Studies would potentially help design what one of the historical literacy classes would look like.
The proposal also moved to make the College of Bible Studies entirely responsible for the BCOR 310 class, because it is already part of the 15 required hours of Bible courses.
“It would be up to the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry to imagine how they would either keep that class or change it,” Straughn said. “One of the parts of the proposal is to move away from the team-teaching aspect of CORE 210 or BCOR 310 into a more traditionally single taught course.”
The team teaching, created as a way to highlight interdisciplinary nature of the courses, became too expensive for the university to maintain, Straughn said.
In fact, Joe Cardot said the restructuring is because the CORE hires were never fully and properly funded.
“It’s an issue that the university has to trim faculty,” said Cardot, former chair of the Faculty Senate and dean of the Department of Communication Sciences.
The CORE curriculum, created several years ago as a group of innovative, team-taught courses purposed to provide students interdisciplinary courses despite their diverse educational experiences, was not created in a rigid fashion. Instead, Cardot said it was always considered to be fluid and meant to be improved with each general education revision every three to five years.
In creating the curriculum, Cardot said a progression of classes in history was neglected. With the proposed change, the historical literacy requirement will bring that discipline back, something Cardot said he always regretted getting rid of.
Despite these structural changes, more things are staying the same than are changing. The general education requirements will remain at 56 hours, and a bachelor’s degree will require 128 hours.
Revisions to the number of hours were evaluated by a faculty review committee last spring and during the summer, but Straughn said it reversed the notion because faculty valued the education students receive in the hours they take here.
“We want a broad exposure that is a liberal arts model,” he said. “A broad exposure to all the different humanities, sciences and fine arts, and also what it means to be theologically formed and shaped with text courses, missional courses and courses that connect you and your vocation with theology. That’s part of who we are as an institution.”
Cardot said he expects the full faculty to vote on the proposal around Oct. 15, and the votes may take up to a week to be processed. Faculty Senate representatives will then take a look at the results, compile votes and inform the provost of the vote.
If the proposal is accepted, degree plans and general education requirements will then be reevaluated to address the change, with the removal of CORE 210 in effect starting fall 2016.
However, if it doesn’t pass, Cardot said CORE curriculum would remain as is, and the university would have to make adjustments in accordance with the funding.
Cardot and Straughn said they’ve already heard opposition to the CORE 210 removal.
“I think the people that are most opposed to any kind of change with that CORE 210 are the people that have invested the most in it, and I think that would be a very natural understanding,” Straughn said.
Cardot said many faculty members are afraid the proposal will alter the interdisciplinary basis of the curriculum and rob students of that learning and application experience.