University general education will require one history course and one elective in place of the Core curriculum.
Dr. Greg Straughn, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the general education review committee, said the changes will make ACU general education more like general education at other universities. The overall number of hours did not change, with students still required to get 56 general education hours. Straughn said this number, including Bible courses, compares to general education at Christian universities, and if Bible course are not counted, it compares to requirements at secular universities.
“It makes a lot of sense for us to better align with traditional higher education practices,” Straughn said. “Our core classes were a bit on the unusual, innovative side. It’s already unique because of all the Bible classes.”
Instead of taking BCOR or Core210, students using the 2016-17 course catalog must take any HIST course and any elective. The general education review committee proposed the change and the entire faculty voted on it. Straughn said some faculty thought the Core curriculum was innovative and wanted to make it better, but most faculty voted in favor of the changes.
“The vote was overwhelmingly in support and I think that speaks more or less for itself,” Straughn said.
Historical literacy, a traditional requirement at many universities, will be easier for students to fulfill with dual credit, transfer hours or AP courses. Straughn said he’s proud of this change because he believes knowledge of history should be an expectation for all students. The elective requirement will be undefined so students can take any course to fulfill it. Students with minors or double majors can use this to take courses required for their degrees.
“Being able to explore something that you just want to explore,” Straughn said. “Being able to have a place to put that now in our degree that’s protected, to me recaptures some of a liberal arts education.”
Started in Fall 2011, the Core curriculum was designed to connect ACU’s biblical traditions to real-world situations. Cornerstone will still be a requirement for all freshmen and BCOR will still be offered as a course to fulfill the general education requirements, but it will not be required. Core210 can fulfill the cultural awareness requirement, and Straughn said Core210 works well for students studying abroad.
The university will offer three sections of Core210 and four sections of BCOR this year. Eric Gumm, Registrar and director of the First-Year Program and Academic Development, said his office will monitor the number of students whose catalog requires them to take the two courses and will make sure enough sections are offered.