Core curriculum under construction: Revisions to come to the College of Arts and Sciences core

By Leeza Earl

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

Completing the core curriculum is a task that all USD students have to conquer before graduating. The class entering in 2016 will conquer a very different core curriculum than the standard one now. The Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Noelle Norton and Core Planning Committee chair Kristin Moran have been working for three years, restructuring the current core curriculum into a smaller and a more grounded core to give students the foundation for the world after USD.

“There have been minor changes in the core such as the diversity requirement put in place in 2005,” Norton said. “It has been approximately 25 years since USD has had a major core curriculum restructuring and I think we are ready for a core with a stronger foundation by including classes like senior seminar and writing classes.”

Theology professor Evelyn Kirkley expressed her excitement of the new core revisions in the connection with the LLCs. “I think the new core will benefits the students more due to flexibility and continue the strong liberal arts curriculum,” Kirkley said. “In addition, the interdisciplinary opportunities this will give students more foundation in the new core.”

The core revisions are done with the students best interest and faculty. “I think students will appreciate the new core,” Moran said. “With more flexibility with classes and requirements it allows a little more space for exploration.” In the current core students have selected courses that they are allowed to take to fulfill each requirement. In the new upcoming core the Core Planning Committee plans to gives students more options in what will fulfill the requirements for graduation with more class options and topics.

There are many rumors that have spread throughout campus regarding what will and will not be in the new core. The Introduction to Logic course for example is still under discussion in addition to many other courses.There is yet the be a confirmed list of what will be withdrawn from or added to the core due to the current process of proposals from faculty.

The process of restructuring the core is broken into three parts: imagining the core, building the core and implementation of the core. The Core Planning Committee is currently in the stage of imagining the core by accepting core curriculum proposals from faculty and soon will arrive to Core Model for the new requirements.

Senior Ava Izdepski expressed her frustration with the current core curriculum and how she thinks it is time for a change. “I think some of the things that are in the core will never benefit me,” Izdepski said. “We need something that will reflect on the USD community and life after college.”

Changing the core curriculum has always been a question here at USD for many reasons but now as generations are more advanced the core needs to advance as well. “USD core curriculum does not articulate the kind of learning that goes on at USD,” Moran said. “We want to bring a core that includes interdisciplinary cluster, breath through distribution and diversity so students understand why students are required to take these courses.”

The Core Planning Committee is structuring the new core on six sections; Interdisciplinary cluster, which allows students to learn through interdisciplinary approaches and faculty collaboration and Breath through distribution which continues the liberal arts education are the main two criterias the committee wants to change. In addition, Diversity is also being included to give students the reflective knowledge and understanding about differences as an historical and socially construct. Writing, which is currently included in the core gives students a greater commitment to developmental approach. And finally, Advance Components allows students to explore beyond the lower division such as community services and undergraduate research and finally a smaller core which gives students more opportunity to explore and flexibility. The new core is intended to integrate components into the classroom and offer more diversity with course topics.

Twelve faculty and staff members serve on the Core Planning Committee and are currently taking proposals for what the changes will be. There is still not a confirmed new core but the process has begun. The committee is currently navigating the areas for improvements resulting in all core requirements being under discussion.