TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, March 25, 2004
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New curriculum inches toward final approval
University officials say the new core curriculum requirements will accurately represent the mission statement.

By Marco Lopez
Staff Reporter

Faculty committee members are still working to select courses that would meet the objectives of the new core curriculum and better reflect TCU’s mission statement of cultural and global awareness.

The new curriculum is scheduled to take effect in August 2005.

Melissa Canady, director of assessment, said one of the reasons for creating the new core was that the current curriculum does not do a good job of representing TCU’s mission statement. She said there is no way to measure its effectiveness in developing a student’s career.

“We want to formalize the university assessment committee to make sure students will learn under the new core,” Canady said.

More than 30 faculty members recently attended a forum to discuss several sections of the new core. Nadia Lahutsky, who chairs the Faculty Senate, told faculty members to think about
issues that come from the new core, such as how to give credit to transfer students.

Faculty Senators recently approved a recommendation to give permanent status to an existent assessment committee and charge it with the evaluation of the new core beginning in the 2007-2008 academic year.

The university’s current curriculum has three sections; foundations, explorations and physical education. The new core has three sections as well, but with new names with the purpose of educating students to be ethical leaders, Canady said.

Foundations will be called Essential Competencies. According to Senate documents, committees designed the competencies section to let students learn how to reason mathematically, express thoughts clearly and write efficiently.

Students will be required to take three hours of math, three hours of oral communication and 12 hours of writing emphasis and written communication.

“The new core puts more emphasis on what students want to learn in the classroom about a subject,” Canady said. “Instead of putting all the pressure on the professor to teach something to students.”

The Explorations will become the Human Experiences and Endeavors. This section has 27 hours distributed among humanities, social and natural sciences, and fine arts.

Catherine Wehlburg, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, said the new core combines professionals from several areas to teach one course and give students different points of view about a subject.

“The new TCU core is unique if you compare its structure with the ones of other institutions,” Wehlburg said. “It combines faculty from different areas of human development.”

The Heritage, Mission, Vision and Values section of the new core will expose students to 18 hours divided among religious, historical and literary traditions, as well as citizenship and social values to develop a cultural and global awareness.

“This section is the embodiment of TCU’s mission statement,” Canady said. “It’s important because when students graduate, they will be able to say that they were exposed to all these areas that are essential in our society.”

In April the Faculty Senate will review all core-related policies as the next step toward establishing the new core.

The process of developing a new curriculum began in 1999 when former Chancellor Michael Ferrari asked administrators and faculty members to design a new core that would reaffirm TCU’s mission of educating individuals “to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.”
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