A changing curriculum

By: Kianna Haskin

In the fall of 2017, a new curriculum will be implemented here at Goucher College. The new curriculum is targeted at the incoming first years, in the fall. There will also be credit changes and a new schedule grid, and these aspects of the redesign will affect the current student body. The faculty who redesigned the curriculum hopes that the changes will be uplifting for Goucher’s students.

In the fall, Goucher College will no longer be offering three-credit classes and will only be offering one, two, and four credit classes. “We found ourselves in a situation where we were offering both three and four credit classes with a schedule grid that was very problematic for a lot of people,” states Provost Dr. Leslie Lewis. With the new credit changes, the typical schedule will have four classes each weighing four credits. The faculty and each department have had to redesign each major to fit the curriculum changes. “What we decided was that we could not just add a credit to every class offered, therefore making the major that many more credits,” stated Provost Lewis. Students will still need a hundred and twenty credits to graduate, and with the credit change this will be easier to obtain.

The major that will be changing the most is the Individualized Interdisciplinary major (IIM). The major is based on a question the student proposes. The goal is for the major to be self-designed over three disciplines of study and to focus on learning that cannot be achieved through any current major and or minor. According to Goucher College, the applicants should obtain a 3.0 GPA before applying. Exceptions are made if the GPA is close enough.

A new opportunity for First Year students in the fall, called Freshman Forgiveness is an ongoing idea within the faculty and a conclusion has yet to be decided. “The spirit is that First Years should be able to experiment with courses and ideas and they won’t have to pay a heavy price down the road for not succeeding in the experimental process. The goal is to allow a student who fails a class to not have it count in their grade point average,” stated Professor Eric Singer.

What current Goucher Students know as Liberal Education Requirements (LERs) have been renamed to Goucher Commons Requirements (GCRs). “Students are asked to take three courses that are center-based, that are probably interdisciplinary and problem-based or inquiry-based, and these courses take the place of some LER categories,” stated Provost Lewis. These courses will be stretched over the first three years of education for the incoming First Years. Frontiers courses have been reformed into a First Year Seminar, and will introduce students to the seminar format and ideas of interest to faculty. The writing requirements won’t be changing in the fall of 2017. Students will still have to complete academic writing, an enrichment course, and a course within the major, to fulfill the requirement.

The math requirement will now be two classes focusing on data analytics. “We are making a statement there, that we think that data analysis and data visualization are very important skills for everyone to have,” states Provost Lewis. The first class will be introductory and the second class will be applied.

Foreign language will be combined with culture classes. The placement exam that students take before starting at Goucher will determine the number of credits the student will have to complete in this requirement.

“Higher education has been changing for some time now. Many colleges and universities are doing the same thing we are doing,” said Singer.

In the fall of 2015, an ad hoc committee was voted in by the faculty. This group was assigned the task of exploring new curriculums and potential practices that other colleges find meaningful. After eight to nine months of research, the ad hoc group proposed a new curriculum to the faculty who then voted on the redesign. The fall of 2017 roll-out of this new curriculum will happen after two years of planning toward the new curriculum.

Singer, who has been with Goucher for thirty years stated, “I have seen a number of curricular changes here at Goucher. For the first time, this curricular change has thoughtful and clear understanding and the goals of an undergraduate education. And I am hoping that we will be able to deliver on that promise.”

A presentation and community update run by Provost Lewis and the student government will commence Thursday, March 9 at 5 PM in the Heubeck dining area.

 

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