Guidelines created for A&S core curriculum

The newly formed ad hoc committee met several times recently to create guidelines on how courses should be reviewed before added to the Arts & Sciences core curriculum; however, the committee has not reviewed any courses for submission to date.

According to communications professor Jon Radwan, Ph.D., The ad hoc committee’s delay in reviewing the courses is really taking a toll on the department.

“This affects the department by changing the submission and approval process after our courses were already in the pipeline,” Radwan said.

Radwan said the ad hoc committee was supposed to be ready to present a list of courses to be dropped at the April meeting, however now they are not.

“Instead they plan to ask for a deadline extension and propose involving departments in the core course list decision process,” Radwan said.

According to Radwan, this is an encouraging step for the communication department.

“But it is not clear what will happen to the communication and the arts classes currently in the approval pipeline,” Radwan said.

Radwan added that the committee did not explain the entire evaluation process to the department.

Mary Balkun, Ph.D., of the English department, and one of the heads of the ad hoc committee, said the committee is still trying to complete some work.

However, the committee did finish the guidelines that are needed for the evaluation process.

According to Balkun, the first guideline is that core curriculum courses should be broad.

“They should encompass entire fields of study,” Balkun said. “Or at least major subfields.”

The second guideline adopted was that a review should be taught to all students that do not have previous knowledge on the given course.

“Department chairs will continue to have the ability to substitute more advanced electives for core courses on a case-by -ase basis,” Balkun said.

Balkun said the third guideline is core courses have to be evenly distributed throughout the curriculum.

“No department or program should be excluded from the core,” Balkun said.

According to Balkun, the last guideline is that the core courses have to be offered regularly.

“Departmental courses offered on an irregular or occasional basis should not be included in the core,” Balkun said.

The ad hoc committee, after creating these guidelines, then came to a resolution that addresses four points.

The points state that guidelines formed are approved and secondly the committee be allowed to review the core and make decisions on what courses are added or dropped, according to Balkun.

Balkun said the third point is that the committee must be allowed to recommend how the core distribution categories can be improved.

According to Balkun, the last point is that the committee will be allowed to recommend a process by which courses will be approved for the core.

“After much discussion, the body approved all these actions, although in slightly different form and language,” Balkun said.

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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