OK, Agnes asked if she could answer this at length. This is her response:
Q: The 42 credits of the core do not have to be taken in the first four semesters. Is that correct?
A: The purpose of the core, as stated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is:
“Through the Texas Core Curriculum, students will gain a foundation of knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning.”
So, if one thinks of the concept of “foundation of knowledge” and use courses such as English Composition I and II as an example, it makes a lot of sense for students to take these courses early so they will learn how to express their ideas and write better for all other classes that they will be taking subsequent to the composition classes.
Another example would be Math and Math reasoning courses. Math skills very quickly get rusty for most people when not practiced. Therefore, if students wait till their third or fourth year to take College Algebra, that may not be a wise decision as they might have forgotten a lot of the basics.
There are exceptions of course. For instance, some majors have many “levels” of classes, with one building upon another. For those students, they will need to start taking major courses in sequence to be able to graduate in a timely manner. Thus, one may see some students taking a core class later.
Therefore, while there is no requirement as to when students need to finish their core classes, we should promote and advise students to take these core classes in a manner that such classes will provide them with a “foundation of knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning”.
As promised at the last Undergraduate Committee meeting–
Agnes DeFranco and Libby Barlow have passed along the following links for those of you curious about the implications of the transition to the new statewide Core:
- Link here for the THECB page devoted to the Texas Core Curriculum. Note also the timeline for implementation:
- November 2011 – November 2013: Faculty develop and select courses [where we are now]
- November 2013: Institution’s core curriculum due to Coordinating Board staff for review
- Fall 2014: Statewide implementation of core curriculum for incoming Freshmen
- Faculty and Administrative FAQs for those preparing the new Core Curriculum
- Assessment Guidelines for the new Core, including
In addition to the THECB site, those interested in the assessment issues (and interested in saving themselves time while redesigning Core courses) should take a look at one or two of the following sites:
- Association of American Colleges and Universities, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)
- AACU/Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) rubrics (downloadable rubrics for learning outcomes, a great timesaver)
Let us know whether you find these helpful, or need additional information for implementation.
I think we should be prepared to begin hearing about this very soon. What impact would these recommendations have on our teaching and research missions?