College of Arts and Sciences undergoes curriculum change

By on October 17, 2012

The core university curriculum for undergraduate students may be soon undergoing some changes. Although the specific changes are still being worked out, Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs Dr. Mark Thompson assures that there are certain goals the university has to ensure that the curriculum gives more power to students.

“The current curriculum has a lot of merit to it right now,” Thompson said. “It’s intended to give all of our students intellectual breadth. I think it could be improved by giving you some more flexibility in how you go about achieving what you need to from the core.”

Quinnipiac recognizes that each student is very unique in terms of the skills, knowledge and experiences they bring to the table, Thompson said. Therefore, giving students more of a choice with regards to what is required to fulfill the university curriculum is the school’s first priority.
The core curriculum is not the only thing that’s undergoing modifications. The College of Arts and Sciences may soon be changing its academic curriculum as well, according to Associate Professor of History Jill Fehleison.

Fehleison is working on making these changes in an effort to maintain flexibility in allowing students to take courses within the college.

“I’m really looking at the whole picture for all four years, what we could do different, what we could do better, what works, what doesn’t,” Fehleison said. “I’m a strong believer in a university curriculum. I believe that every student, no matter their major, needs a grounding in liberal education.”

The College of Arts and Sciences is assessing whether it is helping its students to acquire the skills, knowledge, tools and habits to prepare them for not just work, but for life beyond, Fehleison said.

Both Fehleison and Thompson said that the flexibility and personalization in each student’s curriculum is necessary for continued success, and that the future curriculum will accommodate this.

“I want to do something unique to Quinnipiac that best suits our students,” Thompson said. He hopes to enable each student to sit with their faculty advisor and customize a curriculum that works for them and best benefits them, rather than just taking their classes to fulfill requirements.

When questioned about the mandatory QU seminar series, Thompson ensured that there are no plans to eliminate it any time soon.

“There’s a lot of potential in them,” Thompson said. “If you look at the intent of the series, one of the primary goals is helping students become intentional leaders and I think that if we can work on the series in a way that represents a common experience across the freshmen, sophomore and junior years while drawing in the rest of the course work and activities of the students taking them.”

Fehleison expressed that true interdisciplinary study has its benefits.

“There are the practical things of accreditation and state requirements,” she said. “But there are also hundreds of years of evidence that a grounding in a broad education before you specialize is really useful in how you learn.”

Thompson echoes this, and believes that it’s more beneficial to our students once these programs of study are redesigned.

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