QU to consider restructuring UC requirements

By on March 25, 2015
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In fall of 2015, QU freshmen will no longer be required to take part in the QU Seminar series.

Instead, they will take a First Year Seminar course (FYS 101), according to Paul LoCasto, associate psychology professor and the director of general education.

“Good universities constantly try to make sure that their students are learning what they need to live good lives and enjoy good careers,” LoCasto said in an email. “Just as the QU seminar series was our answer to questions raised about undergraduate education 10-plus years ago, it is now time to readjust the UC [university curriculum] again so that its utility in a student’s undergraduate curriculum becomes more evident, more prominent.”

The University Education Committee, a group of Faculty Senate members that focuses on restructuring the university curriculum, submitted a new course proposal for FYS 101 on Feb. 9, 2015.

The proposal outlines the course design for FYS 101, including an overview of the course, how it adheres to the university’s UC Mission and Essential Learning Outcomes and how students will be assessed.

According to the proposal, the main goal of FYS 101 is to introduce students to “the concept of inquiry as a process that utilizes multiple and diverse perspectives to systematically examine questions or problems.”

Students will learn about inquiry through various readings and oral presentations and, with the help of an instructor, will begin to develop an inquiry-based question they wish to explore throughout the rest of their undergraduate education, according to the FYS 101 proposal.

“The key is that the guiding/enduring question will serve to help students integrate their general education into their overall Quinnipiac University experience,” the proposal reads.

Freshman Adam Frank said while he enjoyed his QU 101 course last semester, the proposed FYS 101 course sounds “interesting.”

“I mean I learned a lot from [QU 101],” Frank said. “I don’t know if it was my most important class pertaining to my major and stuff like that but I thought it was useful.”

He said that FYS 101 would be “a good alternative” for the current QU Seminars.

Both courses focus on reading and class discussion, but FYS 101 will also emphasize oral presentations and the creation of a digital portfolio, according to the proposal.

Major restructuring changes to the university curriculum are typically made every five to 10 years. The last UC change was made by the Faculty Senate in 2007.

“This move [to get rid of QU 101] was part of the larger reconsideration of the structure of our UC,” LoCasto said in an email. “It is our belief that the changes we are considering will help us improve the academic experience for all our undergraduate students.”

Sophomore Jenn Barry said she thought of her QU 101 course as more of a requirement than a learning academic experience.

“I feel like QU 101 is just like a thing you have to do as a freshman,” Barry said.

The University Education Committee is also looking to restructure the general education requirements for future students. But current students would not be affected by these changes.

As a health science major, Barry said she doesn’t see the need for the university to change the general education requirements.

“I’m pretty happy with [current requirements],” she said.

Though Barry and sophomore Jill Buhrig said they didn’t enjoy their QU 101 classes, both agreed they enjoyed the QU 201 and QU 301 courses they took.

“It’s more discussion-based,” Buhrig said of her 301 South Africa course. “It’s like a lot more of what we want to do instead of what the university tells us to do.”

Since the FYS 101 proposal is still undergoing changes, the effects on QU 301 abroad trips are currently unknown. The Faculty Senate is also currently deciding whether or not FYS 101 or similar courses will be continued throughout students’ undergraduate years.

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