Faculty, staff and students discuss proposed University curriculum changes

The SMU community got its first detailed overview of proposed changes to the General Education Curriculum at a town hall meeting April 22.

New emphases on “demonstrated competencies” and broader double-counting of courses mark the proposed changes, as well as a new second-language requirement for all students. The proposals also will make the curriculum friendlier to long and multiple majors and minors and to transfer students from outside and inside the University, said committee co-chairs Dennis Cordell, Dedman College, and Tom Tunks, Associate Provost.

The University Curriculum – so called as the only course of study to be completed by all SMU undergraduates – is the result of work conducted by the General Education Review Committee. The committee was charged with completing the curriculum review, formulating recommendations for needed changes, and presenting a proposal for a new general education curriculum to Provost Paul Ludden by April 25, 2009.

Presentation of the proposal leads into the review’s next stage, in which a broad cross-section of faculty and staff members will address details such as identifying courses to keep or modify and developing metrics and other details, Tunks said. The new curriculum is expected to be in place for the 2011-12 academic year.

The length of the review process allows the University to “get it right,” as well as ensure that funds are in place for implementation, Tunks said. It also accomplishes the important objective of getting the SMU community involved and invested, he added.

“Through broad participation in developing the curriculum, what we develop is ownership of the curriculum,” Tunks said. “We tend to be more enthusiastic about the things we own than about things that were pushed at us by someone else. We look at this as a chance to build community at the University.”

Find an outline of the proposed changes and more information at The General Education Review homepage.

Complete listing of SMU’s current General Education Curriculum
Initial curriculum review planning guidelines
Essential learning outcomes
GEC opinion survey
GEC Review blog, open to the SMU community

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