DWC To Be Revamped
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 15:02
Coming into Providence College, you may have heard just how extensive and well known the curriculum is. You were probably intimidated when the tour guide on your first tour of the campus explained the Development of Western Civilization program and what seemed like a never-ending list of core classes. While the classes of 2012-2015 are in the process of completing the core curriculum, the College has kissed it goodbye.
When Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., arrived at the College, one of his main goals was to revise the core curriculum. Committees, through the faculty senate, were formed to take on this task and propose legislation with a curriculum that would please both the members of the senate and the administration.
The Development of Western Civilization is one of the programs that will look very different beginning next year. Traditionally, DWC has been a two-year program going from first semester freshman year until second semester sophomore year, and amounting to 20 credits.
Although the program will still be four semesters, it will be downsized to 16 credits and will include one semester of colloquium. Students will take three semesters of the traditional western civilization. On their fourth semester, they will take a course based on a certain subject with a connection to the west.
Students will have approximately 30 different colloquia to choose from according to Dr. James F. Keating, chairman of the Core Curriculum Committee (CCC). The courses will be of contemporary interest with themes that will hopefully be attractive to students.
The Liberal Arts Honors Program will continue to have a 20-credit program for DWC. "We reformed the general DWC and left honors DWC alone credit-wise," said Keating.
Aside from DWC, another major change was made to the Natural Science core. Currently, students must take two 3-4 credit courses relating to the natural sciences. Students will only be required to take one 3-4-credit class. When asked why this change was made, Keating said, "There was a question of just how useful that second requirement was, and it was decided that it was not."
He also touched upon the inclusion of language in the College's core curriculum. "It is unusual for a liberal arts college to not have language in their core curriculum," he said. "Clearing that extra science requirement allows for students to choose a different core course, such as language."
The general mathematics requirement will now be known as the quantitative reasoning requirement. Courses relating to many fields of mathematics will be offered. "The idea is for students to take a math course related to their major," said Keating. He continued, "It just doesn't make sense for a social science major to take business math, when in reality the mathematics they will need are statistics."
A political science major can now take a course like Empirical Political Analysis and have it count towards their major and their quantitative reasoning core, since it covers the area of statistics in the political world.
The core will also have a concentration. Students can fulfill the concentration by taking two courses in language, science, social science, fine arts, or quantitative reasoning. Both courses must be from the same department. Students may also concentrate on a theme and take two courses from different departments as long as they address similar topics. The Liberal Arts Honors Program will fulfill this part of the core through DWC.
The CCC also added a list of proficiencies that students must complete as part of the curriculum. An intensive writing proficiency was developed and it includes two writing courses that students must complete. The first part of the requirement, Level I, will be geared towards the techniques of appropriate writing for college students, including grammar and styles of writing. The second part, Level II, will be geared toward the student's major and how one must write in that field. "We want to spread writing across the curriculum, and with a course geared towards the student's major, they will learn to write like scientists, psychologists, etc.," said Keating.
The committee also added oral communication proficiency. "By surveying alumni of the school, we learned that one of the skills they said they lacked and did not learn at Providence was oral communication," said Keating. "This part of the core curriculum allows for students to learn the skills of speaking in public and giving presentations." The core will teach students to talk in different situations such as class discussions and oral presentations.
Given that the Princeton Review has rated Providence College as the most homogenous school in America, a diversity core was added as well. According to the legislation, "an education for trust must involve serious consideration of the differences within the human community." For this reason, students will now have to complete a course in a cross-cultural area or involving diversity within the American context.