posted on: Thursday February 4, 2010
Valerie Ferdon ’12/ Asst. News Editor
Student Congress convened on Feb. 2 to discuss proposed changes to the core curriculum at Providence College.Members of Congress have been working closely with the Academic Affairs committee on Faculty Senate to devise a new curriculum that will add more depth to students’ education. Megan Bennett ’10 gave the presentation. As of now, there have been two different models proposed for the core curriculum: the Thematic Cluster Option and the Concentration Option. Both of these models incorporate the same Foundation courses. The Foundation is composed of the traditional six credits of philosophy and theology and three credits of fine art.”They still have philosophy and theology as six hours. I couldn’t fight that, guys, I know a lot of people wanted less hours, but it is a part of our school that is never going to change,” said Bennett.There is, however, a change in the mathematics requirement, as it will be called quantitative reasoning. Students would be able to fulfill this by taking statistics, or one of the current mathematics courses that fulfill the requirement. There would only be three credits required in the area of social science, and Development of Western Civilization would be dropped from the current 20 credits to 12 credits.In the Cluster model, in addition to the Foundation, students would be required to take a three course thematic “cluster.” These clusters would generally consist of three to five courses that address a theme, and would be drawn from at least two departments or programs. The cluster of courses would be offered over the course of one academic year, most likely during a student’s sophomore year.Example clusters were presented to Congress members. One was a cluster of American Art and Culture. Possible courses would be American Art, Music in the U.S., American Literature 1865-1914, History of the U.S. 1885-1900, and Intro to American Studies. Students would choose three courses to fulfill their cluster. Students will be allowed to construct their own cluster and have it approved if they do not choose to select their cluster from the College’s list.In the Concentration option, students would be required to complete the aforementioned Foundation and then select an area of concentration outside of their major. The concentrations would consist of six credits in areas such as social science, natural science, fine arts, quantitative reasoning, or language.”The exciting thing about concentrations is that it introduces foreign language as a part of our core curriculum without it being mandatory for everyone. One of the problems we ran into two years ago [when the curriculum was being debated] was that half of the students wanted language to be required, however, half of the students said they chose to come to PC over other schools because of the fact that we did not require a language,” said Bennett.The Cluster and Concentrations models each incorporate a Learning Proficiencies requirement. While each student will have to take courses with the following designations, there are no extra hours required. Students must take two courses designated Writing Intensive, and one course each designated Oral Communicative, Global Awareness, and Civic Engagement.”I know there is a lot of controversy behind the Learning Proficiencies requirement, because people think of it as a bunch of extra classes. They actually require no additional classes, but will be incorporated into core classes and classes for your major. Right now, as it stands, you could probably fulfill three of them with one class. The breakdown of what classes will qualify for each proficiency will be decided by the dean at a later date,” said Bennett.Student Congress will continue to present the progress being made by Faculty Senate in the designing of a new core curriculum.