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New KU Core curriculum filling up with course options


As I talked Wednesday with Sara Rosen, KU's senior vice provost for academic affairs, about the fate of the Mount Oread Scholars program, I also asked her for an update on the effort to revamp KU's undergraduate curriculum — the "KU Core," as you might know it.

She told me that about 450 courses have already been approved to be a part of the Core curriculum, which will apply to undergraduates in any KU school. You can even look at the list of all of them at the KU Core website, which also has a whole bunch of other information about the effort. Several of them are duplicates, listed more than once because they could possibly fill more than one requirement.

Most of those have been "fast-tracked": That is, they are courses that already fill general-education requirements for KU undergrads, and staff picked them out as likely to be included in the new curriculum. Most of the courses that will be "fast-tracked" have already been added to the list, as well, Rosen said. (Sorry if you'll have to read that paragraph slowly for it to make sense.)

That's as opposed to how the rest of the courses on the list will be chosen: Faculty members can pitch courses for inclusion, and they'll be evaluated by a committee of faculty and students.

Now, a bit about what it means for courses to be "included" — an included course will be one of many options from which students can choose to fill 12 required "units." Those units are divided among six "goals," which are essentially skills or areas of knowledge that KU would like its students to learn.

There will be no one class that every student must take. (That includes Western Civilization, as we've discussed before.) Flexibility is a stated desire here.

That committee I mentioned before is right now meeting regularly to decide what other courses to include. In addition, Rosen said, committees at each school and college are discussing what requirements THEY want to have and how they'll fit in with all this Core business.

This whole process — at least for the 2013-14 academic year — needs to be totally done by mid-March, Rosen said, so catalogs can be printed and such. The Core committee will continue functioning in future years, adding or removing courses from the curriculum.

Rosen said she'd eventually like for about 1,000 courses to be included as options.

Right now, there's enough for you to go through and figure out what kinds of course combinations could add up to fill your requirements, if you're an interested current or prospective student. Keep in mind that current students will be allowed to opt in to the new curriculum, substituting the new (and, for many students, much lighter) general-education requirements for the old ones.

Be prepared to read more about all this and the various ripple effects it may have during the spring semester as things fall into place.


Steve Bunch 5 years, 2 months ago

It appears there will be no "core" curriculum, as it seems anything goes for the sake of "flexibility." But of course we must keep an eye on the "learning outcomes." This whole business is very sad.

lawrencian 5 years, 2 months ago

As a non-traditional student, fulfilling my "core curriculum" coursework was one of the biggest challenges I had completing my degree at KU, and in the end, I had to take classes elsewhere in order to do it. If KU wants to keep everyone going and get people to graduate in a timely fashion, they should also focus on how to make sure every student can fulfill every requirement, even someone who has to focus on evening coursework to also work full-time.

It is also interesting that this mentions the deadline for "printing catalogs" because KU hasn't printed a course catalog in a long time... Unless they are bringing back the timetable this spring?

Steve Bunch 5 years, 2 months ago

Good points. And that's where online degrees and online degree completion programs are needed. No sign that KU is going to go there , though.

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