University delays GCR changes

The reduction in Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ general curriculum requirements scheduled to affect the class of 2014 has been delayed a year, the University’s chief academic officer said.

Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said the task force commissioned to reduce the number of general curriculum requirements is not ready to release their findings and with class registration scheduled for April, the changes may not be implemented in time.

Faculty in the Columbian College voted last April to reduce requirements by nearly half the number of credit hours students need to take to graduate, from at least 42 credit hours in seven academic topics to 24 credits.

The reason for the revamp was to give students more freedom in registering for courses reflective of their interests, while still ensuring they receive a strong, wide-ranging education. At the time, it was announced the developments would affect all Columbian College students entering after the class of 2013.

A GCR task force was created to revise the current system and generate a proposal of recommendations to present to the Columbian College faculty. The committee released a preliminary report to the faculty at a meeting Dec. 4, said CCAS Associate Dean Paul Duff. Duff did not provide the report upon request.

“A final report with a recommendation for a revised general education program will be presented to the faculty later this semester. We expect the faculty to vote on the plan before the end of the semester,” he said.

In the fall, the committee decided to focus reform on five new conceptual areas instead of the previous seven: global and cross-cultural perspectives, oral, written and visual communication skills, critical and creative thinking, quantitative and scientific reasoning, and local and civic engagement.

“From what I have seen, I think we all have reasons to be optimistic about the direction things are going, and I salute my colleagues on the committee who have been working on this for several months now,” professor David McAleavey said.

Interviewed incoming freshmen in the class of 2014 had mixed reactions to the delays, but say they have no choice but to accept the old curriculum.

Kelsey Johnston, a CCAS-bound student in the class of 2014, said she was angry at the delays but still excited for GW in the fall.

“I’m mad that this change was delayed and think that it’s ridiculous that the changes won’t be implemented,” she said. “It will, however, just be something I will have to deal with and it doesn’t change my excitement to attend the University in the fall.”

Marissa Martin, another admitted CCAS student, doesn’t mind having to take extra courses because “you get to expose yourself to new and different things,” which she sees as an advantage.

In the past, the Columbian College has reviewed the curriculum, but no significant changes have been made to the current general requirements since 1988.

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