Professors approve GCR overhaul

New General Curriculum Requirements in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences will only require one course of math and two courses of lab science as part of a 24-credit set of requirements, after the school’s faculty approved a GCR propsal last Friday.

Last year, CCAS voted to cut GCR requirements nearly in half, from 42 credit hours in seven focus areas to 24 credits. Under the revised plan, students in CCAS must complete three credits of coursework in mathematics and statistics and six credits in natural and physical sciences, as opposed to the current total of 15 credits for the two categories.

The change alters the college’s core curriculum for the first time in 20 years, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said. The new requirements will be implemented for the CCAS class entering in the fall of 2011. Incoming CCAS freshmen will be the last ones required to fulfill the old set of GCRs.

The approved proposal also calls for six credit hours of work in social sciences, six credits in humanities and three in the arts. Students will still be required to take University Writing and complete two Writing in the Disciplines courses. Courses taken to fulfill GCRs will also be counted toward a major.

Previously, students took six credits in mathematics and statistics, nine to 12 credits in natural and physical sciences, six in social and behavioral sciences, three credits in creative and performing arts, 12 hours in the humanities, and six to eight hours in foreign language or culture.

A task force commission to overhaul the current requirements has worked over the past year to create a new general education curriculum that will emphasize three learning goals: perspective, analysis and communication.

The new GCRs also entail two new necessities. Students must fulfill an oral communication requirement through a WID, major course, or general education course, and will also take an analytic course that includes either a global or cross-cultural perspective as well as one course that incorporates local and civic engagement.

In contrast, students no longer have to take foreign language or foreign culture classes, though the oral communication requirement may be fulfilled in any language taught at the University.

Dean Peg Barratt said the vote in favor of the proposal was nearly unanimous, and the factors highlighted by the new curriculum will help contribute to a quality liberal arts education.

“Our emphasis has been on stressing the development of key analytic skills in our general education courses with the expectation that students will be challenged and engaged by their coursework from the minute they enter the University,” Barratt said.

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