Core Curriculum Task Force Meeting
DATE AND Friday, February 17, 2006
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
LOCATION: SU 80, Room 223
Marina Banchetti; Fred Fejes; Jeff Galin; Paul Hart; Lee Klingler; Anthony Lombardo-chair; Maria Petrie; Don Ploger; Tom Pusateri; Debbie Raines; Allen Smith
Oliver Buckton; Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilin; Mark Jackson; Robin Jordan; Tim Lenz; Cliff McCue; Don Torok
Chair Tony Lombardo stated his idea for establishing a Freshman Convocation was discussed at the last meeting of the Council for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and supported by the Provost. The Provost suggested they both meet with the President for his approval.
1. Freshman Reading
Tony stated John Gardner’s recommendation to FAU was to assign incoming freshman a book to read then give them an assignment regarding the book. The aim is to insert an academic component into orientation. The Core Curriculum Task Force (CCTF) agreed. Tony feels the CCTF would be the most likely group to choose the book and he will make a case to the Provost and the President about it. He suggested books that relate to Florida such as “Killing Mr. Watson” or “Orchid Thief” and the speaker for the Freshman Convocation could be the author of the book. Other books and authors were mentioned including some by FAU professors.
2. Previous work of the Core Curriculum Task Force
a. Charge: A copy of the Committee’s Charge was distributed and discussed. The idea that there should be better integration of the core into the major came up. Tom Pusateri suggested departments consider addressing this in their academic learning compacts.
b. Strong Foundations 1994: Tony distributed a copy of the Twelve Principles for Effective General Education Programs prepared by the participants in the Project on Strong Foundations for General Education of the American Association of Colleges and Universities 1994. Tony stated the project involved seventeen diverse institutions. The CCTF agreed with each of the principles citing a need for faculty support, self-evaluation, and to continuously strive for coherence, just to name a few considerations. There are comments in the report such as “learn a major to make a living, take a core to make a life” and “starts with diversity, aims for coherence” that nicely encapsulate the purpose of a liberal arts and sciences education component.
c. Subcommittees: A list of previous CCTF subcommittees and their members was distributed and discussed. The subcommittees are: Gordon Rule & Writing Across the Curriculum, Quantitative Literacy, and Critical, Analytical, and Creative Thinking Skills.
The Quantitative Literacy committee looked at requirements and Gordon Rule courses and felt that many majors want certain competencies and not just compliance with the Rule. They previously recommended integrating math or logic courses into the major where appropriate. It was discussed that math is a real challenge for students and a state-wide problem. Don Ploger agreed to write up a perspective on clarifying the core curriculum requirements. This will be distributed to the members through Tony.
Writing Across the Curriculum is undergoing implementation while the Critical, Analytical, and Creative Thinking Skills subcommittee seemed to get only as far as developing some philosophical positions. Tom Pusateri reminded that the learning compacts are to address these skills.
4. Another Case Study – What Not To Do But Everybody Does
Tony distributed a copy of the University of Toledo’s core curriculum description and remarked how it’s a case study of what not to do but everybody does it including FAU. The description begins with a brief paragraph followed by a list of courses but nothing in between. Tony expressed that what’s missing causes a total disconnection from how the courses fulfill the purpose of the core curriculum as expressed in the paragraph.
5. Actions to be taken by the CCTF:
a. Identify “owners” of the core. Who do we recommend? It should be periodically reviewed.
b. To articulate purpose by coming out with a draft.
c. Have a strong core curriculum that is tied to the University vision, mission and values.
d. Need coherence or a theme that is linked to purpose of the core. Tony stated a possibility could be that every course in the core curriculum would teach students how disciplines learn and know what they do and the owner of the core would make sure every syllabus tells that. Tom Pusateri suggested the task force review websites for Kings College, IUPUI and Portland State University where they will find that every freshman knows what the core curriculum is and what they need to take.
e. Come up with a curriculum and package it better.
f. Create a core curriculum handbook that would be a constant reminder for students.
g. Establish criteria for the core to create course approval and review processes.
h. Create an assessment plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the core.
Tony asked why there should be a change. Is there a broad consensus that the existing core needs revision? This should be determined early in the process.
Next meeting March 17th at 10:00 a.m.
Review and discussion of draft paragraphs will be on this meeting’s agenda.
Meeting adjourned at 11:45am.