Committee working to revise curriculum

Winter registration is coming up soon for Mercyhurst College students. An important aspect of registration is taking the necessary core classes required for graduation.

There is currently an ad hoc committee working to revise the core curriculum required at Mercyhurst. The current requirement for core classes is about 15 years old.

Dr. Randy Clemons is the co-chair of the committee on core revision.

“The purpose of the committee focus is not on core reduction,” Clemons said. “Reducing the size of the core is just one of the issues that has been raised.”

The committee began its work by breaking into three subcommittees: best practice, core mission and skills/knowledge.

Each subcommittee focused on a certain aspect that is important when determining what core classes will be required.

The best practice subcommittee looked at what other schools are doing in terms of their core classes.

The core mission subcommittee was responsible for determining what Mercyhurst’s five core values mean in order to make sure the core curriculum fits the mission of the college.

The skills/knowledge subcommittee focused on what classes students will need for their future and what classes employers are looking for.

According to Clemons, right now employers prefer students to take classes where they gain general rather than narrow technical skills. Businesses want students who are critical thinkers and proficient in reading and writing.

As part of phase one of the core curriculum revision process, which occurred last year, the committee produced a document and sent it to the Mercyhurst community asking for feedback. The document met with approval by the Faculty Senate, academic departments, Academic Planning and Assessment Committee, College Council, the Board of Trustees and Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG).

According to Clemons, right now the committee is working to come up with a structural model that will decide the number of core classes that will be required and the names of the different core categories.

This structural model draft should be revised by the end of February. Once revised, the model will be sent out to the entire Mercyhurst community to work on ways to improve it.

Once the model is officially approved by President Dr. Thomas Gamble, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Phillip Belfiore and the Board of Trustees, professors and departments will need to propose classes, and the course catalog will need to be adjusted.

Revising the core curriculum is a long process that requires much work.

“For current students, there’s not a huge impact,” Clemons said. “Fall of 2013 would be the soonest it would go in place.”

The class of 2017 would be the first class affected by the core curriculum changes.