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Core classes altered

On Feb. 13, faculty approved a new core curriculum that will affect students both entering and continuing their studies at Eastern next fall.

The major changes include a reduction in core requirements by 13 credits and more choices for students in their selection of core classes.

Current students continuing their studies beyond this semester will receive all the benefits of the new core without being held to any of its new requirements. The hotly-debated INST250: Science, Technology and Values course will no longer be required but may satisfy the non-laboratory requirement in the Natural Sciences core area. Capstone courses will no longer be required.

According to Dr. Julie Elliott, Eastern’s core curriculum was significantly larger than other, comparable colleges and was not particularly transfer-friendly. Elliott served as co-chair with Dr. Kathy Lee on the core curriculum review committee, and has worked for the past year and a half on the new curriculum proposal.

Elliott said that the new curriculum will encourage transfer students to enroll and allow students more freedom to take electives and add minors.

Dr. Carl Mosser added that for students such as education majors, there was never any time to take electives with the old core. Mosser worked to frame the final core curriculum proposal as co-chair, with Dr. Mary Van Leeuwen, of the College of Arts and Sciences Educational Policy Curriculum Committee.

The new core is an outcomes-based model with categories that allow students more flexibility in meeting requirements.

For example, the Knowledgeable in Doing Justice category can be fulfilled by Justice in a Pluralistic Society, the social work course Human Diversity and Social Interaction or the economics course Faith and Economic Justice.

Dr. Lee added that any time students are given a choice, they are psychologically more motivated to take the courses they choose.

The new core requirement categories or “outcomes” are that students become biblically literate, formed in Christian thought, literate in Western tradition, skilled in the written word, fit for life, globally literate, aesthetically literate, knowledgeable about the natural sciences, knowledgeable about the social sciences and knowledgeable in doing justice.

Though no longer required, capstone courses will still be offered. In their place, new students will be required to take a culminating senior experience course within their major. Individual departments are currently determining what those classes will be.

One writing-intensive course within and one outside a student’s major are two other requirements being added.

Students with questions about their schedules are encouraged to speak with their advisers or department chairs.

The new core curriculum can be viewed at www.eastern.edu/academic/cas/core.

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