Primary Recommendations

Primary Recommendations to the Council of Chairs

Core Curriculum Review Task Force

College of Arts & Sciences

May 15, 2017

Charge

The Arts & Science Core Curriculum Review Task Force was appointed in May 2016 by Dr. Lee Nordt, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, with the charge to "evaluate the size and content of the core curriculum in light of this vision statement" and following that review to "make recommendations for revisions of the core curriculum to the A&S Council of Chairs." [1] The 24 executive committee members with voting privileges included 22 Arts & Sciences faculty members, a student and an alumnus. Sixteen nonvoting members (consisting of faculty and staff) also were members of the task force.

These primary recommendations were approved by the Executive Committee by a vote of 17 to 6 with one abstention.

Primary Recommendations

The Executive Committee of the Task Force makes the following five sets of recommendations to the Council of Chairs of the College of Arts & Sciences:

  1. The Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Vision stipulates that "the College of Arts & Sciences will have a unified core curriculum across all degrees;" therefore, beginning in the fall of 2019, the BA, BS, BFA and BSAS degrees will have the same core curricular requirements. Though beyond the purview of this task force, we suggest that this unified core curriculum, designed as it is to assist A&S undergraduates in becoming good citizens in a democracy and good Christians in the world, irrespective of their degree or major or professional aspirations, also would serve all undergraduates at Baylor University.
  2. To meet the Arts & Sciences core curriculum's Vision requirements of "flexibility with the core curriculum" and to "not be burdensome" in respect to the student's major requirements and electives to students, the core will consist of 49/50 hours, divided into common courses totaling 15/16 hours and distribution list courses totaling 34 hours. [2] New and existing common courses and distribution lists are required (below) in order to fulfill the Vision's directive that the core should "address the various ways in which we engage the world and experience our humanity," in order to "provide a shared foundation of knowledge drawn from the rich and diverse liberal arts tradition; develop various skills necessary for the completion of an academic degree, but also essential for personal and professional life beyond Baylor; and inspire moral, intellectual and spiritual virtues."
  3. The Common Courses [3] are as follows:

  4. The Distribution Lists (DL) are as follows:

    • Communication and Media Literacy. Students will take one 3-hour course. See Communication and Media Literacy DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Contemporary Social Issues. Students will take one 3-hour course. See Contemporary Social Issues DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Fine Arts and Performing Arts. Students will take one 3-hour course. See Fine Arts and Performing Arts DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Foreign Language and Culture. Students will take three 3-hour courses. See Foreign Language and Culture DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility, and criteria.
    • Formal Reasoning. Students will take one 3-hour course. See Formal Reasoning DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Literature in Context. Students will take one-3 hour course. See Literature in Context DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Research Writing. Students will take one 3-hour writing course. See Research Writing DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Scientific Method I: Course with Laboratory Experience. Students will take one 4-hour course with a laboratory experience (or a 3-hour lecture course with a 1-hour lab). See Scientific Method I DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.
    • Scientific Method II: Grand Challenges of Science. Students will take one 3-hour lecture course. See Scientific Method II DL Addendum for description, justification, eligibility and criteria.

  5. Revisions to Core Curriculum

    • Departmental proposals for courses in the DL are submitted to the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Advisory Committee. (See addendum "Distribution List Course Application.") All full-time A&S faculty members are eligible for appointment to the advisory committee. Committee members are appointed by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for 3-year terms.
    • Proposed changes to common courses or DL requirements must be submitted to the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Advisory Committee for consideration.
    • When approved by the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Advisory Committee, new courses or revisions to the core curriculum are routed through existing curricular channels (i.e., A&S Dean, A&S Curriculum Committee, A&S Council of Chairs, University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and Provost).
    The Executive Committee of the College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Review Task Force, 2016-2017 consisted of the following members: Tamarah Adair (BIO), Mark Anderson (ART), Sara Alexander (ANT), Michael Beaty (PHI), Joseph Brown (PSC), Blair Browning (COM), Julie deGraffenried (HIS), Stan Denman (THEA), Steven Driese (GEOSC), Christopher Hansen (FDM), Jeanne Hill (STA), John Howard (Alumni representative), Ken Jones (CLA), Kristin Koch (Student representative), Carson Mencken (SOC), Heidi Marcum (ENV SC), Thomas McGrath (CHE), Alex McNair (MLC), Brian Raines (MTH), Dwight Russell (PHY), Lisa Shaver (ENG), Sara Stone (JOU), Charles Weaver (PSY/NSC), Doug Weaver (REL).

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    [1] A&Spire: College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Vision, p. 4.

    [2] In 2016-2017, the core requirements for the BS are 68 to 79 hours, for the BA are 65 to 78 hours, for the BFA are 41 to 52, and for the BSAS are 54 to 59 hours.

    [3]Approved descriptions, justifications and criteria of these common courses are attached.

    [4]Due to significant logistical issues in implementing this course, CIV 31XX receives tentative approval from A&S Core Curriculum Review Task Force. Implementation would be expected following further study by the A&S Core Curriculum Advisory Committee.