Changes to the general education core curriculum have been approved to eliminate the requirement for PFW courses, labs and university seminar courses.
The general education core curriculum is the courses all students attending Texas State must take, said Provost Eugene Bourgeois. Although the university no longer requires students to take PFW courses as part of the core curriculum, major and minor degree programs may still require students to take them, he said.
Officials also removed the lab requirement for science classes from the core curriculum, Bourgeois said, so students can now take two science courses without labs. However, if a student is majoring in the sciences they will be required to take courses with labs because that is part of the prerequisites for a higher level science class, he said.
“That does mean that students who are not majoring in the sciences, engineering or otherwise have majors that require higher level science classes—they do not necessarily have to take a class with the lab,” Bourgeois said.
The US 1100 class will also no longer be a requirement in the core curriculum, but it will still be required for students participating in the PACE program, Bourgeois said. All freshmen with 15 or fewer hours go through the PACE Center and will therefore be required to take US 1100, he said.
The changes, approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, decrease the core curriculum from 46 to 42 hours. The coordinating board has also developed new “core objectives” that all courses must incorporate and assess in the new core curriculum for fall 2014.
The recommendations for the changes were made by the general education council, Bourgeois said. The council decided to remove the lab and PFW requirements to “get from 46 to 42 hours” while keeping the same amount of core courses, Bourgeois said.
Additionally, the changes to the core curriculum state all core courses must incorporate critical thinking and communication skills as well as two additional objectives, with the exception being mathematics courses, Bourgeois said.
Courses will now be assessed through the new objectives to see how students are performing in those areas, said Ron Brown, assistant vice president for Academic Services.
“What’s different is that before, a faculty member might or might not specifically target these so called core objectives or competencies in their individual classes, now they don’t have a choice—they have to do it,” Brown said.
The new core curriculum requirements will apply to new students in fall 2014, but thechanges also have the potential to affect currently enrolled students. Current students have the option to move into the new curriculum next fall if they wish, said Mickey Autrey, director of curriculum services.
Autrey said she thinks the main reason the coordinating board made the changes is to make the transfer process between community colleges and universities “more streamlined.”
The changes will be published in the undergraduate catalog and all academic advisors will be informed of the changes, Autrey said.
“The timing of it is very sensitive in that we get as much of the revisions out to the advisors to give to the students so that we get accurate registration,” Autrey said.” But some of that may take a while to get the changes made.”