The University of Connecticut Senate has approved the implementation guidelines for the new Common Curriculum for all undergraduate students.
Senator Suzanne Wilson, Neag Endowed Professor of Teacher Education started the meeting by overviewing the new Common Curriculum timeline.
“The Common Curriculum for Leadership and Global Citizenship was approved by the University Senate on February 28th, 2022, contingent on the approval of a set of implementation guidelines that lay out a blueprint for the Common Curriculum implementation,” Wilson said.
The approved Common Curriculum plan back in February involved changes to the content areas system. The required competencies for all UConn students, including a writing area (W), a quantitative area (Q) and a language requirement will not be changed in the approved new Common Curriculum plan.
“the common curriculum for leadership and global citizenship was approved by the university senate on february 28, 2022, contingent on the approval of a set of implementation guidelines that lay out a blueprint for the common curriculum implementation.”Suzanne Wilson
The topics of inquiry (TOI), a revamp of the current content areas, include: creativity, design, expression and innovation (TOI-1), cultural dimensions of human experiences (TOI-2), diversity, equity and social justice (TOI-3), environmental literacy (TOI-4), individual values and social institutions (TOI-5), and science and empirical inquiry (TOI-6).
The meeting went through five implementation recommendations for the new Common Curriculum, core tasks of implementation, a timeline of the rollout and the budgeting for costs of implementing a new Common Curriculum.
The first implementation recommendation discussed was the creation of the Common Curriculum Committee Plus.
“The current bylaws empower the General Education Oversight Committee (whose name will be changed to the Common Curriculum Committee or CCC) with responsibility to monitor courses, review curriculum, and propose policy. The current voting members are faculty, one undergraduate student, and one graduate student… because implementation involves both courses/curriculum and understanding the organizational challenges of the implementation, we propose that CCC be supplemented with additional representation,” the approved guidelines state.
The additional representation includes faculty members from regional campuses, multiple undergraduates, an Office of the Registrar representative, an Admissions and Transfer Admissions representative, an Advising and Enrollment Office representative and more.
The second implementation recommendation was to identify Faculty Navigators and a Faculty Assessment Fellow.
“Faculty Navigators will not serve as gatekeepers, and they will not add an additional layer of curriculum oversight prior to submission to CCC Plus. Their role is advisory, providing support and resources and facilitating communication,” according to the approved guidelines.
“the current bylaws empower the general education oversight committee (whose name will be changed to the common curriculum committee or ccc) with responsibility to monitor courses, review curriculum, and propose policy. the current voting members are faculty, one undergraduate student, and one graduate student… because implementation involves both courses/curriculum and understanding the organizational challenges of the implementation, we propose that ccc be supplemented with additional representation.”Approved Guidelines
Faculty Navigators were also described as “intellectual hubs” who will lead boot camps and similar training. There will be 10-12 Faculty Navigators to start the new Common Curriculum, with each being paid $10,000 per academic year.
The next implementation recommendation discussed was to streamline the course approval process.
Senator Bedore, Associate Professor of English at Avery Point emphasized the fact that many courses will need to be revised or created.
“As we move into the new Common Curriculum, we are looking at creating a number of avenues for people to revise their current courses, create new courses and develop new themes. We want to take this time to look at our courses very carefully and revise them towards our new Common Curriculum,” Bedore said.
The fine details of streamlining all Common Curriculum courses will be outlined by an “ad hoc streamlining committee” created by the new CCC+. The “ad hoc streamlining committee” will submit a report no later than Oct. 2024 to the University Senate.
The fourth and fifth recommendations involved investing in faculty and course development and conducting analysis of the administrative needs for supporting the new Common Curriculum.
Senator Wagner, Professor of German Studies and Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies emphasized that more administrative support will be needed to launch the new Common Curriculum.
“as we move into the new common curriculum, we are looking at creating a number of avenues for people to revise their current courses, create new courses and develop new themes. we want to take this time to look at our courses very carefully and revise them towards our new common curriculum.”Senator Bedore
Senator Bird, Professor of Business Law currently estimates that the implementation of the new Common Curriculum would be $2,885,022. The variance in the cost of implementation is expected to change however, as plans develop.
The entire meeting lasted over two hours and proposed minor amendments to the current plan, along with amendments to the proposed amendments. The implementation guidelines passed by a vote of 54-4 with three abstentions.
The launch of the new Common Curriculum is expected during the 2025-2026 academic year. Students starting in Fall of 2025 will have to follow the new Common Curriculum, but students who are already enrolled prior to Fall of 2025 can choose whether to transfer to the new Common Curriculum or stick with the old system.
“The timeline enumerates many (but not all) of the tasks involved in implementation: redesigning student orientation, ensuring sufficient sections of the Common Curriculum on all campuses, ensuring sufficient sections of the General Education Curriculum (which some students will be completing), creating new forms for course creation and revision, building advisement reports, and the like,” the approved guidelines says.