Recently there has been talk on campus at the University of Nevada that core curriculum requirements are changing. So we took the question to university administrators to find out just what will be different for incoming students.
According to Provost Kevin Carman, the curriculum is definitely facing changes, however the options on the table range from small tweaks to bigger overhauls.
"We want to make sure that they have good communication skills, quantitative skills, and critical thinking skills," Carman said. "It's just a question of how one achieves that."
The final decision on what to do with the undergraduate core curriculum is in Carman's hands.
About three years ago, the university's accrediting organization handed down a requirement that the school adjust its core classes.
The changes are all about adding what are called "competencies," 13 categories that administrators say together, make up an ideal college education.
"You need to be able to have the quantitative skills to analyze the data," Carman said, "the critical thinking skills to take complex ideas and put them together, the writing skills to be able to develop a report on what you found, and the verbal skills to get up in front of a group and communicate them."
Right now there are two main options on the table for the core curriculum: to keep it basically the same but adjust certain methods of teaching for those competencies, or implement the alternative "silver" plan which would make broader changes to the classes themselves.
Overall, Carman said students won't see a huge change in their course load. They will still be taking basic classes like math, English, and science. But after the changes go through, for example in a Chemistry class, students would be called on to not just learn chemistry, but also present their findings visually and verbally to give them a more well-rounded skill set.
"We know that for them to be able to be successful, that they have to be able to communicate well," Carman said. "At the end of the day, it's about being accountable for the quality of the education we are delivering."
This is the first time in about 20 years that the school has considered major changes to its core curriculum. The new curriculum would be implemented starting in the fall of 2015.
Written by Arianna Bennett