Curriculum changes studied

Spring is around the corner, and with it the opportunity for deep cleaning and a makeover. With that idea in mind, the 2014 core curriculum change is coming into play.

The Amarillo College core curriculum already consists of classes every student is required to take for their degree plan. An art degree will require less science than a science major would need.

To the “Core Curriculum Revisions, Assessment and Timeline” put together by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, there are a few areas to be addressed for re-evaluation.

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Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, vice president of academic affairs, said this upcoming change will force AC to focus more on how faculty teaches by delivering more active learning, asking for more critical thinking in students and fostering stronger communication between teachers and students.

Together, the staff and student body will strive for more out of the basics and new learning strategies, technologies and new challenges to conquer along the way.

Students have needs to strive for more than what they have conquered or acquired.

In order to grow and move forward in education, students need to learn on a deeper level.

The state of Texas, along with AC faculty members, is committed to giving students a more effective core curriculum.

Jerry Moller, dean of arts and sciences, said with new changes to the curriculum, every university a student tries to transfer to will take the core class credits, protecting AC students’ “transferability.”

Course proposals made by department chairs and other faculty members will be submitted by February 2014 and will go into effect in fall 2014.

In a report to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee brought up revising the general education core curriculum “to ensure that it reflects current and future demands on student knowledge and skills.”

Jason Norman, director of advising, said the new core curriculum will establish what courses are vital to have, thus creating not only a well-rounded core but also well-rounded students.

Many universities and colleges have some sort of freshman or new student seminar in their cores, and one change will be to have a seminar required here as well. AC already offers the First Year Seminar course.

Norman referred to the first seminar course as an “insurance course,” meaning it will help students to prioritize and know how to approach their education.

Dr. Lana Jackson, First Year Experience chairwoman and a professor as well as a member of the task force entrusted with the details of the process, said the biggest change to take place will be a determination of six objectives to be met by all core classes.

The general education competencies will consist of the following:

  • Critical Thinking Skills: common sense.
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills: the ability to read and interpret information outside of talking or anything gathered with common sense.
  • Teamwork: being able to work well with others.
  • Personal Responsibility: being responsible for one’s actions.
  • Social Responsibility: learning and understanding the whole picture.

Teachers on campus have been involved in the statewide process to ensure an educational experience that allows all students to thrive.

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