Core curriculum changes proposed

Faculty and administration members are looking into lowering the required core curriculum hours in order to lessen students’ course loads and enrich their studies within their majors. 

The Core Curriculum Committee proposed its curriculum plan at noon on Wednesday, January 18, in Simmons Great Hall. Numerous professors and faculty members attended the meeting, along with four members of the curriculum committee.

Biology professor Jane Beers said during the meeting that the core curriculum committee is working to “develop the core curriculum that can maximize their experience.”

The Committee has worked to create a new core curriculum that would reduce the required core classes to 46 hours, compared to the currently required 55 hours. However, the plan is tentative and faces some concern from professors who offer courses that would be affected by the new core curriculum.

“The new curriculum has to do with the ever changing needs of a diverse set of programs trying to hold on to the core identity that means being a JBU graduate,” psychology professor Kevin Simpson said.

Simpson agreed that reducing core requirements would reduce pressure on the students, which could be a positive thing.

The committee shared with faculty members some of the courses that would need to be cut from the curriculum in order to lessen the load for students. Some courses that the committee is considering include lifetime fitness, American government and wellness activities. The courses would be dropped from the required core curriculum list and presented as electives instead.

Advantages of cutting these programs include allowing students to increase their focus on their major, and giving students more flexibility as they attempt to complete their degree in four years.

Many coaches and professors saw negative aspects of the curriculum change and spoke out about their concerns during the meeting.

The head coach of the women’s soccer team, Kathleen Paulsen, expressed the importance of the lifetime fitness course and how the class teaches her students fitness and overall wellbeing.

The assistant men’s basketball coach, Ty Beard, also teaches a section of lifetime fitness along with other health related courses. Like Paulsen, Beard was apprehensive aboutover the removal of the courses.

“The issue is taking out day to day fitness,” Beard said. “In our society it is important to have that wellness component.”

Beard had reservations regarding the new curriculum, but he also said that he can see the importance of changing the existing core curriculum.

This is only the second meeting of eight that the curriculum committee plans to hold, and they are very early in the decision process. Although there were initial concerns with the new plan, most faculty agreed that a change in the current curriculum plan is necessary.

John Brown University students are required to attend many core classes. Above students get ready for their philosophy class, an upper division core requirement.