Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

New Core Helps Students Avoid The Core

    Apparently, fire and ice can coexist in the classroom. The two have found a place together in a Seattle University geology core class this year. This is one of many classes with a unique focus in the recently implemented new core curriculum, a change that had many students worried. It now seems that worry was misplaced.

    The revamped core instituted this year puts a much heavier emphasis on incorporating different aspects of the focus subjects into one discipline.

    A geology core class called “Fire and Ice” focuses on geology, but puts a more intensive focus on volcanoes and glaciers.

    This new academic outlook is geared toward offering students with more insightful, real-world classes.

    The transition to this new core, however, did spur some doubt.

    Coming into the year, a number of students were unsure of the change because other universities with similar programs often required students stay longer to finish courses. At packed campuses like San Diego State and San Francisco State, students had to stay an extra year or two to complete their degrees.

    Director of the core curriculum, Jeff Philpott wasn’t going to let the new core affect students in that way. The new core being was put in place with a “Do No Harm” policy, he said.

    In other words the faculty and staff did not want students having to retake classes or not get the classes they need.

    “We couldn’t have students not graduating on time because of core classes,” Philpott said.

    Administrators wanted to help students transition as smoothly as possible, which is why Philpott and over 200 other faculty members spent countless hours this summer developing and reviewing a total of 350 new courses.

    The focus was that each faculty member would learn from their colleagues and apply it to his or her own discipline; allowing for both the teachers and students a more well -rounded approach to learning.

    This new curriculum has four distinct modules.

    Module one is focused on academic inquiry and what it means to be a scholar.

    Module two focuses on the Jesuit tradition of learning and what it means to study disciplines like theology and philosophy. Module three puts an emphasis on global learning and how to deal with global issues through a spiritual lens.

    The fourth module is a bit more abstract—it’s an attempt to “connect the dots.” It was designed to aid students transition from “college” life into “adult” life.

    This module offers a time for students to take what they learned from the discipline and apply it to the world in a way that betters the global community.

    Students seem to be adjusting to the changes well.

    “The new core offers more options,” said junior criminal justice major, Nelly Villalpando. “In fact, it shortened my class requirements and made me not have to take a boring math class.”

    Villalpando works in the advising center and also said most incoming freshman have had little to no issues with the core.

    “The new core benefited me,” said another student, Jediah McCourt, a junior strategic communications major. “It cut out a couple of annoying classes I would’ve taken this quarter.”

    Because the new core allows professors to design classes with a little more freedom, courses have the opportunity to be new and different, said Caitlin Cairncross, an academic advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences.

    “The new core offers many different exciting courses that weren’t around last year like ‘Witch Hunts’ or ‘The Naked Self’,” she said. She continued to say that most complications within the core are with transfer students needing to switch classes. However, that is nothing new.

    She also specified that the creation of the Core Solutions Center on the north side of campus has helped students tremendously. The center is open during all add/drop periods in the start of quarters and stayed open all summer to allow incoming freshman and students living on campus to make changes to their schedule.

    It is still too early to tell whether or not these course and core changes will have any long-term effects on students, but for now the implementation has gone smoothly.

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