By SOFIA CARRASCO
Salisbury University hopes to implement a new model for general education requirements by the fall 2018 semester, pending approval by a majority faculty vote.
The 2018 model includes three major changes that will only impact new, incoming students. This proposed plan will slowly be introduced and is projected to be fully implemented by 2022.
Due to the connection with the University System of Maryland (USM), SU cannot make changes that would upset the consistent curriculum across Maryland schools. Thus meaning the core curriculum, including English literature, math, science and history courses will still be required.
The main difference in the new distributional model is that it will not be organized by the above disciplines, but organized by the learning outcomes students should gain from each course. Examples of these outcomes include critical thinking and reasoning, information literacy and intellectual curiosity, said Associate Professor Dr. James King.
President Janet Dudley-Eshbach appointed King as co-chair with Dr. Melissa Boog, the associate vice president of academic affairs, to lead the steering committee in creating and revising new requirements.
King said that SU is part of only 8 percent of the national college and universities that still only use a distributional model. The other 92 percent of secondary education institutions have moved onto other ways.
King hopes that introducing this new model will advance Salisbury as an institution, but also increase the success of students.
As an associate professor of English literature, King has been employed at SU for 10 years. With that experience, he argues that these changes will help students see how courses intersect and connect to one another.
Courses will be required to list the specific learning outcomes in the syllabus.
“So students know upfront, I’m taking this course for this reason, not just to fill a requirement,” King said.
The First Year Experience is the second change that King proposes in the 2018 model.
This is a course ranging from one to four credits for all first year SU students, regardless of academic year, King said.
“We want to try and empower students with knowledge that will help them to be better at their discipline, major, or professional program focus a little further down the road,” King said.
The First Year Experience applies to traditional college students, transfer students and non-traditional students to give them all the same tools to be successful.
Another important component is the Themed Integrated Course/Experience. These courses will be a combination of two disciplines and will initially be a team-taught course with two professors.
“[These] are intended to try to exploit the expertise of our faculty,” King said. “To invite them to create coursework that plays on their strengths.”
Potential course combinations are still being discussed and finalized by the steering committee. Despite the planning, nothing can move forward until there is a consensus.
There must be a majority faculty vote by the end of the current spring semester in order for the 2018 model to become a reality.
The challenge now is to find a date and time that all Salisbury University faculty members will be present on campus to vote.