A Brief History of the New Core Curriculum

The new Core Curriculum is the result of a process that began in Spring 2005 when Dean Edward Kirby appointed the Committee on Assessment of Undergraduate Programs, chaired by Chemistry Professor John Sheridan, and charged it with an “assessment of the state of undergraduate programs.”  The committee met during 2005-’06.  It made a number of recommendations about undergraduate education including the development of a new curriculum with both horizontal and vertical components; a set of specific learning outcome goals; assessment of these learning outcomes both within the core curriculum and within programs; and the creation of new majors.


The Sheridan Report, as it was called, was turned over to the Committee on the Future of Undergraduate Education, co-chaired by Professors John Graham and Richard Langhorne, which met during 2006-’07, to turn the recommendations into a plan of action.  Like the Sheridan Committee, FUE recommended that the existing general education curriculum be simplified and that the new core should have both horizontal and vertical components.   The Committee noted that liberal arts and sciences are central to an undergraduate education.  Its chief addition to the plan for revising the core curriculum was the recommendation that every student be required to complete a second concentration in addition to the major.


Two subsequent committees refined the recommendations of the Sheridan and FUE committees and integrated them into a specific set of proposals. First, in January 2008, Chancellor Steven Diner convened the Working Group on Undergraduate Education and asked it to “articulat[e] a concrete proposal that would inform the faculty and lay the groundwork for a substantive discussion in the faculty.”  This committee, which was co-chaired by FASN Dean Philip Yeagle and RBS Dean Michael Cooper and whose members came from across the campus, issue its report in June of that year.  Dean Yeagle then convened an Ad Hoc Curriculum Committee to refine the proposals further and prepare them for the FASN faculty, which began discussing them in Spring 2009 and adopted them, in slightly amended form, in Fall 2009, with full implementation for Fall 2012.