Acknowledging a need for change, faculty and administration have collaborated to form the Core Task Force, a committee designed to discuss a new core curriculum.
The Faculty Senate, led by mathematics professor William Nathan, established a committee of 14 professors to continue an investigation started by a previous committee.
The original committee, which was put together by former Senate president Steve Zelnick, was established two years ago to concentrate on eight subject areas, such as social studies and humanities.
The 17-member committee disbanded in May 2002 after publishing their findings.
Their report listed a series of recommendations, including a need to review the current core curriculum, which was established in 1986.
For example, 350 writing intensive classes are offered at Temple, of which at least one-third are offered every semester.
The new task force hopes to investigate what is taught in these WI classes and establish some uniformity.
“The one thing that I want to make sure students understand is that there is no talk of increasing the core [requirements],” said English professor Eli Goldblatt, “We want to change the core to make it more intentional, so you know more why you take that course.”
The new task force plans to take last year’s results a step further.
They want to use the recommendations and suggestions to form a proposal on changes to the core.
A few members of the previous committee, such as Catherine Schifter, are on the new committee in order to provide continuity.
“Last year’s task force suggested changing the English Composition 50 course into a two semester course concerned with writing, speaking, research, technical and collaborative working [and] library use,” Goldblatt said, “everything that a first year student would find useful.”
There has not been a question on whether or not the core should exist.
Faculty feel obliged to teach the core in order to enrich the lives of students.
In fact, there has been skepticism toward the opposing side.
If there were no core, many students would be lost with the many options that college provides.
“When you think about what every college student should know when he or she graduates from Temple, the core should be the answer,” said Goldblatt, “It should list some competencies and provide a source of common experience.”
Although the committee isn’t designed to address issues within each school, Goldblatt said that university president David Adamany was “very concerned” with those issues.
The Core Task Force is planning to work alongside advisors and students, in order to create the best curriculum for all involved.
Students will be able to tell the committee about their own experience with the core.
Another area of concern is the core requirements for transfer students.
At least 50 percent of Temple students transfer into the school, and many say that the process of transferring credits is not student-friendly.
Current students will not be affected by the changes to the core.
Only students begin at Temple after the new rules are implemented will follow the new guidelines.
“The new proposal will probably take effect in fall 2004,” said assistant vice provost for core curriculum and transfer students Robert Schneider, “Students will be under a few different set of rules as the new core [is] implemented.”
Pooja Shah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org