UNT core curriculum under review, focus placed on senior courses

Published online at NTDaily.com on 1/26/17

Julia Falcon | Senior Staff Writer
Kayla Davis | Staff Writer

A review of UNT’s core curriculum by faculty and educators has put focus on the capstone and discovery courses required for every degree.

The third university-wide town hall meeting was held on Jan. 18 and discussed the possible changes that could be made to the senior-level courses students have to take, also known as the component area option of the core curriculum. The component area option is being discussed to help better fit the students and a public forum is required before changes can take effect.

The core curriculum are classes every undergraduate has to take such as English, math and natural sciences totaling 39 credit hours. The Component Area Option composes the last 6 credit hours a student has to take in their degree, bringing the grand total to 45 credit hours.

The component area option of the Texas Core Curriculum is the ninth area of courses in the core.

In option A of the TCC, students have a minimum of three semester credit hours that must meet the definition and corresponding core objectives specified in one of the foundational component areas, that is, the areas students cover throughout their major.

In option B there are three semester credit hours that must meet the definition of one or more foundational component areas, including a minimum of three core objectives: critical thinking, communication, and one remaining objective of the institution’s choice.

Vice Provost for Faculty, Dr. Christy Crutsinger, said that if anything were to change, it would be within the next two years.

“It [component area option] has to go through the approval process at the university which would take probably until the end of the year and go to the THECB,” Crutsinger said. “They open their portal once a year, so it would be until next April until we submit, and two years out at the least with the best case scenario. Right now there is no definitive proposal, it is just conversation.”

The eight other areas of the TCC include communication, mathematics, life and physical sciences, language, philosophy, culture, creative arts, american history, government/political science, and social and behavioral sciences. Core curriculums are required for higher education institutions by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Some arguments supporting the change is that core classes and component area options don’t benefit all majors. Biology senior Morgan Harris said the discovery course she took added more stress to her already stressful schedule.

“I ended up taking a music course and it was an online course,” Harris said. “I ended up getting a B. It’s not something I needed but it ended up lowering my GPA.”

Associate professor of teacher education and administration, Jeanne Tunks, said that it is important for everyone to attend these meetings and encourages people to ask questions.

“There is a lot of discussion that happens at each meeting,” Tunks said. “The different people and discussions make it interesting and fun. Different constituents have different concerns. Advisors have different concerns from, say the dean.”

Tunks said that the THECB is tedious, and she wanted to simplify this process for everyone.
“The core curriculum board is there to support faculty, and meet expectations without the pressure,” Tunks said. “They all want what is best for the students, which is impressive to me. That is my main concern, the students. I want to make sure you guys do the best you can, and we need to do the most for the students.”

English freshman Adam Leyra-Argeñal is enjoying his theater course that fulfills his discovery course requirement but is more concerned about the core classes he has to take.

“Honestly I’m concerned about classes that are inconsequential to me,” Leyra-Argeñal said. “I’m an English major and my biology class was neat but if I didn’t have to take it I would have less tuition and less loans.”

The rule by the THECB states, “through the Texas Core Curriculum, students will gain a foundation of knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning.”

The review of the curriculum began when the THECB rejected UNT’s proposal to have all capstone courses, as opposed to both discovery and capstone courses.

“Both our curriculum, Core oversight and THECB say we have to have conversation about Core and that people will need to have voice in that,” Crutsinger said.

The next town hall meetings will be from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Feb. 10 in GAB room 104, and Mar. 8 in Chilton Hall room 245.


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