Faculty needs to submit final plans to keep Kent Core past 2013

Megan Wilkinson

Why should I care?

Kent State installed the Kent Core in 2010, but wants to reduce the number of courses students can take when all are reviewed by spring.

There will be fewer general education options for students next academic year if the university acts on this proposal.

Provost Robert Frank encouraged faculty members to begin submitting their assessment plans for the Kent Core at the Oct. 10 faculty senate meeting. He urged faculty members to consider reducing the number of courses within the Kent Core.

Senior associate provost Timothy Chandler said its important for faculty to think about this because the Core since it’s in the middle of an ongoing review.

“Students seem to have difficulty navigating some of the current requirements — particularly those involving the humanities category and the additional category,” Chandler wrote in an email.

All of the Core courses are currently being looked at by faculty members. Donald Williams, Honors College dean and University Requirements Curriculum Committee chairman, wrote in an email that academic departments began submitting their Core assessment plans this semester to keep the Core in place past 2013.

The URCC is focusing on the writing intensive course core requirement and the diversity core requirement this year. Williams wrote that the URCC hopes to continue discussions on both these issues to figure out their overall effectiveness.

Timothy S. Moerland, dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said that three professors from his department already turned in their Core reviews.

Top 10 Kent Core classes offered this semester by enrollment

1- PSYC 11762 (1,891 students Fall 2011) (general psychology)

2- ENG 11011 (1,783 students Fall 2011) (college writing 1)

3- COMM 15000 (1,347 students Fall 2011) (intro to human communication)

4- PHY 11030 (1,236 students Fall 2011) (seven ideas that shook the universe)

5- ENG 21011 (1,223 students Fall 2011) (college writing 2)

6- SOC 12050 (1,204 students Fall 2011) (intro to sociology)

7- MUS 222121 (1,021 students Fall 2011) (music as a world phenomenon)

8- ECON 22060 (910 students Fall 2011) (principles of microeconomics)

9- MATH 11010 (815 students Fall 2011) (algebra for calculus)

10- MATH 11009 (745 students Fall 2011) (modeling algebra)

“Those three represent only the tip of the iceberg,” Moerland said. “We have an obligation to our students to continuously review our course offerings and our curricula.”

Chandler said the university placed a “moratorium” on all of the Core courses, which means no courses could be added or dropped in this area until all are fully assessed. The moratorium placed on the Kent Core will be lifted by May 2012.

“I think cutting the Core is one way of trying to make the navigation of education easier for students,” Chandler said. “Whether there should be a reduction is part of the conversation at Kent State.”

Kent State administrators first announced the need to reduce the number of Core courses to help more students graduate on time last academic school year. Terese Tillett, director of curriculum services, said only about a third of the Kent Core courses are frequently taken by students.

“No one wants to talk about cutting classes,” Tillett said. “But students can get bogged down by all the possibilities when picking classes.”

Tillett said reducing the number of Core courses for students would help narrow the focus of liberal arts choices for undergraduate students.

Jonathan Secaur, assistant professor of physics, only teaches two different Kent Core courses this academic year. He said he values the Kent Core and does not want to see the number of offerings reduced.

“I can see the president’s point in making sure all students have a similar experience and that he wants to make sure people don’t have trouble switching majors,” Secaur said. “But more importantly, the proposal could hurt students by limiting the number of options they have.”

Secaur said Core courses help students have a more diverse educational background, and one of his concerns is whether professors will be able to develop more Core courses or labs after the moratorium is lifted.


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“I’m really involved in starting some online distance learning lab classes in physics, but if we have to cut our Core down, this may not happen,” he said. 

Amber Stephens, sophomore international relations major, said she does not agree with the idea of cutting Kent Core courses.

“I wouldn’t like to see the university add a lot of extra Core classes, but cutting down the number would limit the range of education students can receive,” Stephens said.

Chandler said the Core curriculum should be more dynamic.

“I don’t think the curriculum should ever be static, and to suggest that the Kent Core is fixed forever would be an error,” Chandler said.

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].