Published: Oct. 4, 2016

Faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences have voted to revise the college’s core curriculum for the first time since 1988, a faculty committee announced Tuesday. The move will improve the educational experience for undergraduates in the college, proponents say.

The new core opens many academic avenues for University of Colorado Boulder students, particularly those interested in pursuing multiple majors, said Steven R. Leigh, dean of the college.

Steven Leigh

Steven R. Leigh

“We will be offering our students new levels of flexibility in determining their academic careers through the choices and possibilities the new curriculum holds. We also anticipate greater breadth of course offerings, and closer matches of our faculty expertise with these new courses,” Leigh said. 

“We are truly excited about the possibilities of the new curriculum for our students and faculty.” 

Faculty members voted to revise the core curriculum by a 458-73 margin, Robert D. Rupert, professor of philosophy and chair of the Arts and Sciences Council, reported Tuesday.

Voting was completed on Friday, but the council released the results only after verifying them. To pass, the proposal needed to win the support of 66 percent of the vote.

We are truly excited about the possibilities of the new curriculum for our students and faculty.” 

Under the guidelines of the new core curriculum, students must pass a minimum of 12 credits in each of the college’s three divisions: arts & humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

They will also be required to pass a minimum of nine credits in the skill-based areas of writing, mathematics, and foreign-language — the last of which is normally completed at the high-school level, Rupert said.

The emphasis on accumulating credits from each of the college’s divisions will foster critical thinking, advocates say. Many of CU Boulder’s peer universities have adopted similar core curricula.

Leigh praised the “outstanding” faculty-led effort to revise the core curriculum. Leigh said the college’s faculty-review committees, and especially its committee chairs, deserve “tremendous credit” for their dedication to the core-revision process.

In particular, Leigh praised Professor Emeritus Norman Pace, who chaired the initial review committee; Core Revision Committee co-chairs Professor Cora Randall and Professor Ann Schmiesing, who “devoted tremendous effort to this project”; and Arts and Sciences Council Chairs Professor Catherine Labio (2013-15) and Rupert (2015-17), who also devoted “significant time, energy and attention” to this effort. 

“The dedication of our faculty to this project has been remarkable,” Leigh added, noting that many members of the Arts and Sciences Council participated in “important and enlightening discussions” about the core, and recognizing the high-quality staff support to the Arts and Sciences Council from Janice Jeffryes.  

For more information about the core-curriculum revision, click here.