Published: Oct. 5, 2017

Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) voted in September 2016 to implement new General Education (Gen Ed) requirements that will replace the A&S Core Curriculum.

In February, CU Boulder Today announced the implementation process had begun with the appointment of the General Education Implementation Committee (GEIC), an ad hoc committee of the Arts and Sciences Council (ASC) chaired by Professor Cora Randall from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Teaching excellence in Arts & Sciences.Since that time, the committee has been mapping existing courses to the new A&S Gen Ed categories, working with A&S units and divisional chairs and directors to reach agreement on Gen Ed assignments of all grandfathered courses, and meeting with key stakeholders (deans, chairs, faculty, advisors, etc.) to provide updates and seek input on the process.

Why are the A&S core requirements being changed?

In 2013 the ASC charged an ad hoc Core Curriculum Review Committee (CCRC) with exploring the question of whether or not the A&S Core Curriculum should be revised. The motivation behind this exploration was concern about whether the current A&S Core, which was implemented in 1988, still met the needs of A&S students.

The CCRC submitted a report that was approved by ASC vote in October 2014, concluding, "The core curriculum should be revised, at least to some extent, in the interests of modernization and to better reflect the strengths and diversity of the college today."

In explaining this recommendation, the CCRC report cited "fundamental changes in the instructional approaches that lead to the best student learning outcomes, and the technology with which we produce and process knowledge. In particular, expansion of information technology has revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and disseminate knowledge, and the ways in which we know the world-at-large."

A second committee, the Core Curriculum Revision Committee, was formed in 2015 and tasked with drafting a proposal for a revised core. In light of our rapidly evolving information society, this committee proposed to switch from the current A&S core with prescribed content areas to a distribution core.

The proposed revised core curriculum, which is now being referred to as the A&S General Education core curriculum, was approved in September of 2016 by vote of the A&S faculty members. The proposal was approved by a margin of 86 percent to 14 percent, with 56 percent of the eligible faculty members voting.

New Gen Ed curriculum

Scheduled to take effect in August 2018, the new Gen Ed requirements are designed to allow students to pursue their passions while also ensuring they venture into diverse areas of learning. Randall said one of the primary changes is to switch to a “distribution model.”

“Under this new model, six of the seven current ‘content’ categories are being streamlined into three distribution categories: arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences,” Randall said.

“The new model is designed to evolve as society changes and technology advances and to expose students to diverse methodologies, perspectives and fields of inquiry.”

Randall added students will still be required to demonstrate proficiency in written communication, quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills (QRMS) and foreign language, and they will be required to take two diversity courses.

Advisors will be trained on the new curriculum by mid-February, at which point it will be formally announced to students. For more information, including more details about the new requirements and what is changing, visit the General Ed Implementation Committee website.