New undergrad curriculum ready in fall

January 26, 2006, vol. 35, no. 2
By Diane Luckow

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With new courses boasting titles like Conceiving Creativity; Logarithm and Blues, or The Art and Craft of Problem Solving, SFU's new undergraduate curriculum initiative is on target for implementation in September.

The new curriculum places increased emphasis on writing skills, quantitative reasoning and breadth of study. For new undergraduates registering next September, degree requirements will include at least six credit hours of writing-intensive instruction, six credit hours of quantitative-reasoning instruction and 24 credit hours in areas outside their majors.

Over the past three years, faculty have significantly revised or modified more than 85 existing upper and lower division courses to accommodate the new curriculum and have developed about 30 new courses designed to increase students' abilities to write, to appreciate different ways of looking at the world and to understand quantitative reasoning. Most of the courses have already been piloted.

The next step is to assess whether the curriculum initiative meets the goals set for it. The assessment process, led by Cheryl Amundsen, associate professor of education and Cathie Dunlop, program director of the evaluation unit under continuing studies, involves examining the goals and expectations of all participants. This includes the original task force, support groups, faculty, individual professors, and students. It also involves devising ways to measure whether the initiative is meeting the goals.

“The point of the assessment process is not just to document progress, but to continue to build commitment from all of the people at all levels who are involved,” explains Amundsen.

For example, she says, administrators will want feedback about students' acceptance, while professors will want information about direct learning results. She says that assessment information will be made public as the process unfolds.

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