Undergraduate core-curriculum changes announced

Undergraduate core-curriculum changes announced

Two significant changes to the University of St. Thomas undergraduate core curriculum were implemented at the end of the fall 2008 semester.

PHED 100 ("Foundations for Fitness") and all levels of the Computer Competency requirement have been eliminated for all students effective immediately. These requirements have been removed from all degree evaluations and the elimination of these requirements applies to all catalog years and graduation dates.

Dr. Michael C. Jordan, director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and professor of English, explained that these actions were initiated by the university's Core Curriculum Committee and were approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and by the university faculty through the faculty-consent procedure.

Jordan said the proposal to eliminate PHED 100 as a graduation requirement was first made by the Core Curriculum Task Force in its final report in July 2006. "After deciding that we should no longer have a zero-credit requirement in the core, the task force considered whether there was another way to include PHED 100 in the core as a credit-bearing course. The task force concluded that nothing else in the core should be cut to make room for a credit-bearing PHED requirement and that the core should not be expanded in size to accommodate an additional two credits.

"These decisions were ultimately endorsed by the Core Curriculum Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The Health and Human Performance Department has been encouraged to develop a credit-bearing elective course so that PHED 100 would continue to be available to students who choose to take it," he said.

Jordan said that the Computer Competency Requirement, first introduced into the core curriculum in the revision that took place in the mid 1990s, was deemed by the Core Curriculum Committee to have fulfilled its purpose and to be no longer necessary.

Almost all students now arrive at St. Thomas with basic computer-competency skills, Jordan noted. The library workshop component will continue to be provided to students through cooperation between library staff and faculty by incorporating workshops into classes in conjunction with particular assignments, but St. Thomas no longer will track such workshops on degree evaluations.

"The requirement had also originally been intended to encourage faculty to incorporate information technology into the curriculum where appropriate," Jordan said, "and that intention has been fulfilled."

Questions about these curriculum changes can be addressed to Jordan at mcjordan@stthomas.edu.