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Regents Approve Revised Core Curriculum for University System

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Revision Builds Upon Ease of Student Transfer Within System

Atlanta — October 14, 2009

The University System of Georgia’s (USG) governing body, the Board of Regents, took a step today to revise the core undergraduate curriculum. The regents approved a revised core curriculum, the basic courses all students must take in order to earn a degree, in order to help students complete their majors in a timely way, strengthen the focus on liberal arts, preserve the ability of students to transfer courses across institutions, and boost the assessment of student learning. The new core will go into effect in the fall of 2011.

“This is a major step for the University System,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst. “We have engaged hundreds of our faculty from across the system in a comprehensive process over the past year to create a flexible and rigorous general education curriculum.”

The revised core builds upon one of the University System’s strengths as revealed in a review of higher education systems nationwide –– the relative ease with which students in the System’s 35 degree-granting colleges and universities can transfer between USG institutions.

“The ability of a student to transfer easily between institutions positions that student to graduate more quickly,” Herbst said in a presentation of the new core curriculum to the regents. “Transfer lies at the heart of core curriculum issues for large systems, but we must also protect the unique missions of all colleges and universities. The core curriculum committee, presidents, administrators and faculty have done an excellent job of reconciling these competing goals to the benefit of all students.” She said that the committee used this “unrivaled transferability” as the foundation upon which the new core curriculum was built.

A ten-member Core Curriculum Evaluation Committee, chaired by Professor George Rainbolt of Georgia State University, oversaw the revision process and conducted the review of higher education systems’ core curriculums.

The revised core curriculum supports the Board’s Strategic Plan Goal One, which calls for a renewal of excellence in undergraduate education to meet students’ 21st century educational needs. This marks the first major revision of the core curriculum since 1998.

The new core curriculum is designed to:

  • give all students a broad liberal arts education;
  • mandate more assessment of student learning than ever before in the USG’s history;
  • enable students to finish their majors/degrees in a more timely fashion;
  • protect the already-strong within-USG transfer between institutions; and
  • give USG institutions the flexibility to create unique core curricula that give students a powerful, shared, intellectual experience and allow students to choose an institution that fits their needs and interests.

The revised core curriculum includes the addition of new learning outcomes, which allows educators and the public to assess how effective teaching really is in a college or university.

Rainbolt said that the USG core curriculum is vital to the entire state of Georgia. “The core represents the primary body of knowledge all undergraduate students must master in order to graduate,” he said. In addition, Rainbolt said that with the new core curriculum, every student who graduates from a USG institution will have demonstrated critical thinking abilities, as well as a solid understanding of their nation’s role in the world.

The core curriculum demands that students understand the general nature of the sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the fine arts. “This broad, rigorous education will enable them to become strong leaders of their communities, businesses and professions in the future,” said Herbst.

To see details of the USG’s new core curriculum, visit: http://core.usg.edu/

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