In a report issued Thursday morning, the Task Force on General Education made six recommendations pertaining to undergraduate teaching that span from mandating foreign language studies regardless of prior proficiency to changes in the academic calendar.According to the report, the task force is recommending that the fall term start earlier and conclude in December. Under this new calendar, students would complete their final exams before winter break and have the opportunity to participate in a three week “January-term.” During this term, the University will offer both credit-bearing courses and not-for-credit co-curricular experiences for students, such as Princeternships and independent work opportunities. This January term would be optional for all students.Another recommendation of the task force is to encourage departments to create for-credit writing-intensive seminars for third-year students. These discipline-specific courses would require graded work, but would not replace the graded Junior Paper assignments. Additionally, the task force encouraged departments that currently require two JPs to consider consolidating the two assignments into a single, spring JP that counts for two units of credit. Though the task force recommended against permitting dual concentrations, it encouraged departments to consider offering “formalized joint or mixed concentrations.”The recommendations further support requiring both A.B. and B.S.E students to take at least one course that explores the “intersections of culture, identity, and power” and at least another course with international content. The report noted that courses in the former category would not just “probe diversity,” but explore aspects of race, gender, indigeneity, and other aspects of cultural identity. The courses with international content may explore topics such as trade, globalization, and cross-border conflicts.Moreover, the task force recommended requiring foreign language instruction for all A.B. students, regardless of existing proficiency. The report states that those who have sufficient Advanced Placement credit or native fluency would be required to take at least one 200-level or above course in the acquired language or an introductory course in a new language.Along with this new requirement, the report also recommended that undergraduates have flexibility in choosing the area of emphasis in their distribution courses. Though the distribution areas have not changed, the report recommends that students take one course in each area and pick three areas to take a second course in.The report also recommended the creation of “sophomore signature” courses that explore topics in public health, environmental conservation, global migration, and other social issues.The task force is chaired by Dean of College Jill Dolan. Students may submit comments and reactions to the report by November 25.

More to come...

Comments
Comments powered by Disqus