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Introducing the Core Curriculum

The discussions leading to the revision of our general education program began in 2006 at the instigation of President Kopp. Leaders of a broad spectrum of programs across campus were invited to examine the strengths and limitations of the Marshall Plan and to investigate ways of designing and implementing a core curriculum. This group, known as the “Core Foundations ad hoc Committee” continued to meet over the next three years. The group examined a number of ideas that would help focus Marshall’s general education program around a core of competencies. In the spring of 2009, the group formalized their work and made recommendations for a Core Curriculum to the Faculty Senate. Following the passage of those recommendations, the General Education Council was formed.

In the fall of 2009, the General Education Council was created to provide guidance and monitor the transition to the new University-wide Core Curriculum passed by the Faculty Senate. This new core model provides that all Marshall University students, entering in Fall 2010 and thereafter, will complete a first year seminar (FYS) and two critical thinking intensive (CT) courses. These three courses, labeled “Core I,” have a common emphasis on critical thinking and provide the foundation for further general education courses as well as study in the majors. In addition, all students regardless of major are required to complete courses in the disciplines to provide breadth to general education. These courses include two courses in Composition and one course each in Communication, Humanities, Fine Arts, Social Science, Mathematics, and Physical/Natural Science. This additional menu of courses is called “Core II.” Finally, all Marshall graduates will be required to complete two additional Writing Intensive courses as well as one Multicultural/International course prior to graduation.

First Year Seminar courses are developed by a group of faculty drawn from across the campus, under the direction of the Coordinator for First Year Seminar, Jennifer Sias. Core I courses can be proposed by any department. They can be existing courses, modified to include the essential elements of critical thinking that are taught and reinforced across all Core I offerings. Or they can be new courses designed to accomplish the goals of Core I. Once designed according to the guidelines passed by the Faculty Senate, the course change or course addition proposals are reviewed and approved by the colleges in which the proposals originate. Approved proposals are sent to the GEC for approval. When passed by the GEC, they are forwarded to the University Curriculum for final approval before being offered for instruction. The General Education Council has reviewed a number of Core I course proposals. Those that have passed the Faculty Senate are listed below. The GEC has solicited course options for Core II courses from the colleges and has formed subcommittees to develop an e-portfolio system and to approve multicultural/international courses.

In addition to the dozens of First Year Seminar courses to be offered starting in the fall of 2010, a number of courses have been approved as Core I (CT) courses. Follow the CORE I Course List link on this page to find a listing of approved Core I courses.

The GEC continues to solicit Core I course proposals as presented by the colleges. The Council also continues to review multicultural/international course submissions, modifications to the Core II menu of courses, and the progress of the proposed e-portfolio system. Questions about the work of the General Education Council should be directed to College representatives to the Council, or to