Is it out with Non Western and in with Senior Think Tank?

Is it out with Non Western and in with Senior Think Tank?

As students plan for next semester, we hear the recurring question, “what class do I take to fulfill X (general education requirement).” These conversations might soon become a thing of the past as the Skidmore Committee for Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) is currently reviewing, discussing and proposing changes to the current general education requirements.

On September 25th, at the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) meeting, Professor Kelly Sheppard provided an in depth overview of the new general education curriculum that the CEPP had formulated. According to the minutes from the IPPC meeting that are available online to the public, the new proposed curriculum includes:

  • Common Integrated Experiences (Wicked, Problems, Senior Think Tank, The Bridge Experience)
  • Foundational Courses (Quantitative Reasoning and Writing)
  • Modes of Inquiry (Applied Quantitative Reasoning, Artistic Inquiry, Cultural Inquiry through Language, Scientific Inquiry and Close Reading and Writing)
  • In-Major Courses (Oral Communication, Visual Literacy, Writing in the Major and Information/Technology Literacy)
  • Credit Requirements (24- not including Senior Think Tank)

“We on CEPP are in the process of receiving faculty feedback and do not expect to have a new draft until early next term,” said Professor and CEPP chair April Bernard.  The faculty will then have to vote to approve or not approve these changes which, according to the IPPC September 25th minutes, is expected to happen during the spring semester.  “If the faculty votes to implement the plan, working groups will be established to set criteria for each of the courses under discussion” said Bernard.

The CEPP committee currently views a Senior Think Tank course as anything ranging “from a single-credit to a four-credit course. It could be a pre-existing capstone course, a senior thesis, or something interdisciplinary. The crucial feature, as we currently envision it, would be that it also provide seniors with the opportunity to integrate the various components of the liberal arts education, in a conscious way with other students.” said Bernard.

"It is necessary for the college to review current practices to ensure that it is giving all students a stellar education and preparing us for life afterwards," said  student member of CEPP Megan Schachter '17.  

Bernard also said that the new requirements would not simply directly replace the current requirements, as “our hope is to provide more flexibility for students by decreasing the number of all college requirements, at least a little.”

"While it is clear that Skidmore gives students a terrific education, there is room for improvement within the current General Education requirements" said Schachter. 

Updated 11/16 at 9pm to reflect the comments of Megan Schachter.  

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