Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

University core curriculum being reassessed in implementation of Pioneer Vision 2030

After the announcement of Pioneer Vision 2030, step two of President Chris Brussalis’ university strategic plan, faculty members have been working on assessing and revising the university’s core curriculum, which has not been revised since 2017 nor completely restructured since 2014.


The current core curriculum is comprised of 42 credits with three fundamental courses of UNIV 101, COMM 101 and ENGL 101. The remaining courses consist of the themes; explore the world, investigative science, interpret creative works, understand people, success in business, appreciate and apply the arts and discover technology, and also capstone courses for designated majors. 


Dean of School of Arts and Sciences Josie Brown said that the core curriculum committee is taking several things into consideration, such as renaming courses so they are more recognizable and transfer-friendly–not only from other universities but within the university’s schools as well– and potentially bringing back placement tests and testing out of courses. Deciding whether to keep capstone courses in the core curriculum or move them to major requirements is also being considered.


“The purpose of the core is to provide students with a strong foundation so that they can be lifelong-learners with transferable skills that will help them to be successful in their future endeavors,” Brown said. “Both the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) have very specific requirements that we need to meet. The working group is using those guidelines to guide our conversation.”


The PDE requires a minimum of 40 credits for core curriculums and 120 total credits for a degree program. The MSCHE states that the core curriculum should have “essential skills including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency and information literacy. Consistent with this mission, the general education program should also include the study of values, ethics, and diverse perspectives.” Liberal arts universities, like Point Park, take a broader approach to education by focusing on the arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences through their core curriculum. 


Joy Chatfield is a freshman dance major. She wants more academic classes geared toward her major and thinks making credits more transferable is a “good idea.” 


“I understand taking academic classes about dance that are not physical dance, but I don’t understand taking an English class, doing things like writing essays; I don’t feel like it’s helpful to me or my future,” Chatfield said. “They’re definitely repetitive, especially the city university life class. It’s more about skills that a lot of us already have and was not a good use of our time… English and oral comm are repetitive.”


Ian Rodrigues, a freshman history major, said he likes the current flexibility of the core with his major. 


“I like the flexibility when it comes to being a history major because a lot of the choices are ones that I get to choose and I can easily minor in any one of the other majors that have to do with history and political science,” Rodrigues said. 


However, Rodrigues said that there is not a lot of flexibility to take courses of personal interest outside of his major in the core curriculum and that he wants more specific history courses. 


He said that he believes with the current faculty in his program it’s a possibility to restructure and provide more in depth history classes.


“I’ve seen the teachers and I know that they’re here but [the classes are] all broad strokes,” Rodrigues said.


Last spring, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) began a new kind of core curriculum that focuses on transformative texts and foundational experiences, which was designed to integrate the humanities into students’ credit loads rather than only adding additional time and expense. 


“Transformative texts” are defined as major works of literature, philosophy, historical sources, religious books, theatrical pieces, poetry and songs that encourage creative thinking, imaginative capacities and problem solving. Two classes focused on these texts are required in an IUP student’s first year, and classes in years two and three cover themes like law and government; mind, body, and health; management, information and organization; and science and the environment. Students complete their degrees with a professional research capstone project. 


Pioneer Vision 2030 focuses on three drivers of program excellence, student experience and community and three strategic enablers of growth, advancement and capacity. The goals outlined in the plan are hoped to be achieved by 2030 and include various initiatives outside of reassessing the core curriculum such as increasing alumni donations, creating mixed-generational housing to revitalize downtown Pittsburgh and expanding on-campus activities and athletics.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Point Park Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *