Changes to Mason Core

This blog has been created in response to requests at the Town Hall Meeting held on October 30, 2013. This space provides the opportunity to comment on various changes that are currently being discussed by the Gen Ed committee. For more information on these changes, please review the PowerPoint presentation labeled “Town Hall Meeting.”



Synthesis to Capstone Experience

One of the areas that the General Education committee is considering involves the transition of the synthesis requirement to a Capstone Experience located in a major. Many departments currently use a capstone for the synthesis requirement. The challenge, however, is that the learning outcomes do not often match. Hence, come assessment time, synthesis courses will vary in terms of their ability to meet the outcomes for this category. The committee believes that the best culminating experience lies within a major; the challenge is to determine minimum requirements for this category.

What are your thoughts about the minimum requirements for this type of class?

Double Counting Credits

The current policy for general education requirements is that students must take discrete courses under each requirement. The Gen Ed committee is recommending to the Academic Policies committee of the Faculty Senate that students be able to count up to six credits in two or more categories. The advantage to this recommendation is that students will free up some credits to take in other areas. Programs with strict accreditation rules have no room for any other coursework. The ability to double count would provide more flexibility for students.

Thoughts/comments/suggestions are welcome.

How would a change in the synthesis requirement impact your department?

In thinking about changes to the Mason Core curriculum, it is challenging to determine what resource impacts will occur as a result of a possible change. For example, shifting to a capstone experience for majors could seem resource intensive, but that intensity might be mitigated with changes in lower level gen ed requirements. Another example might be that while shifting from synthesis could reduce resources, participating in a credentialing pathway (another plan for the Mason Core) could enhance student interest in a particular course.

What do you see as potential challenges for your local unit with a possible shift in the synthesis requirement?