The Undergraduate Core Curriculum Redesign Task Force sent out a survey to students on Jan. 23 asking for their input on upcoming redesigns to the core curriculum, expected to launch in the fall semester of 2025.
The Foghorn commends the University for its efforts to receive student input on such an important subject. Students should be aware of the efforts the University is making to deliver the full value of the education they pay for. As stakeholders, students should involve themselves in these processes.
The Redesign Task Force is part of a broader university-wide effort from the Office of the President to revitalize USF. In 2022, USF launched its five-year plan aimed at positioning the university to adequately prepare students to take on the rapidly changing world. This effort is coordinated by the Strategic Plan Advisory Council (SPAC), a representative group that “includes faculty, librarians, staff, and students.” According to the USF website, “the strategic plan articulates a vision for USF as deeply engaged in transformative social and environmental justice, responding thoughtfully and courageously to the multiple crises of this moment, and advancing a vision of a more just, sustainable future.”
Underneath SPAC are several “Working Groups,” each charged with ensuring a specific part of USF is ready for the future. For example, Working Group 2 is charged to “invest in and promote the scholarly, creative, and community-focused endeavors that advance justice and address the pressing challenges of our time.” Working Group 4 is focussed on leveraging USF’s partnerships and public outreach to increase school visibility.
Working Group 1 is aimed at reimagining Jesuit education, and while that includes many things, one of the objectives is to “revise USF’s curricula.”
As students may know, USF core curriculum includes a variety of subjects making up a liberal education: communication, mathematics and the sciences, humanities, philosophy, theology and religious studies, ethics, social sciences, and visual and performing arts.
In the survey, one of the questions asked was, “What skills and competencies are essential for a USF graduate to have acquired?” Though there were many options available, the Foghorn believes that in the age of both increased access to knowledge, but also the rapid proliferation of critical misinformation, information literacy is a critical skill that USF students must learn to be effective global citizens. Developing this skill must be a focal point of the core curriculum.
The content of the core curriculum isn’t the only thing up for redesign. The survey also asked students which classroom activities best promote learning. While each method of organizing classes, from lecture-based to small group-centric has its benefits, the Foghorn believes USF’s discussion-based classes are conducive to the kind of social-justice oriented learning the school strives for.
As USF embarks on this five-year plan, students play a crucial role in assisting the University to prepare us, and the students who will follow us, for the future. While the Foghorn has highlighted certain skills and formats we would like the University to emphasize, it is important that students across campus express their voices. The redesign of the core curriculum is one of many avenues to make yourselves heard.