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Curriculum reform

October 8, 2010

Yes, the rumors are true; the faculty is discussing curriculum reform. But this is nothing new, nothing extraordinary. Every faculty in every college constantly makes adjustments that reflect student needs, faculty leaving or retiring, the skills of new faculty, and the availability of new equipment and buildings. Also, about every faculty generation — twenty years or so — the curriculum that met the needs of the past has to be brought into line with the needs of today.

This does not necessarily affect you. You can choose the graduation requirements of any catalog in force during your time at Monmouth College. The impact on your major, the number of courses available, and so forth, cannot be predicted yet, as the discussions are still in an early stage. Most likely, many of you will have graduated before they have much effect.

President Ditzler sees bold steps as necessary to position the college for the challenges of the future, but the decision rests in the hands of the faculty, which are, by charter, given the responsibility for the curriculum; the trustees, who oversee the general welfare of the college and control the finances, hope that the faculty can make proposals by February that would allow them to see better what direction the college should take.

The individual departments are discussing what would be the impact of various changes in the graduation requirements, and the faculty as a whole is meeting to discuss the larger issue of how this would affect allocation of resources, workload, the perceived desires of students and parents, recruiting new students and transfers, and the like. This is not a process that works well in a large public arena. Traditionally at Monmouth College, when a firm proposal is ready, all the publics — faculty, administration, trustees, students and alumni — will have an opportunity to offer their opinions and advice.

So do not be alarmed by rumors. Have a bit of trust in us; remember that the faculty may decide that minor changes are sufficient; and  I believe that you might even welcome changes that would correct those aspects of our curriculum that some of you find irksome.

Guest Columnist

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