The UCORE Committee is in the process of approving more than 120 courses that comply with new general education requirements. The new classes, which will be available to students fall 2012, are part of a transition from the General Education Requirements (GERs) to the University Common Requirements (UCORE).
Tom Tripp, chair of the committee, said the new course guidelines are written explicitly to help students achieve WSU’s new learning goals.
“The current GE (general education) program isn’t very well aligned with the learning goals,” he said. “It’s kind of lost its coherency.”
While Tripp said the GER program functioned well when it began, WSU has used it for more than 20 years. It is time for a change, he said.
In addition to the change in focus, UCORE will also require students to take fewer credits, he said. Under UCORE, students will take 11 courses (34 credits) or 10 courses (30 credits) if they take an integrated capstone course. In the current general education system, students must earn about 40 credits.
The committee wanted to provide more flexibility and simplify the requirements for students, Tripp said.
According to the University College website, all UCORE courses are required to include writing and information literacy components.
UCORE will go into effect for freshmen in fall 2012 and for transfer students in fall 2013.
After the new requirements are implemented, upperclassmen may switch from GER to UCORE, but Tripp warned students not to put off Gen Ed classes to wait for UCORE. They might not be able to stay on track, he said.
According to the website, courses introduced in the 2012-13 academic year will primarily replace freshman GER courses with high enrollment. The committee will then begin to approve upper division courses.
Former Faculty Senate Chair Max Kirk helped pass the UCORE proposal in April and said he thinks the changes will benefit students.
“It was a lot of work, but it all worked for the better,” he said. “We got something in that’s going to be great for students.”
He said the UCORE requirements provide a streamlined update that the curriculum needed, especially with the abundance of students. The mandatory history classes were eliminated, which makes the requirements more applicable, he said.
“It was overhauled in the correct way,” Kirk said.
ASWSU is also involved in the process of introducing the new requirements. Daniel Vickoren, ASWSU director of academic affairs, sits on the UCORE Committee, and ASWSU Vice President Amanda Spalding said ASWSU supports the transition away from GERs.
“The GER developing into UCORE allows for student development to match the increasingly competitive nature of higher education,” Spalding said in an email to The Daily Evergreen. “ASWSU supports the idea of Washington State University producing students with both intellectual and practical skill sets.”
Spalding said the UCORE guidelines will help students prepare for life after college.
“The UCORE guidelines were developed with the students’ best interest at heart,” she said.
In addition to new course requirements, with UCORE also comes a new focus. The new “WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes” are:
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Scientific Literacy
- Information Literacy
- Depth, Breadth and Integration of Learning