Truman State University is working to significantly change its liberal arts and sciences program, a difficult process which started in 2015 and has seen several proposals and sparked disagreements in the faculty and administration.
The current proposal in Faculty Senate was rewritten during the summer and replaces the current modes with four perspectives. The setup will continue the tradition of having to meet a certain requirement of hours within each perspective. There is also the creation of a freshman seminar that would be more interdisciplinary focused.
Bridget Thomas, a nonvoting member of the Undergraduate Council and Faculty Senate, said the plan began with former University President Troy Paino’s challenge to start brainstorming ideas to recreate the curriculum. After the challenge, action committees developed a list of ideas and the blueprint teams were created.
Thomas said the blueprint teams were charged with reviewing what the action committees had to offer and consolidate those into a more developed idea. After the committees had a basic idea of what they wanted, the proposal moved into the next step. The bill was drafted, and it was presented at a UGC meeting.
The most crucial change of the proposal was the addition of two freshman seminars, as well as a shift from dividing the curriculum into qualitative and quantitative modes and instead into four “worlds” in which students could choose courses from.
“The idea behind changing it to ‘worlds’ was that courses were not tied to disciplines as much,” Thomas said. “The idea is that the preface shouldn’t dictate whether a student takes the course.”
Thomas said UGC had no serious problems with the bill and voted to move it into the Senate with little hesitation. Since then, though, the bill has been stuck in Faculty Senate to be questioned, revised and questioned again.
During the summer months, a committee was created to look at the curriculum plan and make adjustments based on the concerns of Faculty Senate.