Report to Senate on the CORE Programme
Submitted March 2, 2005
At its meeting of April
24, 2003, Senate approved pilot versions of two proposed CORE courses,
one on theoretical reasoning (CORE 2013) and one on ethical reasoning
(CORE 3013). In April, 2004 a review team, “Senate Review Committee
on the Core Course 2013 Critical Reasoning” submitted an evaluation
of the first CORE 2013 pilot that was offered in the Winter Semester
of 2004. On Sept. 24th, 2004, Dr. James Gilbert-Walsh submitted a
report to Senate on pilot courses he devised and taught for the CORE
Programme. At the same September meeting, the Senate directed the
Academic Planning Committee to review the report and make recommendations
concerning the CORE Programme. (The Sept. 24th Gilbert-Walsh report
is available as an electronic attachment for distribution, that includes
the review team’s report of April 2004.)
Outcome of APC
The Academic Planning Committee
met at least three separate times on the topic of the CORE Report,
to explicate and deliberate the results of the CORE pilot project,
the report to Senate, and to determine suitable recommendations to
bring forward to Senate. Out of those discussions, a number of points
the substantial efforts already put into creating the two pilot
CORE programme courses in Ethical Reasoning (CORE 3013) and in Theoretical
Reasoning (2013) by Dr. James Gilbert-Walsh.
recognizes the substantial efforts put into steering the development
and evaluation of the CORE programme through the “APC Subcommittee
for STU CORE Course Development” (Dr. Colm Kelly, Dr. Patrick
Malcolmson, Andrew Moore, Dr. James Gibert-Walsh), and of the “Senate
Review Committee on the CORE Course 2013 Critical Reasoning (Dr.
Michael George, Dr. Sheila Andrew, Dr. Alan Bourassa, and Dr. Michelle
and conclusions provided by the “Senate Review Committee on
the CORE Course 2013” suggested that “a critical thinking
course which explores the boundaries and limitations of disciplinary
thinking is both functional and valuable,” and took a “significant
step towards meeting The Goals of a Liberal Education at St. Thomas
University” published in the STU Calendar. The Committee expressed
concern for future offerings of this course given that “complex
realities and arguments might be inadvertently overlooked or conflated
both within and between disciplines” and that faculty members
teaching this course would need careful preparation – and
“adequate resources would need to be available if the course
is to become a regular part of the St. Thomas curriculum.
some cautionary remarks about the nature of measuring learning outcomes
in the CORE 2013 course, the APC suggests that we do not have to
achieve perfection before we offer it again.
the necessity to have faculty from different disciplines offer the
the course descriptions and objectives for the two CORE courses
will ultimately conform to their respective themes (theoretical
reasoning, ethical reasoning) such courses will reflect the instructors
who teach them.
that the implications of enacting a CORE curriculum requirement
are enormous from resource and staffing perspectives. Will the courses
be restricted to fulltime faculty? Are these faculty to teach no
more than one section of a given course in a given year? Will there
be course releases to develop these courses which are necessarily
outside of most disciplinary traditions?
the creation of a Senate ad hoc CORE committee to develop other
models for the programme -- maybe not to replace the piloted model
but to generate other ways of approaching a common experience for
On the topic of the piloting
of courses in the CORE Programme, the most immediate issue concerning
the continuation of the two CORE courses seems to be the extension
of mandate to pilot both a 2000-level and a 3000-level CORE course.
APC notes that:
interest in offering the courses is crucial, and that there is a
meticulous process in realizing a CORE curriculum.
interest in taking these courses is central to evaluating the successful
piloting of the CORE courses.
a track record in successful delivery of the courses is essential
if the CORE curriculum is to be adopted as a general undergraduate
from APC to Senate:
recommends continuing the pilot programme of CORE course development,
to offer one section each of CORE 2013 Theoretical Reasoning and
CORE 3013 Ethical Reasoning per academic year, for the next two
years. Ideally CORE 2013 would be offered in Fall semester, and
CORE 3013 would be offered in Winter semester, for piloting purposes.
Motion 1: Senate continue developing the CORE Programme with a two-year
pilot of CORE 2013 and CORE 3013, to be overseen and evaluating
by an appropriate steering committee.
APC recommends establishing a CORE Steering Committee that would:
i. Oversee and evaluate the continuing piloted courses.
ii. Consider variations on the models being piloted.
iii. Make recommendations at the end of each of the two years of
the pilot period.
Motion 2: Senate establish an ad hoc CORE Steering Committee to
evaluate the CORE programme, develop variations on the CORE courses
currently piloted, and make reports and recommendations to Senate
(or an appropriate body within Senate) at the end of each year of
the pilot programme.
that Senate establish a committee to continue developing undergraduate
curriculum reform, with constituent members from Groups A,B,C,D
and CORE, as well as the student body, since this is well beyond
the scope and mandate of the Academic Planning Committee.
Motion 3: Senate establish an ad hoc committee to continue developing
undergraduate curriculum reform with constituent membership from
across the curricular groups (A, B, C, D) and the CORE programme,
as well as a student representative.