Discussions about how to revise the Common Core begin


John Su, the director of the Core of Common Studies, said student involvement is crucial to the revision process. Photo via the Tribune Archives

Proposals to change the University Core of Common Studies will develop with the help of administrators, faculty, staff and students before going to a committee that will make the decision in spring 2017.

Why Revise the Core?

The university aims for the new core to prepare students for the future while maintaining the Jesuit tradition. The rationale for the core, published on the university website, explains its reasoning.

“With the successful reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2014, Marquette University can focus its revision process on developing a more coherent UCCS that prepares students for a competitive 21st century economy in light of the 450 – year tradition of Jesuit education,” the website states.

“We are hoping to create a core that is true to our mission as a Catholic, Jesuit institution and to utilize the latest research on best pedagogical practices nationally,” said John Su, the director of the Core of Common Studies. “Our students deserve a truly transformative education and a well-designed core is a crucial part of that.”

Student Involvement in the Revision Process

Student involvement is instrumental to the revision process. Su is working with the Marquette Student Government to develop student focus groups to improve the proposals.

Currently, volunteers across campus are forming work groups. Interested students, faculty, administrators and staff are invited to join these groups.

“Students have been involved in this process since the very beginning, and their contributions have been crucial,” Su said. “Our students help to create the most transformative academic experience possible.”

So far 11 groups formed, each consisting of  six to 10 people. Su said his guess is that these groups will begin working in February.

What Does the Revision Process Look Like?

Marquette is changing its core using similar revision processes utilized by other universities like Notre Dame, Santa Clara and San Diego State.

“What many of my colleagues say they want from a revised core is one that keeps the focus on the student and one that best reflects what it means to be a graduate of Marquette,” said Lars Olson, the interim chair of biomedical engineering.

This semester the Core Curriculum Review Committee hopes to submit their proposals to the University Board of Undergraduate Studies. The proposals will then be reviewed by the University Academic Senate who will make a recommendation to University President Michael Lovell and Provost Daniel Myers.

Faculty, staff and administrators worked with facilitators this past fall to create proposals for revising the UCCS. The group looked at a list of learning outcomes generated by a survey of the Marquette community. Many students prioritized communicating in writing, critical thinking and problem solving as learning outcomes were ranked high according to the survey.