Core curriculum streams created to help freshmen schedule classes

Christine Ayala

Trying to navigate the course schedule during orientation can be an overwhelming experience for freshmen, but the Senate of College Councils is helping students choose with grouped courses.

Incoming students will be able to register for one of 10 course curriculum streams — which are grouped courses with a connecting theme — starting this summer. The streams consist of two or three classes including an undergraduate studies course and can accommodate at least 180 students in the pilot semester in the fall.

Michael Morton, Senate of College Council president, said the Senate proposed the initiative and chose the course streams. Morton said the streams, which were supported by the School of Undergraduate Studies, will help guide new students toward academic areas of interest, give insight through various courses and help them decide whether to pursue that subject.

“It’s a way to get students off on the right track academically at the University and acquainted with college-level thinking,” Morton said. “Through different subjects, they can see how one area ties into another area. They’ll have a more concrete view of why the core curriculum is important.”

Morton said the streams will help students get several core credits in early, while also receiving a deeper educational experience.

Patricia Micks, undergraduate studies program coordinator, said although the streams are geared toward freshmen, similar to First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs), the streams will not operate the same way.

“FIGs emphasize assisting with the transition from high school to college, streams seek to bring cohesion to some core curriculum requirements through the use of themes,” Micks said.

Applied learning and development freshman Lauren Ayala said she didn’t enjoy her experience in a FIG because the classes were unrelated to education and pushed the students to interact outside of class with meetings and various group activities.

“I didn’t enjoy my FIG because I got put in one that didn’t pertain to my major at all and the meetings were pointless,” Ayala said. “I am not always the most social person. I’ve never really had a ton of friends that I shared my academic struggles with and that is how my FIG was run, but I think everyone should take core classes in a cluster to make things easier when registering.”

Morton said unlike FIGs, the curriculum streams would not have a social aspect with a weekly meeting led by a student mentor to help students adapt to college life or require students to be in the same section of the course. Morton said the Senate is hoping to eventually add a discussion section to allow students to discuss how the courses relate, to draw deeper meaning from the information learned in class. 

Freshmen are not required to join a FIG or stream. Micks said any remaining seats will be offered to all other students on campus.

Although the streams are currently geared toward freshmen, Morton said he hopes they can eventually be expanded to all students.