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Senate passes its own final test, approves new curricular revisions

December 9, 2010


More than 18 months after the start of the latest curricular review process, the Beloit faculty has approved – with some minor tweaking – the final recommendations of the Curriculum Oversight and Administration Committee. Finishing off a revision it first began approving in April of this year, the faculty spent almost two full hours last night discussing and honing the newly revised breadth and skills requirements before ultimately approving COA’s proposed changes.

Those revisions to Chapter IX of the Administrative Policy Manual (APM) seem to put the “practice” into the Liberal Arts in Practice, while continuing to introduce Beloiters to a true liberal arts experience that also affords them uncommon discretion when studying outside their major and the core. Among the curricular requirements that will impact the entering class of 2015 are:

-A required capstone experience in the senior year
-A required “beyond the classroom” Liberal Arts in Practice experience
-“Satisfactory completion” of three writing courses, a quantitative reasoning class and one intercultural literacy course
-And completion of five breadth requirements, one each in the areas of Conceptual and Foundational Systems; Artistic and Creative Practices; Social Analysis of Human Behavior; Scientific Inquiry into Physical and Biological Universe and Textual Cultures and Analysis.

The 4 p.m. Senate session began with opening remarks by Academic Dean and Vice President Ann Davies. The political theorist couldn’t resist referencing her dream dinner companion (James Madison), his fellow founder, Alexander Hamilton, and the framing of the U.S. Constitution. By comparison, the ratification went smoothly, with no one pulling a Hamilton and barging out.

As was noted, however, the smooth sailing was likely due in large part to the deliberate process that produced the final proposal—a process that included dozens of meetings (from common hour brainstorms to committee drafting sessions) and hours of deliberation, among many other things. As anthropology professor Shannon Fie, who presented COA’s recommendations to Senate said, “This document has been a long time coming.”