Santa Clara University


Core Curriculum Update

Launched in Fall 2009 for all first-year students, the new Core Curriculum now is in its third academic quarter.  More than 400 courses were developed or transformed to meet the Core learning goals of “knowledge, habits of mind and heart, and engagement with the world.”  Particular innovations included two sets of themed, sequenced courses in “Critical Thinking and Writing” and “Cultures and Ideas.”  With significant assistance from the Registrar, the Drahmann Advising Center, the Deans’ offices, the faculty advisors, and others, almost all students have successfully completed both sequences (Computer Engineering majors and a few others will take “Cultures and Ideas” as Sophomores).  Although most of the needed courses have been approved, curriculum development still is underway for additional courses in “Science, Technology, and Society,” “Diversity,” “Civic Engagement,” and “Experiential Learning for Social Justice,” courses that students are likely to take in their second and third years.

Assessment of student learning this year targeted Core courses in “Critical Thinking and Writing with Science, Technology and Society,” and “Religion Theology and Culture.”  The Office of Assessment hosted rubric scoring parties during which faculty scored randomly selected student work with a rubric based on course learning objectives.  Rubric scoring parties have not only demonstrated successful student learning in Core courses, but also have led to greater alignment of course assignments with learning objectives through improved assignment design.  Assessment reports are posted on the Web site of the Office of Assessment.

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