College of Arts and Sciences establishes details with new core curriculum

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By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer

Baylor’s web page about the College of Arts and Sciences’ new unified core curriculum was recently updated online with information about new core requirements. On Sept. 4, College of Arts and Sciences students received an email containing a link to the page, which is now complete with course lists and FAQ’s.

The significance of designating this core as ‘unified’ is that all four degrees (B.A., B.F.A., B.S. and B.S.A.S.) now follow the same core curriculum.

“Now, we’re able to say that there are particular skills and knowledge that’s shared and that says that when you come and leave Baylor, you have that shared [experience], and it’s inevitably going to create a community beyond what we call the ‘Baylor community,'” Dr. Lauren Poor, Baylor history lecturer and director for the office of the core, said. “For us, the Baylor community is just the students here, but when you graduate and you have that experience as alumni, you’re going to be able to plug in.”

All freshmen and transfer students starting at Baylor in the fall 2019 semester or later will be using this new core curriculum. Students who started at Baylor prior to the fall 2019 semester have the choice between keeping with the old core or adopting the new one. Poor said that this is the first curriculum overhaul in the history of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We’ve taken the general education requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences, and it has been a seven-year process to re-evaluate and to ask really important questions— what is the vision of our general education?,” Poor said.

Poor said that the main change between the old curriculum and the new requirements is the number of hours required.

“It’s going down from the range of 65-79 to 49-53 [credit hours],” Poor said. “That really frees up upwards of 30 credit hours and creates those opportunities for double majors, secondary minors and majors, certificates and other interdisciplinary programs that I know a lot of our students are passionate about and might not have had the chance to take part in.”

Another important change is the addition of required Cultural Event Experiences. Students will need to attend 12 pre-approved events over the course of four years at Baylor in categories like art and theater.

Vail, Colo., freshman Taylor Calton is disappointed about the prospect of possibly needing to pay to attend these events.

“I would understand it more if they were free, but the fact that I need to spend money just to go to plays and stuff…I’m already paying for college,” Calton said.

Some of the events require ticket purchases while others are free or have suggested donations.

However, Calton has enjoyed some of the requirements needed for the curriculum.

“The political science class is especially fun, even though it’s required, because it piques my interest,” Calton said.

Another major change in the curriculum is that the new core only requires one lifetime fitness course, while College of Arts and Sciences students were previously required to take four.

The Woodlands senior Kendall Elliott wishes she was only required to take one lifetime fitness class like students who fall under the new core curriculum.

“Lifetime fitness is a waste of time and money,” Elliott said. “They are lucky.”

Other students believed the requirement should still be four courses.

“I truly enjoyed lifetime fitness classes because I feel like they take a load off the curriculum intensive, study-based, reading-based classes, and I really got to cultivate a new self and I got to meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise met,” San Diego, Calif., senior Juni Darling said.

If students have questions about the College of Arts and Sciences core curriculum, they can meet with their adviser or visit the new College of Arts and Sciences web page.

Correction: September 12, 2019.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: an earlier version of this story inaccurately used the acronym “CASA” (College of Arts and Sciences Advising) for College of Arts and Sciences. The story has been corrected to only use “College of Arts and Sciences.”