Curriculum Revision Task Force holds open forum


Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips

Student representatives on the Curriculum Task Force Noor Bibi (‘21) and Cassie Michel (‘20) lead the open forum.

Kyle Brusco, Staff Writer

The CRTF  presented findings and is leading open discussion in review of general education requirements.

On April 9, members of the Curriculum Revision Task Force held an open forum to discuss revising the general education requirements at Luther.

Student representatives Cassie Michel (‘20) and Noor Bibi (‘21) and Professor of Sociology Charlotte Kunkel led the forum, which consisted of a presentation detailing the findings of the CRTF, followed by a Q&A session. It was in this session that students voiced their concerns about the general education requirements. They were also able to submit their concerns in writing, which the task force members collected and will review at their next meeting.

In addition to Michel, Bibi, and Kunkel the task force consists of Professor in Library and Information Studies Andi Beckendorf (‘93), Professor of English Martin Klammer, Assistant Professor of Biology Dawn Reding, Associate Professor of German and Director of Student Honors and Fellowships Elizabeth Steding, and Assistant Professor of Education and Coordinator for Music Education Jill Wilson. These members are responsible for revising the current curriculum of all-college requirements.

“The original idea was that we could potentially complete something by the end of the school year, but, in the process, we realized that it is a much bigger project than we realized because we’re not just working on the gen eds,” Kunkel said. “We are also thinking through core commitments and Luther’s learning commitments so that they can guide us to revise the gen ed requirements. So, our hope right now is to finish the revision by the end of next year.”

At this forum, the task force members presented their findings from a survey that was sent out on February 24 searching for student feedback on all college requirements as well as other research that they had done.

The student survey was meant to discover which majors valued different gen ed requirements over others. For example, according to the survey, STEM majors valued the quantitative requirement more than humanities majors did.

They also presented their three options for the revision of the curriculum.

“We used these sets of surveys, and we did a lot of them, to see where we are with the curriculum,” Bibi said. “We wanted to answer the question: are people satisfied with what they have? Or should we just tweak a few things around and fix it? Or should we start everything from scratch?”

After the presentation, the floor was open to questions and comments from the students.

During the forum, Latines Unides addressed concerns they had with the underrepresentation of Latinx professors and classes available. Other students addressed issues they had with the perceived lack of student control over the process of curriculum revision, as the new curriculum will be voted on by the entire faculty after it is approved by the Curriculum Revision Task Force.

However, student senate President Janet Irankunda (‘19) felt there was a misunderstanding between the student body and the task force.

“I think that students at the forum were a little confused about the purpose of the meeting,” said Irankunda. “There were a lot of questions about the process of changing the curriculum instead of the question the task force originally posed, which was what needs to be changed about the education requirements. As a student body, we just need to be informed and trusting of the student representatives, because they are there to help us and gather our ideas, which they cannot do if they don’t have our ideas.”

Part of the question and answer forum was students suggesting specific classes that needed to be changed, which was more in line with what the presenters expected. Proposals included a Latin American history course, and one proposal by Irankunda focused on revising the wellness class to, focus more on other types of wellness besides just physical wellness.

Kunkel had some ideas as well on what they were thinking about changing. “What is most likely to happen is that we will move towards a more integrative approach,” said Kunkel. “The message so far from the staff, faculties, and students is to reduce the number of gen eds. So the question is how do we do that while maintaining the core philosophy and integrity of Luther college. One answer is to use an integrative model. There are different types of integrative models, but one thing that keeps bubbling to the surface is called learning communities. It might be that students take a set of courses simultaneously to help bridge the divide between discipline. They might take a set of courses that are taught collaboratively by the faculty, like Paideia 450, but much earlier and more often throughout their educational career. They might move into project-based learning, where there is a grand question and faculty and students work together to solve the problem. There are many different models, and quite frankly we don’t know what will work best here at Luther. But everything is on the table.”

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