Assessment, Policies & Governance

What are we trying to teach in the Core? Are we succeeding? How do we know?

As part of Boston College’s external accreditation review by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), all departments and programs involved in the Core will contribute to a report on the state of the Core by submitting a final E-1-A form by 31 May to the Office of the Associate Dean of the Core (bc-core21@bc.edu). The form asks each department and program to articulate their Core learning outcomes, to present measurable data, and to describe plans for on-going evaluation.

Furthermore, in dialogue with the Associate Dean of the Core, during the fall of 2015 and winter of 2016 each department/program or cluster of departments/programs involved in the Core will revisit the 1991 Core distribution requirements in light of the 2014 vision statement and contemporary disciplinary self-understandings. The goal will be to draft language adequate both to the Jesuit mission of Boston College and to our contemporary world, just as the 1991 Core revision process had done twenty-five years ago. Revised distribution requirement statements will be completed by 1 February. They will serve in part as criteria for the self-assessment of each department’s and program’s contribution to the Core.

Contact the Associate Dean of the Core with questions and comments at: bc-core21@bc.edu

2017–2018 Boston College Core Curriculum Policies and Procedures

The Office of the Associate Dean for the Core and the University Core Renewal Committee (UCRC) are charged with overseeing and renewing the Core Curriculum as a whole. The vast majority of undergraduates fulfill their Core requirements under the familiar Core structure that has existed since 1991. During 2017–2018, 48 interdisciplinary Core Renewal pilot courses will be taught. Core Renewal pilot courses will continue in 2018–2019.

The following policies address procedures related to the Core: student applications for Core substitution credit, creation of new Core classes, and Core Renewal pilot class scheduling. All questions can be sent to: core@bc.edu

STUDENT APPLICATIONS FOR CORE SUBSTITUTION CREDIT

Student Services process hundreds of course substitution requests every year for study abroad, summer, and non-BC courses. In order to systematize and streamline this process and cut down on last-minute requests, please follow these guidelines:

  • The decision to approve/not approve a study abroad, summer, and non-BC course as satisfying a Core requirement remains at the discretion of the relevant BC department. Students seeking substitution credit for Core courses should contact the Core representative or DUS in the department that most closely resembles that course (i.e., a Politics class from Spain should be referred to the BC Poli Sci Dept). For Cultural Diversity substitution requests, see #3 below. A list of all departmental Core representatives/DUS can be found here. For summer classes only: if Core substitution credit is granted, the student must then contact the appropriate class dean in their school for approval as a summer class.
  • All students must submit Core substitution requests to the appropriate Core representative according to the following deadlines:
    • October 2 – for students who took summer courses or who studied abroad the previous spring semester or full academic year
    • March 1 – for students who studied abroad the previous fall semester
  • Students seeking Cultural Diversity substitution requests should apply via the on-line Cultural Diversity Substitution Request Form on the university Core website.
NEW CORE CLASSES (NOT CORE RENEWAL PILOT CLASSES)
  • Four times a year, faculty can submit applications for courses to receive Core credit via the on-line Faculty Core Course Approval Application on the university Core website.
    • October 2 – for courses to be taught (1) in the spring semester (thus in time for spring registration in November) or (2) the following academic year
    • December 1 – for courses to be taught the following academic year
    • February 15 – for courses to be taught (1) in the fall semester (thus in time for fall registration in April) or (2) the following spring semester
    • March 30 – for courses to be taught the following spring semester
  • The UCRC will evaluate the proposals in a timely manner, normally within 10 business days.

(a) The outcome of the review process will be communicated to the chair, applicant faculty member, and department administrator.(b) If the proposal is approved for Core credit for an existing course, then the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core and Kathy Winarski will make the necessary changes.

(c) If the proposal is approved for Core credit for a new course, then the department administrator can create the course in CM. Please note: Kathy Winarski will return any CM requests that do not confirm the approvals identified by the Associate Dean’s office. Once the new class has been approved in CM, the department administrator can then create the course in UIS.

(d) For all courses approved for Cultural Diversity Core credit (whether new or existing), only Kathy Winarski will manually add the Cultural Diversity designation.

Note on cross-listing and Core courses: credit is typically assigned only in one of the Core requirement areas (Philosophy, History, Social Science, etc.). If a course is approved for Cultural Diversity credit, the course receives Cultural Diversity credit even if it is cross-listed in other departments beyond the applicant department. Departments wishing to cross-list courses for Core credit should contact the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core.

CORE RENEWAL PILOT CLASS SCHEDULING

The deadline for proposals for AY2018–2019 Core Renewal pilot courses is Friday, October 6. Courses will be selected by the UCRC shortly thereafter. Due to the complex nature of these interdisciplinary classes, which include evening events and co-curricular activities, scheduling them will be the responsibility of the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core, which will keep department/program chairs and administrators in the loop as we move forward.

Students completing the Boston College Core Curriculum will:

  1. Demonstrate the critical, mathematical, informational, analytic, expressive, and creative skills that are essential tools of the educated person well-prepared for a meaningful life and vocation.
  2. Understand the major ideas and methods of inquiry of the scholarly disciplines that comprise the university and be able to use those methods of inquiry as beginning practitioners to address complex contemporary problems.
  3. Be able to identify and articulate the strengths and limitations of the disciplines and the relationship of the disciplines to one another, and demonstrate an understanding of the breadth and diversity of human knowledge as well as its openness to integration in more comprehensive wholes.
  4. Be conversant with and able to discuss intelligently enduring questions and issues that are fundamental to human inquiry and that have shaped the traditions from which the university has emerged.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply more than one disciplinary perspective to the same enduring question or complex contemporary problem.
  6. Be familiar with the scholarly exploration of religious faith and understand how faith and reason are related in the search for truth.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to examine their values and experiences and integrate what they learn with the principles that guide their lives.
  8. Be prepared and disposed to use their talents and education as engaged global citizens and responsible leaders in service of the common good.

University Core Renewal Committee

The University Core Renewal Committee (UCRC) coordinates and manages the Boston College Core Curriculum. Composed of sixteen faculty, administrative, and student representatives, the committee is leading university-wide efforts to renew the Core Curriculum as a vital part of a Boston College undergraduate education. It promotes interdepartmental and faculty/staff collaboration and innovation. In 2017–2018, the UCRC is focusing on two priorities: systematizing the Core that has existed since 1991, and managing the third year of Core Renewal Pilot classes and preparing for a forth round in 2018–2019. Different subcommittees of the UCRC address Core Renewal pilot classes, curriculum, and assesment.

For questions and concerns, please contact the UCRC chair, Julian Bourg, Associate Dean for the Core at core@bc.edu

The 2017-2018 members of the UCRC

Robert Bartlett (Political Science)

Julian Bourg (History; Associate Dean for the Core)

Patrick Byrne (Philosophy)

Willian Keane (Mathematics)

Sean Clarke (Connell School of Nursing)

Mary Crane (English; Institute for the Liberal Arts)

Brian Gareau (Sociology)

Charles Keenan (Assistant Director of the Core)

Gail Kineke (Earth & Environmental Sciences)

Elida Laska (spring—Lynch School of Education)

Franco Mormando (Romance Languages & Literature)

Brian Rebinette (Theology)

John Rakestraw (Center for Teaching Excellence)

Zachary Matus (History)

Akua Sarr (Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs)

Ethan Sullivan (Carroll School of Management)

Aiden Clarke, '19