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Committee recommends lightening of C2K load

Curriculum 2000, it's time to tone it down a few notches.

That is the recommendation that will come from a curriculum review committee next month, as possibilities are being explored that will reduce and simplify C2K requirements.

Biology professor Steve Nowicki, who chairs the committee, said the changes would make the curriculum less burdensome to students.

"When the original Curriculum 2000 committee devised this, they had good intentions about how to make a very forward-looking and appropriate program," Nowicki said. "The difficulty is they might have gone just a step too far and added a few too many requirements.... As much as we like the conceptual structure of this curriculum, it's too much."

Most of the potential recommendations are still apt to be modified by the committee, which has not yet finished its work. It will present its recommendations to the Arts and Sciences Council in February. One certain recommendation, however, will be to reduce the number of courses required for Areas of Knowledge from 12--three courses each in Arts and Literature, Social Sciences, Civilizations and Natural Sciences--to 10. This addresses the longtime complaint of many students, especially science majors, that 12 courses is simply too many.

The number of courses required in the Modes of Inquiry, Focused Inquiries and Competencies categories will likely also be reduced, Nowicki said. These categories along the so-called "horizontal dimension" will likely be consolidated to make the curriculum matrix more straightforward.

A major development for transfer students, Robertson Scholars and students who study away for the summer would be the allowance of transfer credit toward Curriculum 2000 categories, including foreign languages.

"Our view is if you take a course at another university or otherwise get credit, you should get all the credit that that course deserves," Nowicki said. "I was amazed to find out that [students who transfer from the Pratt School of Engineering into Trinity College] don't get any Curriculum 2000 credit for that. Those students have just gotten hammered."

Another possible change would be to allow up to three C2K codes to count for a single course, instead of the current two; also, the current ban on intermediate-level foreign language courses having Areas of Knowledge codes may be lifted.

Department chairs and directors of undergraduate study attended a series of presentations about the possible curriculum changes at the end of the fall semester. Many expressed positive feelings about the proposed adjustments.

"It seems like an excellent committee," said John Thompson, professor and chair of the department of history. "They did a very thorough review."

An initial proposal to abolish the Quantitative, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning (QID) and Interpretive and Aesthetic Approaches (IAA) categories was not favored by the department chairs and directors of undergraduate study, and has been dropped.

Most of the objections to dropping IAA came from humanities and arts professors who felt that the curriculum was already oriented away from their departments.

"A number of us were concerned about doing away with the IAA requirement, although it didn't seem any of the other requirements dealing with sciences and social sciences were [being done] away with," said John Clum, professor and chair of the theater studies department. Some chairs and directors of undergraduate study also expressed disapproval of a plan to eliminate the existing requirement that one Research-designated course be within a student's major. This issue is still under consideration, as is the possible modification of the Science, Technology and Society category and the creation of an ombudsman to resolve a course-code disputes.

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