News Release

REF NO.: 105

SUBJECT: Memorial's Faculty of Arts enhances core curriculum

DATE: January 14, 2015

Memorial University’s Faculty of Arts is implementing a revised core curriculum for its bachelor of arts degree, following approval by the Senate of Memorial University on Jan.13.

Students will benefit from greater flexibility in selected courses, which will accommodate their schedules and increase their ability to graduate on time. The core curriculum is a set of courses required of all undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree that specify foundational knowledge, including writing skills, cultural literacy and quantitative reasoning. The revisions ensure a clear path for acquiring arts-based knowledge and skills.

Memorial’s bachelor of arts regulations had been some of the most extensive in Canada. They were last updated in 1997.

The change follows an intensive two-year process within the Faculty of Arts, led by members of the Faculty of Arts Academic Planning Committee. The committee was convened by Dr. Alex Marland, associate dean (undergraduate studies), Faculty of Arts.

“We wanted our curriculum to properly reflect the skills, competencies and values our students graduate with and which are outlined in our recent ARTS 20/20 plan,” said Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean, Faculty of Arts. “Happily, this approach has also resulted in more flexibility for our students so they can explore diverse topics and still complete their degree in four years. Thanks to the keen participation of faculty, students and staff, including the Office of the Registrar, what Dr. Marland and the committee have achieved is a focus on quality over quantity – students will have fewer requirements to meet but there will be more substance to those requirements.” Some of the most important changes include:

  • Replacing the humanities and social sciences requirements with a breadth of knowledge requirement that will provide students with the opportunity to choose exposure to a variety of ideas, methods and course content
  • Replacing the research and writing requirement with a focused critical reading and writing requirement to ensure students obtain foundational, university-level reading and writing skills
  • Introducing a quantitative reasoning requirement designed to ensure students develop foundational knowledge and skills in numeracy, quantitative analysis and logical reasoning
  • Adjusting the second language requirement to become a language study requirement designed to ensure students develop knowledge of the structure of a language other than English, and to foster awareness of the inherent link between language and cultural literacy

“I congratulate Dr. Phillips, and all those involved in taking on this Herculean task,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), pro tempore. “The time and effort they have devoted on behalf of current and future undergraduate students will be appreciated by the Memorial University community for many years to come.”

Effective immediately, current students have the choice of following the old requirements or opting to follow the new requirements. As of fall 2015, all incoming students will be required to follow the new requirements. Students will be supported in following the new requirements by stronger academic advising and online resources.

The Faculty of Arts plans to promote the new requirements through an extensive awareness campaign (“The BA is Better”) that will incorporate print and social media.

For further details on the revised core requirements, please visit www.mun.ca/arts/programs/undergraduate/baisbetter/index.php.

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