Group to review academics
All institutions of higher education
are subject to cirricular evaluations by
government and other authorities in
order to maintain their status as learning
orgainzations. Such a review
process is currently underway, intended
to ensure that the College
meets the New England Association
of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
According to Michael Donihue, professor of economics, associate vice president for academic affairs and associate dean of faculty, the actual curriculum is not going to change, and what does change will have a minimal effect on students. "There are all sorts of rumors," he said, one of the most prevalent being the College's decision to take away JanPlan. "We are not going to get rid of JanPlan," he confirmed, listing some of the ways in which he feels students benefit immensely from the one-month program.
The curricular review process is not new to the College, as all accredited educational institutions undergo comprehensive evaluations at least every ten years. This year, three different working groups met to review the JanPlan program, the core curriculum and communication methods. Another group will meet to assess academic engagement in May.
"There's not a lot to report right now," Donihue said. "We've completed the discovery phase," he said, and they are now looking for "ideas about how to move forward."
One idea the groups have discussed is a way to make the faculty be clearer on what they expect from their students. "If you go to a professor and ask them what they expect from you they will be able to tell you," Donihue said, but it is not always clear to students who don't think to ask. A possible way to alleviate this problem would be to include explicit course goals on the syllabus, Donihue proposed.
He stated that they want to avoid any communication problems between students and teachers, and will be meeting with department directors this fall to discuss any ideas the groups have come up with. Donihue also mentioned a possible program for writing across the curriculum that would go beyond EN115 and focus on a student's ability to write effectively within his or her own major. The program would most likely not be required, but Donihue explained that the possibility has not been completely eliminated. "If we could [require it]," Donihue said, "what are the implications?"
These are the types of questions the groups are asking.
The College will have to submit a progress report--a plan on how they intend to meet accreditation standards-- to NESCAC next fall. This report will review the results of this plan in five years' time.