Simpson College proposes a new education curriculum

Photo+from+archives

Photo from archives

by Kimberly Roberts and Danielle Blake

Simpson College’s Curriculum Working Group proposed a new General Education Curriculum for the institution.

The proposed curriculum would replace the current Engaged Citizenship Curriculum (ECC) in place now. This new curriculum has not yet been approved or voted on by the Simpson faculty. However, the proposal plans to be implemented in the Fall of 2021 and will have little effect on current students.

The curriculum proposal suggests numerous changes to Simpson’s current curriculum. According to Assistant Dean for General Education Mark Gammon, two of the biggest changes are expanding the first-year program to a full year experience and implementing two new learning requirements.

The proposal will divide courses into three different categories: foundations, inquiry and mission.

“Foundations courses are the first-year program — two semesters in which students develop their writing, thinking and information literacy skills,” Gammon said.

Foundations courses would also still include themes of civic engagement, diversity, justice and inclusion.

Inquiry courses would challenge students to explore and engage with the world by taking courses in a number of different disciplines.

Finally, mission courses will connect back to the importance of Simpson College’s mission statement.

“Mission courses don’t have natural departmental homes but are still essential to Simpson’s mission. With these, students will focus on ethics, global studies and local studies,” Gammon said.

A scheduled review of the college’s curriculum in 2017 allowed problems to be reviewed and addressed. The Working Curriculum Group along with a survey from faculty helped identify problems with the current curriculum structure.

These results led to the realization that the current curriculum needed more than just tweaking. The design of the curriculum included addressing problems found from the current curriculum while implementing “high-impact practices” which enhance students’ learning and better reflect Simpson’s academic identity.

“We hope that this curriculum addresses the issues we identified while also operating more efficiently than the ECC,” Gammon said.

The Board of Trustees has started to revise Simpson’s mission and values statements. One of the main goals of the new curriculum is to coincide with the new statements. The proposal would ideally be a reflection of the college’s mission.

Another goal of the new curriculum is impacting students’ learning. They have listed four different student goals involving liberal arts and sciences, the college’s Methodist heritage, work and services and engaging with local/global justice and peace.

Gammon brought this proposal to Simpson’s Student Government Association’s attention at their meeting on Feb. 19. He wanted to be more transparent to students about potential changes.

Student Body President Elliot Meyer saw open communication as a great way to better relationships between students and administration.

“At the end of the day, it’s not students’ decision, but I still think students are involved to a certain extent and I’m glad they are trying to communicate that as much as possible,” Meyer said.