University establishes Core Experience for all graduates

February 22, 2011 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo is updating its core curriculum to orient student learning around a set of five competency areas for all students to master upon graduation.

The UT Core Experience includes focus on the core competencies of communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning and literacy, personal and social responsibility, information literacy, and critical and integrative thinking.

“In light of evolving higher education and keeping our promise to students and the community, we wanted to frame outcomes in terms of what UT students will be able to do,” said Dr. Ben Pryor, dean of the College of Innovative Learning. “By narrowing the competencies to these areas, we can measure a student’s learning and progress. We can identify and measure what we add to a student’s life and abilities.”

The core competencies were articulated by a committee of faculty and administrators. The core selected was broad enough to include all the necessary learning outcomes and specific enough to be relevant and get to the heart of what education means in the 21st century, Pryor said.

These five core competency areas are naturally already part of the University, but establishing a UT Core Experience will incorporate the core throughout more general education and program courses.

The core competencies, which will be measured through the assessment of student electronic portfolios, are developed and augmented through general education courses, program major courses, experiential learning, learning communities, co-curriculum and prior learning, Pryor said.

For example, general education courses will include the competencies in the course descriptions and syllabi. Assignments will be added to the courses to assess the competencies, and those assignments will be included in the portfolios.

Pryor presented the UT Core Experience to the UT Board of Trustees Academic and Student Affairs Committee last week. Throughout the spring, the core competencies will be deliberated at the college, department and Faculty Senate levels of the University to incorporate them into the curriculum.

The goal is to have the UT Core Experience in place by fall semester.

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