The University of Indianapolis has made some major changes to its general education curriculum, according to Academic Advisor for Undeclared, Art, Music and Engineering Majors Ashley Spirek. The general education core has been paired down and now requires less classes, which will not only help students graduate more easily but will open up time in schedule as well, according to Spirek.
According to Spirek, her job as an advisor is to help students understand their major and where to begin their degree as well as communicating any information that will aid in their academic or career goals. She said that the purpose of a general education core is to give students a chance to explore all areas of study out of high school, and their interests and what they do or do not like.
According to Spirek, the changes which are being put in place at UIndy will affect any student who started at the school in the fall of 2023 and after, but all students have the option to switch if they so choose. The main change is that the core requirements are being reduced, she said, which is being done by merging some of the categories together.
“One of the changes is that the two separate fine arts categories were merged into one category,” Spirek said. “It used to be a fine art theory class, where you’re learning about some type of art, and then a fine art applied class, where you’re doing some type of art, theater or music. Now, those two are combined into one general fine arts category and that only requires you to complete two credit hours of coursework.”
Another reduction in the core is that global awareness and experiencing cultural differences are being combined now as well, according to Spirek. The Spring Term requirement was also removed from the core, but students will still have the opportunity to take one if they choose, she said.
“If you are on the new core and you still want to do a spring term class, it’s ok, you can still do it, but now it’s just no longer required,” Spirek said. “Spring Term is a great way to complete a gen ed class, just learn about something interesting or travel abroad.”
Another requirement which was removed, Spirek said, was writing and speaking across the curriculum. This used to be its own separate category but it is no longer on the core at all. The goal of that requirement, she said, was to have students practice writing and speaking on higher levels, usually at a 300 or 400 course level.
The last of these big changes is the capstone requirement will no longer be on the core curriculum. However, this does not apply to all students, it is dependent on major, according to Spirek.
“If your major does have a capstone, it’s still required for your major,” Spirek said. “But there are some majors on campus that don’t have a senior capstone or project. And for those students, you don’t have to do a capstone at all.”
The combining of fine arts, global awareness and experiencing cultural differences and the removal of the Spring Term requirement, capstone and writing and speaking across the curriculum are the five big changes that have been made to the curriculum so far. There are various goals for these changes, Spirek said, with the main one being to make it easier for students to graduate on time. Another reason she listed was to allow students more freedom to take other classes. There will be more time within students’ schedules for them to explore more areas and disciplines, Spirek said.
“It’s really so that our students have more flexibility and so that you can have more freedom in deciding what classes you want to take and what majors, minors, concentrations could add more to your experience here and to your resume as well,” Spirek said.
These will not be the only changes made to the core, Spirek said there are more changes coming. Students can talk to their advisors if they want to change to the new core, it is an option for everyone.
“The main thing that I want students to know is that you do have the option to switch to the new core,” Spirek said. “And if you want to do that, talk to your advisor, meet with them and ask if there’s anything you can do like what types of opportunities that opens up for you, if you can add a concentration because you don’t have to take three extra classes in the core.”