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President announces task force for core curriculum changes


The redesigned core curriculum is still being developed; however, the President hopes to receive student input on the proposed changes later this year and possibly apply some of the new changes by 2016.

This change is because, according to the Mills 2014 Interm Report Form submitted by Accreditation Liaison Officer and Professor of History Marianne Sheldon, the assessment of general education program found the program itself to be insufficient. Specifically, the program does not adequately educate students in all the general education requirements.

Students were required to take only one course to satisfy each general education requirement,” Sheldon said. It was apparent that one course did not satisfy each general education requirement.”

The report also said another issue was that the content of individual courses changed; without systematic reviews, the courses moved away from their original goals.

Because of these deficiencies, the President formed a Curricular Transformation Task Force in 2014, appointing professors Maia Averett, David Bernstein, Audrey Calefas-Strebelle, Nalini Ghuman, Margaret Hunter, Ajuan Mance, Patricia Powell, Paul Schulman, Priya Schimpi and Jenn Smith to make a new core curriculum.

The President’s memorandum, sent to Mills students and faculty on Feb. 20, announced this new curriculum will be up to date with 21st century standards, engaging in subjects like global literacy, critical analysis, community engagement, race, gender and power.

According to Professor Ajuan Mance, English co-chair and co-chair of the Task Force, the Task force has looked at other core curriculum in Bay Area universities and small liberal arts colleges and read scholarly research on the impact of specific subjects and skills in undergraduate classes. Most importantly to Mance, the Task Force has looked to Mills graduates for feedback and insight.

“Mills graduates go on to do amazing things, and we have spent time looking at the types of courses and experiences (both academic and extracurricular) that have made our graduates the extraordinary people they are,” Mance said.

According to Mance, the Task Force is still working on developing new curriculum and is currently seeking input from students and faculty while they develop their proposal.

“At this point, the curriculum is in the proposal stage, with the goal of possibly implementing changes for the fall of 2016,” Mance said. “Thus, the incoming class of 2020 would be the first to fall completely under any new core curriculum that the College could institute.”

Mance pointed out that the Task Force is only in their revising stage of their draft proposal but hopes to be able to give more information in a student forum and encourages all students to attend.

Many students are curious to see what content the task force will introduce.

Senior economics major Tameeka Johnson is intrigued by the new creation of the core curriculum.

“It does make me wonder: how do you determine general education classes?” Johnson said. “I am interested to see this new outcome and see how much say the students will have over its creation.”