Faculty Senate Discussion

UF Core Courses

Filed under UF CORE Courses Faculty Input by salvers@ufl.edu on November 15, 2013 | 5 Comments

During the most recent Legislative session in which UF was designated as a “Preeminent State Research University,” we were granted a “special course requirement authority with the following stipulation:

“In order to provide a jointly shared educational experience, a university that is designated a preeminent state research university may require its incoming first-time-in-college students to take a 9-to-12 credit set of unique courses specifically determined by the university and published on the university website. The university may stipulate that credit for such courses may not be earned through any acceleration mechanism pursuant to s. 1007.27 or s. 1007.271 or any other transfer credit.  All accelerated credits earned up to the limits specified in ss. 1007.27 and 1007.271 shall be applied toward graduation at the student’s request.”

The UF Core was the topic on the Monday, November 18, 2013 Town Hall meeting (archive link at: http://www.senate.ufl.edu, November 18 (Turlington Room L011): UF CORE, Bernard Mair, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs).

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Marc Heft
Chair, Faculty Senate


5 Responses to “UF Core Courses”

  1. I am sorry if I am showing a lack of imagination, but I do not myself understand how to construct a science course that is both useful to humanities majors and instructive to science majors. We have highly qualified high schoolers joining our program who have already done calculus and pure science subjects at AP level. We do not then want to spend time talking to them introducing the scientific method or giving them a project that will remind them of middle school science fairs. What can we teach them that will be at their level and delivered at a pace to keep them engaged, yet at the same time be suitable for humanities majors? I would be glad to hear of suggestions.

  2. [Actual Email: cupples@law.ufl.edu]

    I hope that one Core Course will focus on PRECISE WRITING and CRITICAL READING, with adequate emphasis on grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary building—each of which is essential to precise writing and critical reading.

    Precise writing and critical reading are crucial skills for work in the scientific and legal realms, as well as in any field or profession heavily affected by the law: e.g., medicine, business, finance, investment, engineering, mass media, government . . . .

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that many (if not most) students come to UF inadequately trained in grammar, punctuation, word usage, precise writing, and critical reading. Even with inadequate training, students might write passable-sounding essays or short stories for a college classroom, but “passable sounding” will not suffice in many employment contexts.

    If UF were to train all of its students in precise writing and critical reading, our students would have a solid advantage over the many students from those universities that do not emphasize those skills.

    UF would enjoy an enhanced reputation if UF, as a matter of course, were to turn out students who were skilled at precise writing and critical reading.

  3. I will not be able to attend the Town Hall meeting on Monday because I’ll be teaching but want to suggest a course for the UF common core called “The Diverse US Experience.” This course will include the literature, history, and politics of the US starting from the contact period to the present and including the contributions of diverse race, gender, and class groups including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, gays, lesbians, and the working class. It will be taught through diverse forms of storytelling including journals, letters, fiction, poetry, essays, plays, novels, and manifestos and will emphasize major historical moments such as the Civil War, the New Deal, the Cold War, the Spanish-American war, the war on terror, as well as literary movements such as postmodernism and the Harlem Renaissance. I envision this as an interdisciplinary course and have received interest from faculty in English, History, Political Science, and Oral History. As UF attempts to become one of top 10 public universities it is vital for students to understand the heterogeneous, indeed transnational nature of US society as well as the different forms of writing it has engendered.

    Please let me know if you want further details about this. I think this course could be a vital part of our common core.

  4. This would be a disaster for many majors. As most universities prepare their students to be competitive in the workplace, UF would be holding them back for a semester. Under the guise of vying for top-10 status we would be forcing students into another semester of high school, making their job qualifications far from top-10.

  5. Several majors at UF require a number of sequential courses be taken in the first semester. These programs cannot postpone required courses and still graduate students in four years. It is one thing to offer a common course (“The Good Life”), but is a common semester really a good idea? UF is a large university with very diverse academic offerings; we can’t keep whittling away at our major requirements in the name of some abstract “common” experience.

    You will note that the legislature says we “may” offer this core experience. It is not a requirement.

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