Contact Linda Goodrum, Core Division Operations Manager
Champlain College implemented a common Core curriculum for all traditional undergraduate students beginning in academic year 2007-2008. This sequential curriculum, which supplanted the previous menu-driven approach to general education, emphasizes inquiry, interdisciplinarity, reflection and integration. The faculty members who teach in the Core Division represent widely diverse scholarly backgrounds. All are committed to embracing interdisciplinary approaches in the classroom and practicing inquiry by partnering with their students to explore big questions and ideas.
The developmental design of the curriculum encourages students to forge connections across courses and disciplines, and between the Core curriculum and their professional major courses. The first year focuses on the self (first semester) and community (second semester); classes are linked and students are cohorted in groups of 20 to form small learning communities as they are introduced to interdisciplinary ways of thinking and the rhetoric of analysis and argument. Paired faculty members capitalize on opportunities for shared readings, common assignments and multi-course projects. During the second year, students are again cohorted as they study western traditions; each semester's paired courses are carefully designed to allow the discovery of unforeseen links and connections. In their third year, students spend a semester exploring global themes with an emphasis on human rights and a semester immersed in a focus culture, either in Burlington or abroad. The curriculum culminates in the fourth year with an integrated capstone which requires students to complete a project synthesizing what they have learned in the Core and in their professional field of study.
Two signature elements embedded in the Core curriculum are the College's Global Module Program1 (now called, "Third Planet") and a collaboration with the College library to provide information literacy instruction each semester2. Additionally, every Core class has been designed to include at least one common assignment which is assessed using an electronic portfolio and mapped to curricular and institutional outcomes. This process allows the College to measure the success of the curriculum over time.
The Core curriculum is a dynamic one, subject to constant change and revision based on student and faculty input. The accompanying infographic was created by a recent Graphic Design graduate and member of the first class to complete this innovative liberal learning program. It highlights the essential features of the integrative Core curriculum as of the 2011-2012 academic year. The diagram allows a quick view of required courses that are offered together, an understanding of the focus disciplines emphasized in each course, and how the courses build on one another to create a coherent four-year experience. http://leap.aacu.org/toolkit/general-education/2011/common-core-infographic-high-impact-learning
1 Recipient of the 2009 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education from the Institute of International Education. Through this program, Champlain students participate in thematic, course-embedded online discussions with students from around the world.
2Recipient of the 2010 Improvement of General Education/Exemplary Program Award from the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS). This librarian/faculty partnership offers course-embedded information literacy instruction and longitudinal assessment of desired skills and outcomes using an electronic portfolio.