Sypherd's plan aims to enrich UA undergrads

By Joseph Barrios

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A new idea that could shake up undergraduate education is being structured at the UA.

University of Arizona Provost Paul Sypherd addressed academic department heads and directors Friday to unveil a new plan which would establish core undergraduate classes to replace general education requirements. The undergraduates would also be advised by high-ranking faculty.

The idea would establish year-long courses in science, social science, humanities and arts beginning as early as Fall 1996. All freshmen would take a core class in each area and use the same academic curriculum. The core classes would replace general education requirements.

The idea is part of a plan to enrich undergraduate education at the UA and would make students Rgraduates for the 21st century,S Sypherd said.

Sypherd said undergraduate students might have trouble getting a sense of the entire university community and relating their area of study to other areas of study. Having department heads and faculty advise students would give undergraduates a better sense of community on campus, he said.

RWe need to address the way this university is structured,S Sypherd said, calling it an opportunity for Rintellectual rebirth.S

Sypherd will present the idea at this afternoonUs Faculty Senate meeting. Sypherd said the proposal is still in its planning stages and asked for input from department heads and directors.

Astronomy department head Peter Strittmatter said he liked the idea of teaching biology, chemistry and physics along with astronomy because all the disciplines compliment each other.

RI donUt think there is any problem for us to fit into that. I think the general direction that Dr. Sypherd took [Friday] is very positive,S Strittmatter said.

Humanities Dean Chuck Tatum said during the meeting that core classes would give each language depart ment an opportunity to revisit general education requirements in preparation for new admission requirements to the university.

Beginning in 1998, incoming freshmen will be required to already have two years of a foreign language.

Patricia MacCorquodale, Honors Program director, said a set of core curriculum classes would improve undergraduate education in general because every student would work off of the same educational guidelines. She also said it would put students on more common educational ground.

Sypherd said professors have become less and less involved with students. He used a scenario in which students approach department directors they don’t know and ask for a letter of reccomendation.

“They come up to you and say, ‘I know you don’t know me.’ In fifteen minutes, you try and figure out something you can put down on a piece of paper,” Sypherd said.

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