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Curriculum Update from Dean Ian Baucom

Oct 10, 2016

A message to A&S Faculty from Dean Ian Baucom:

Dear Colleagues:

There have been a number of important developments since the faculty vote in May regarding the new curriculum pilot. I write to provide a brief summary and to announce the call for Cohort Two of the College Fellows as well as the members of the newly formed General Education Assessment Committee and the General Education Quantitative Literacy Committee.

College Fellows

Over the summer, a call went out to form the inaugural cohort of College Fellows, the faculty body responsible for developing the new Engagement courses. On September 13th, the new faculty fellows were announced via Inside A&S:

  • Sarah Betzer, Art (co-director)
  • Chad Wellmon, Germanic Languages and Literatures (co–director)
  • Ahmed al-Rahim, Religious Studies
  • Tico Braun, History
  • Bruce Holsinger, English
  • Jamie Morris, Psychology
  • Deborah Roach, Biology
  • Janet Spittler, Religious Studies
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, Media Studies
  • Lisa Woolfork, English

The faculty members are joined by two postdoctoral fellows, Roberto Armengol (Anthropology) and Laura Goldblatt (English).

As soon as this may seem, the call for Cohort 2 of the College Fellows has been released, and applications are due on Friday, October 28, 2016. I encourage all interested faculty to apply in consultation with your department chair.

New Committees

In order to determine the viability and functionality of the newly proposed General Education Curriculum, I have charged the Assessment Committee (members of the A&S faculty as well as ex-officio staff) to develop and conduct a rigorous assessment of the pilot study. They will present two reports on their findings to the faculty for discussion, the first in April/May 2018 and the second in April/May 2019.


Assessment Committee

  • Karen Kafadar, Statistics (chair)
  • Sarah Corse, Sociology/CEPC
  • Dan Gingerich, Politics
  • Sarah Kucenas, Biology
  • Victor Luftig, English
  • Michael Palmer, Chemistry/Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Fred Smyth, Psychology
  • Karen Inkelas, Curry (ex-officio non/voting)
  • Rachel Most, A&S (ex-officio non/voting)
  • Bo Odom, A&S (ex-officio non/voting)


In addition, as part of the new curriculum pilot proposal in May, the faculty identified that quantitative literacy (in both theory and application) was one of three literacies critical for student success, and that work needed to be done to more fully study this concept. The new Quantitative Literacy Committee will explore how to bring this to life for students—to better prepare them to apply mathematical skills to understand and solve real world problems.


Quantitative Literacy Committee

  • Jeff Holt, Statistics (chair)
  • Alev Erisir, Cognitive Science
  • David Kittlesen, Biology
  • David Mills, Economics
  • Todd Sechser, Politics
  • Benjamin Webster, Mathematics
  • Rachel Most, A&S (ex-officio non/voting)
  • Bo Odom, A&S (ex-officio non/voting)


Regarding the Disciplines component of the new curriculum pilot and based on faculty feedback and input, an amendment was brought before the Committee on Educational Policy and the Curriculum (CEPC) to change the “Chemical and Physical Universe” category to the “Chemical, Mathematical, and Physical Universe.” This was endorsed by CEPC and the recommendation will be brought to the faculty at an upcoming faculty meeting.

I am excited to see the momentum we are building with the new curriculum pilot. Please join me in thanking the A&S faculty members that are serving in this important capacity.

Similar in format to our curriculum town halls last year, we will have town hall meetings this academic year on the progress of the new curriculum pilot. Please keep an eye out for those upcoming announcements. In the meantime, I invite you to explore the new General Education Website ( where on-going updates will be posted.




Ian Baucom
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences