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Core curriculum is completed in time for Fall 1999

By Michelle Norton
Campus Editor

University of Houston Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Edward Sheridan announced Wednesday the completion of the new 42- hour core curriculum for Fall 1999.

Under the new core curriculum, 36 semester credit hours will be dedicated to communication, mathematics, natural science, humanities, visual and performing arts, U.S. history, American government and social and behavioral sciences.

It will also include the six-hour institutionally designated option that has been the focus of much debate for the past several months.

The six-hour option will be composed of three hours of social or behavioral sciences and three hours of a course focused on mathematics and reasoning.

The announcement of the completed six-hour option came after the Undergraduate Council rejected Sheridan’s original proposal at a Dec. 2 meeting.

At the time, Sheridan proposed to establish a three-hour option in social sciences and a three-hour option in cultural heritage.

Council members were concerned with the proposal because it lacked courses in math and reasoning. 

In a Dec. 4 article in The Daily Cougar, Geosciences Professor Rosalie Maddocks said, "Under Sheridan’s proposal, the core curriculum would not emphasize fundamental logic, a skill many UH students seriously lack."

Associate Professor of Political Science Ross Lence said, "It seems to me that what is lacking is basic skills."

During the Dec. 2 meeting, the council voted in favor of a motion to establish a three-hour math and reasoning requirement and a three-hour writing-intensive course.

Sheridan compromised by substituting a three-hour course in math and reasoning for the cultural heritage course that was in his original proposal.

To appease the council’s concern with writing, Sheridan specified that courses in the humanities and the one three-hour course in the social and behavioral sciences segment must be writing intensive.

At the last meeting, council members were concerned about where the money would come from to fund courses specified as writing intensive. 

Associate Professor of English George Trail said the money to create such courses does not exist. "Where are the resources to hire that massive influx of people?"

"Sheridan intends to identify the resources to establish writing-intensive courses by the fall of 2000," Charlson said.

Charlson and Sheridan were unavailable for further comment on the matter.

The announcement of the new core curriculum comes in time "to proceed with drafting language, which will be included in the 1999-2001 undergraduate catalog."

The next step in the curriculum process is to decide which courses will satisfy the core curriculum.

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