In First Year of Reconstruction, Core Curriculum Places New Emphasis on the Arts 


Prioritizing the Arts

Every decade, the Colgate Core Curriculum undergoes a two-year revision process. Currently, the revision process is in the middle of the first year. One point of emphasis for faculty working on the core revisions is to introduce an artistic component to the curriculum.

The first year serves to collect data about the curriculum and spark discussion in the Colgate community about the current curriculum. The second year of revision is designated toward revision and re-creation.

In preparation for the 2020 term, the Core Curriculum requirements have been undergoing revisions. Every Colgate student fulfills Core Curriculum requirements in their first two years. The two literature-based courses that every student enrolls in are Challenges of Modernity and Legacies of the Ancient World. The three other credits that sophomore students must complete include Communities and Identities, Scientific Perspectives on the World and Global Engagements.

Director of the Division of University Studies Professor Nancy Ries is one of the faculty leaders working with the Core University Professors (UPs) on the course revisions.

“There is great interest among the faculty, as expressed in our faculty retreat and in the faculty survey, in building more robust artistic experiences into the Core. This is being identified as one of the priorities of the revision,” Ries said. “Many faculty would like all Colgate students to have an experience making art or performing artistically, whether in music, film or media, visual arts, dance, theater, poetry, literature or other modes of creation and performance.

Ries said that while only a small percentage of Colgate students go on to have arts-related careers, the arts still comprise a valuable component in a liberal arts education.

“It is clear that arts performance and practice helps to develop creativity, curiosity and collaboration skills,” Ries said.

Ries explained that as faculty work on the revisions during this “self-study” period, there are questions to be addressed before the new core curriculum is debuted. Ries said the Core should reflect Colgate’s goals of nurturing diversity and inclusion through the curriculum. Students have raised questions in various forums and through SGA and Senate.

“The Core faculty are not ignoring the points that students have communicated,” Ries said. “Does the Core fully utilize the many talents, capacities, energies and areas of expertise of Colgate’s faculty? What opportunities might the revision seize to build the enormous strengths of Colgate’s faculty into the Core Curriculum? How might we build more team-teaching, co-teaching and linked teaching into the next Core?”

Ries said that many faculty have expressed that they want opportunities to collaborate via their Core teaching.

Contact Nick Francoeur at [email protected]