University transitions to new Core

By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~

Students, staff and faculty are beginning the transition to Xavier’s new Core structure, which was approved by staff and the Board of Trustees last April. Although the structure of the Core and the requirements it holds have been approved, new Core classes must still be created.

Staff and faculty selected the new Core, currently entitled Core B, by vote last semester, with 85% supporting it over alternative Core A. Core B specializes in promoting “depth of thought through broad exposure to ways of knowing, or Perspectives, of traditional liberal arts disciplines.” The new Core requires 48 hours instead of the current Core’s 64 hours.

As part of the new core, many 100-level courses required by the old Core will be replaced by Perspectives courses which are hoped will provide new ways of thinking about the subject for its students.“(Perspectives classes) are the distinction of Core B,” Dr. Jen Robbins, Co-Chair of the Core Curriculum Committee (CCC). “The idea is that those courses should share something in common regardless of the content they teach. They impart on the students special skills and special ways of viewing the world, not just (provide) content.”

Also new to the Core are the First-Year Seminar courses, designed to facilitate a more effective transition for first-years to the new realities of college life.
“One big purpose of the First-Year Seminar is an introduction to the academic life of the university,” Robbins said. “Classes will be 15 students to one faculty member. (The small class sizes) guarantees them a mentor who’s going to be there on campus for the four years they’re here.”

The university will begin transitioning to a new version of Xavier’s Core Curriculum, which was approved in April.

“The First-Year Seminar (courses) or the First-Year Co-Curricular Passport System… are cutting-edge things that most Jesuit schools aren’t doing,” Dr. Walker Gollar, the other Co-Chair of CCC. “The neat thing for professors (teaching the seminar courses) is that they get to choose their topic…but then some of the (common) objectives of the course orient the students to college life.”

The Passport System, similar to the current passport program in the Williams College of Business, will require incoming students to attend a variety of campus events. These will both complement the First Year Seminar and acquaint them with resources the campus provides.
Creation of the new Core first began when faculty and staff found problems with assessments of the old Core.

“We discovered (the old core) didn’t really have well-defined goals, or at least not accessible ones,” Robbins said. “We realized we needed to go back and very explicitly define, or redefine for many faculty, the goals of the core. It’s a good renewal process to redefine what we’re doing and why every so often.”

“The old Core was over 20 years old, and for the most part it hadn’t changed a whole lot in those 20 years, which put Xavier a little bit behind the curve,” Gollar said. “We were behind, but now we’re going to be ahead.”

All students graduating after Fall 2015 will be affected by the new Core, but students will have the option of fulfilling either new Core requirements, a reduced version of the old Core requirements, or a combination of both.

For more information, visit the new Core’s website at