The University Senate recently passed a proposal that finalizes the definition of Experiential Learning with core elements, which will make it the second required tag for future students. Without a doubt, the intention of the tag will benefit the students to build a framework for what they’ve learned across disciplines. However, we could definitely use a bit more time before putting it in place. Megan Remmel, assistant professor of political science, was not the only senator who was confused at last week’s senate meeting. In fact, there were many other senators who did not realize the issue was up for a vote that day. Student body president Mikki Tran was not well informed on the subject either. Because of that, Kelly McConnaughay and Jon Neidy were asked to give a prompt presentation during the senate session. Voting without knowing is reckless and dangerous.
For sure, re-accreditation is important for all members of the Bradley community, but this should never be used as an excuse to rush through something like a Core Practice that will have a significant impact on both students and faculty.
Bradley Core Curriculum has great potential, but it is still a growing program, and it takes a lot of time and work to build up each component, Experiential Learning as just one example.
The Writing Intensive tag as the first Core Practice tag is still not mature enough to satisfy all student needs, in terms of courses offered. With only 36 courses offered this semester and a 25 student limit for each section, many students are taking WI tagged courses outside of their college due to lack of options. Many faculty advisers also expressed the same concern during interviews on this topic.
It may not be a bad idea to pass the redefinition and curriculum elements for the Experiential Learning tag, keep it as a recommended tag, until we have a group of courses approved as EL tagged and ready for it to become a mandatory tag.
We understand that adding the EL tag as a requirement can be a great help during the process of re-accreditation, but it is more important to take time and prepare ourselves before it’s mandatory and there is no way to go back.