Our Journey to the KU Core

September 17, 2012
A thousand-mile journey begins with a single step.

Many of us know this popular quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. The verse is particularly appropriate as we build momentum toward the KU Core curriculum — our first university-wide undergraduate curriculum.

In the past three years, our journey to the KU Core has engaged the entire KU community. Chancellor Gray-Little took the first step in October 2009 when she appointed a task force on retention and graduation. The strategic planning process during the second year included input from departmental faculty meetings and student and alumni focus groups to formulate the six educational goals that constitute the KU Core. Last year, six satellite committees in the fall and the transition committee in the spring developed learning outcomes for each goal and the criteria for meeting the goals.

While we’ve made much progress, there is still much to do. In the coming weeks, the university will take the next important step — establishing the KU Core curriculum with courses and educational experiences.

Building our curriculum

All faculty members have received a copy of the Guide to the KU Core, a comprehensive review of the goals, outcomes, and criteria, as well as a roadmap for how the curriculum will be built. The Guide is also available online at kucore.ku.edu.

Over the summer, departments submitted more than 350 courses to be fast-tracked and provisionally approved as part of the KU Core. The various school and College curriculum committees are now reviewing them to forward to the University Core Curriculum Committee (UCCC). The courses approved by the UCCC will serve as the cornerstones of the curriculum available to students enrolling in fall 2013.

The UCCC’s historic initial meeting took place four weeks ago. The elected members of the UCCC approved the course nomination process (also available at kucore.ku.edu) for how new and established courses become part of the KU Core. I encourage faculty members to complete the online application for those courses that can achieve one or more of the learning outcomes.

The website features a FAQ section and an evolving list of answers. As has been the case throughout our journey, your feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

In the coming weeks, the UCCC will address the policies and processes involved with initiating the KU Core and will consider issues relating to transfer credits and students. Undergraduate advisors will adopt best practices to help students choose their paths through the KU Core and attain the learning outcomes associated with each goal. Ultimately, students will gain a better understanding of how their educational experiences will prepare them for lifelong learning.

The KU Core is central to the transformation we are pursuing through Goal 1 of our strategic plan, Bold Aspirations. It will energize the educational experience of our undergraduates and provide them opportunities that only a top-tier public international research university can offer.

Entrepreneurship “Boot Camp”

While the KU Core expands curricular opportunities, we are also expanding opportunities for scholarly engagement to meet Goal 4 of Bold Aspirations. A great example is our first Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, to be hosted by the KU Center for Technology Commercialization on Tuesday, October 9.

Already, more than 100 faculty, staff and students have signed up for this unique all-day session at the Oread Hotel. Participants will have a chance to learn about the startup process from nationally recognized experts and to connect with the support resources available at KU.

There will also be an opportunity for individual coaching on business proposals submitted by September 25. Space is limited, so be sure to register on the website, as you don’t want to miss this great opportunity. I look forward to seeing you there!

Enjoying the journey

What I find most exciting about Bold Aspirations is that it is focused on how to advance KU in a small number of significant ways. We are in the midst of a transformative journey toward our vision as a top-tier public international research university. While we face challenges and uncertainties along the way, we are confident that KU — and all those we serve — will be stronger as a result. I encourage you to celebrate and appreciate the steps we take along this journey as a valuable and rewarding experience.

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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