In October 2023 Provost Kenneth T. Christensen announced the formation of a Core Curriculum Task Force, which is being led by co-chairs Jennifer deWinter, dean of Lewis College of Science and Letters, and John and Mae Calamos Stuart School of Business Dean Endowed Chair Liad Wagman.
As the university embarks on a comprehensive review of all of its academic programs for relevance, rigor, and market alignment, a critical component underpinning all undergraduate programs is the core curriculum. As such, before we take an in-depth evaluation of these programs, the university is revisiting the purpose and structure of the core curriculum so that it best aligns with our institutional mission (as an opportunity engine focused on developing leaders who will have significant career success) and the needs of our relevant stakeholders (including students, their communities, and the marketplace).
With the rapidly shifting landscape of higher education, coupled with the evolving needs of both industries that employ our graduates and the needs of society, the task force was asked to ensure that the university’s core curriculum meets the following requirements:
- Streamline the core curriculum to make it simpler and focused on student success to develop well-rounded, human-centered graduates
- Ensure that the core curriculum continues to emphasize core competencies such as social awareness, effective communication, and technical competence while also differentiating all of our graduates in ways that align with our purpose and mission, including by emphasizing the following skill sets for all undergraduate students
- Entrepreneurial mindset and foundational business acumen: Not every student will become an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, but leveraging the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship’s capabilities, these skills founded in innovation and exploration are relevant and impactful no matter the career path a student chooses
- Design and Innovation: Leverage design, innovation, and practice-based learning as strengths of our campus through core design training of all students based on extensive Institute of Design expertise, creativity, and responsible decision-making
- Data and computational literacy: All of our students should have a baseline skill set of using data and information to make good decisions and communicate with data effectively, leveraging modern tools in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.
- Human-centered education, leadership, and ethics: We want graduate students who are trained in human-centered and globally aware approaches and an innovative leadership approach so that they are equipped to develop innovative solutions to industry’s and society’s most pressing issues in inclusive, ethical, and accessible ways
- Ensure that experiential learning is at the heart of the core curriculum, including by critically evaluating the purpose, structure, and relevance of the current Introduction to the Profession and Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program structures
- Position the core curriculum as a highly relevant, highly engaging experience that will contribute to enrollment growth across campus and dovetail well with each student’s academic major. In this regard, engaged students learn better, meaning a relevant and impactful core curriculum that they see as a value add will enhance student success: both during their time at Illinois Tech and in their future careers
In this activity, the task force was asked that it not be constrained by the normal three-credit course structure but instead consider ways in which Illinois Tech students can be exposed to these elements through interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experiences taught with a mix of standard instruction, leveraging of asynchronous learning assets complemented by synchronous activities, practice-based, team-based, and interdisciplinary learning, and significant hands-on learning experiences. The approaches developed should be modular and adaptable to a range of learning interactions, including in-person, hybrid and remote learning, so that both on-campus and remote students receive quality and impactful experiences.
Members of the task force include:
- Teaching Professor Matthew Bauer
- Associate Professor Sang-Baum Kang
- Carl and Paul Bodine Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering Mahesh Krishnamurthy
- Associate Teaching and Research Professor Bhoopesh Mishra
- Assistant Teaching Professor Hannah Ringler
- Associate Professor Ankit Srivastava
- Charles L. Owen Professor in Design Carlos Teixeira
- Associate Professor Catherine Wetzel
- Senior Director of Career Services B.J. Engelhardt
- Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Joe Gorzkowski
- Deputy Vice Provost for Accreditation and Academic Initiatives Nick Menhart
- Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Admission Fareine Suarez