Update on University Core of Common Studies revision process

February 2016

Participation from campus continues to be very strong. The two campuswide surveys last semester had significant participation rates from faculty (roughly 36% and 41% respectively). All of the undergraduate colleges held faculty discussions.

  • MUSG has been invited to participate throughout, and students will be organizing another focus group this semester.
  • Currently, we are in a phase where faculty, staff, administrator, student, and alumni workgroups are using the surveys and other research data to formulate possible structures for organizing and delivering on the learning outcomes identified by campus. We have at least 11 groups, with over 90 individuals participating from across campus.
  • The workgroups and anyone else across campus community can submit proposals for structuring the revised Core by 2/15.

Proposal Guidelines

  • After 2/15, proposals will be posted on the Core revision process website for campus input.
  • After receiving campus input, proposals will be evaluated by three representative bodies: The Core Curriculum Review Committee, The University Board of Undergraduate Studies, and University Academic Senate in March and April.

Core revision workgroup updates

Colleagues across campus have come together to explore possible structures for delivering on the outcomes and priorities proposed last semester by the Marquette community. Here are some brief updates from the groups:

Team A (Maureen McAvoy):

We have a structure identified with the Mission of Jes. Ed. & Ignatian Pedagogy being it’s connective tissue so to speak.  We are using the data from Survey 2 as our guide to identify courses and learning outcomes.

Team B (Jeff LaBelle):

We are developing a dual integration model thematically organized by four kinds of reasoning (quantitative, narrative, expressive, and reflective), beginning with explorations in reasoning via a common Marquette Seminar, during the first year of undergraduate studies, and culminating in a summative Senior Seminar to assess the achievement of core learning outcomes organized in each of these four reasoning areas

Team C (Ruth Ann Belknap):

At our second meeting we looked at several models submitted by the members of the work group; each had aspects that we appreciated. We then identified the components we would like to incorporate in our final report. We meet again next week to finalize our recommendation.

Team D (Laura Matthew):

We are thinking about scaffoldings that would develop competencies and cultivate connections between classes, disciplines/training, and extra-academic experiences, from freshman to senior years. The Core should help students ask "who do I want to be" more than "what do I want to do."

Team E (Sarah Feldner):

Focus on development of student ability to engage the world critically, analytically, and with a sense of wonder. Emphasis on a process as opposed to content (i.e., every class will emphasize fundamental questions that provide a lens for engaging and reflecting upon the world). Goal is have students have a deep understanding of what it means to be “other.”

Team F (Lars Olson):

Two ideas have come out of our group. The first is an open distributional framework with a liberal arts core and flexibility in disciplinary areas. The other—which we are calling the “small change core”— is a framework to teach some core classes in teams or between units, like Philosophy and English together.

Team G (Lowell Barrington):

The first meeting produced the following "vision" for follow-up meetings: A revised Core should take a tiered approach that includes an early foundational, shared experience; it should be designed to foster cross-course integration and instructor interaction; and it should avoid overly rigid sequencing.

Team H (Sarah Wadsworth):


Team I (Joshua Burns):

Our conversation is tilting toward the idea of a first-year common experience in the form of a seminar highlighting the intersection of the various disciplines taught at Marquette. The points of intersection emphasized would relate to core values in Ignatian pedagogy.

Team J (Heather James):

We seem to all be in favor of a structure with three major components that attempt to scaffold students' experiences in the core and also push them into experiences witha discipline outside their major. We are individually drafting more specific suggestions to fill in this broad structure and then coming back together this week to compare and discuss.

Team K (Mike Wreen):


Marquette University

About the revision

In May 2015, President Michael R. Lovell and Provost Dan Myers issued a campus-wide charge to revise and revitalize the University Core of Common Studies in light of 21st-century pedagogical research and our continuing commitment to Jesuit higher education.

Learn more

Quick Links

List of Approved MCC courses

Discovery Themes

List of Core Curriculum Committee Members

Summary of Core Curriculum Outcomes