Changes to the Liberal Arts Curriculum

김건희, 박근후, 박유정l승인2020.03.02l수정2020.03.02 13:16l376호 1면

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  A revised liberal arts program at Dankook University (DKU) will be launched during the first semester of 2020. The reorganization plan was first presented to Dankookians (students of DKU) on June 21, 2017. At that time, there was a backlash from students because the proposals were announced without any prior consultation and this lack of input has yet to be corrected. The Dankook Herald (the DKH) conducted a survey of 32 Dankookians about the revised plan. When asked how much they knew about the reorganizing, 32.3 percent reported a considerable amount, 41.9 percent reported a moderate amount, 22.6 percent reported a slight amount and 3.2 percent reported ‘nothing at all’. The survey also showed that half of the students learned about the planned changes through the student community application, ‘Every-time’ while 36.7 percent of students found out about it through the portal website of DKU and 10 percent of students reported finding out about it through their department office. We also asked what changes they were happy about and if they felt more needed to be done. Most Dankookians were happy they no longer had to take a third English class if they did not want to. The previous program included Global English 1,2 and 3.  The new program only requires College English 1 and 2.  However most Dankookians believed the school needed to wok harder to gain cooperation of all invested parties before enforcing new programs and felt that other areas such as the scholarship program, the quality of lectures and a clearer standard of evaluation need to be addressed. When asked whether or not they believed the school provided clear information about the reorganization plan, 64.5 percent of students reported that communication was unclear, 25.8 percent of students thought that this was moderately true and 9.7 percent of students thought the changes were clear. To improve the distribution and dissemination of new information, Dankookians had asked the school to provide detailed information about program changes in advance through SNS or Dankook University’s portal website.  This was done so students were aware of the changes in the school curriculum of liberal arts even if they were unclear.

  According to the official document posted to the DKU portal, liberal arts education requirements have changed from last year. In the past, students were required to complete Global English (GE) 1,2 and 3 to graduate. Each class was a 2 credit course. Now incoming freshman will be required to take new courses called College English 1 and 2, each of which is a 3 credit course. Returning students that have completed GE1 and 2 have completed their graduation requirements for English. However, students who have completed only GE1 must complete either College Writing 1 or 2 to achieve their graduation requirements. The former program consisted of a listening and speaking class, reading and writing and English presentations. The new program drops the listening, speaking and reading components and instead covers writing and presentations only.  All students are able to make up the components they feel they are missing by choosing from a variety of electives on offer in the department.

  There are five areas of study in the field of liberal arts. Three of them were deleted and replaced with three new ones. The first is Society, nation and regime, followed by art and physics, and then foreign languages and foreign culture.  These fields were deleted and replaced with politics, economics and social psychology, math, physics, chemistry and biology and culture, art and physics. Returning students can fulfill their graduation requirements by taking classes in 4 of the 8 fields (5 current and 3 former) while freshmen will be required to choose classes from 4 of the 5 new fields in order to graduate.

  While this may seem clear now, there were a lot of problems communicating the changes to the curriculum. First, students felt they were not given suffient notification of the changes before they were introduced. Furthermore, the online graduation simulation program did not reflect these changes, so students were unsure if these changes were actually applicable. As a result, there was a lot of confusion among the students.

  The DKH conducted an interview with representatives from the liberal arts college to learn more about the changes to the program. Both the Cheonan and Jukjeon campuses have reorganized their programs and provided information in accordance with the school roll out schedule. They released their class schedules on January 13 through ‘My School Schedule’ and opened the ‘Class Plan Helper’ on Feburary 4. They said the graduation simulation system will open at the start of the semester in March, explaining that this was unavoidable because of the planned academic reforms for 2020. They further explained that the existing class ‘Communication Between Korea and the World’ has been renamed to ‘Korea in the World’ and the class ‘Thoughts and Expressions’ has changed to ‘University Writing’. These were the only two subjects to be renamed and as a result, can be retaken if the student so chooses. In addition, ‘Global Core English’ has been changed to ‘University English’. Students from the 2015 school year had to take ‘Global English 1’ which was replaced by ‘Global Core English 1’ and could not be retaken. However, ‘Global Core English 1’ and University English 1’ are considered equivalent, but can still be retaken because the books being used are different. The same is true of ‘Global English 2’ which means that students that entered after the 2016 school year are allowed to retake classes the designated equivalent classes because the content is different. Another change they highlighted was that ‘Global Chinese’ has been renamed ‘Second Foreign Language’. However, only students in the College of Foreign Languages are required to take the second foreign language course. Until 2020, the existing ‘Global Chinese’ will remain a two credit course, but beginning in 2021, Chinese classes will be changed to a three credit program. Representatives from the liberal arts college said that although students may have been inconvenienced by the lack of updates to the schedule, all problems will be resolved by the start of the new semester.

  Changing curriculum is an inevitable process. However, when subjects are reorganized, students want precise information about the program changes, a list of available courses and details on any new graduation requirements. Students are hopeful that the changes will represent improvements to the program, but in future respectfully request that the school roll out the plans in a responsible manner ensuring they are informed with accurate and timely information, allowing them to make a  new semester timetable without unnecessary confusion.

▲ Many things change depending on the year of admission. (Photo from DKU portal)

김건희, 박근후, 박유정  dankookherald@gmail.com
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