Intellectual Commons to include modern study areas

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    Members of the Faculty Senate discussed updates to the core curriculum and new plans for the Intellectual Commons Tuesday afternoon.

    Provost Nowell Donovan released construction plans and potential campus maps of the new Intellectual Commons at the meeting. 

    “A few reasons for our success are a combination of a physically attractive campus, solid academics, a friendly ambiance and upward mobility,” Donovan said. 

    There are plans to expand behind the Bass Building and Rogers Hall, Donovan said. There will also be an academic building and energy institute added behind Mary Couts Burnett Library. The expansions would include traditional classrooms and lecture halls.

    The Intellectual Commons is a part of the Academy of Tomorrow, which is a plan to make more modern learning spaces. Donovan described the Academy of Tomorrow as “a time when all our imaginations are captured and engaged.”

    Donovan said he hopes the construction of the Intellectual Commons will begin in May.

    Ed McNertney, an associate professor of economics, and Theresa Gaul, an associate professor of English, also discussed the assessment done in 2009-2010 for the Literary Traditions (LT) component of the TCU Core Curriculum.

    "The Office of the TCU Core Curriculum surveyed 683 of the 873 students enrolled in literary traditions classes along with faculty and discovered that the abstract language from that Learning Outcomes confuses students," Gaul said.

    Gaul outlined a few wording changes to the Learning Outcomes that would make the language easier for students to understand. 

    “The proposed changes are modest and do not alter the concepts expressed in the outcomes," she said. "We just want the concepts to be more accessible to students.”

    The changes to the core curriculum required a majority vote from the audience, of which all senators but one voted in favor of adopting the amendment.

    Ted Legatski, chair of the faculty senate student relations committee, ended the meeting asking the audience to click on a link on the Faculty Senate website and brainstorm ideas that would enhance students’ academic success skills. 

    “We need a sense of what students need to be successful,” Legatski said. “Students are great at taking tests and getting good grades, but that isn’t academic success. We need to help students think critically and go beyond that.”