The Baccalaureate Core Reform Process

Guiding Principles of the Reform

  • Student focus – the Bacc Core is for students, and their needs should be the focus of any Bacc Core reform. It is easy for faculty and staff to focus on unit budget or faculty desires, but students need to come first.
  • Follow best practices – There has been a great deal of research on best practices in general education since the Bacc Core was created. Bacc Core reform should follow modern best practices (e.g., National Association of College Employers (NACE) Career Competencies, AAC&U ELO Outcomes).
  • Transfer student outcomes – The Bacc Core needs to be structured to meet the needs of our transfer students. It also needs to meet our legal obligations in this area, especially alignment with Oregon’s Core Transfer Map.
  • Reduction in credits – The Bacc Core has had “credit hour creep” over the years, such that it takes as many as 62 credits to satisfy requirements. This to leads many of our students to have to take more than the 180 credits required for graduation. The committee adopted a goal of 45 credits for the Core.
  • Incorporate signature elements of Oregon State University.
  • Do not let the budget model drive curriculum and pedagogy; the budget should support our mission.
  • The goal of the current committee is to propose a structure for the Bacc Core along with descriptions of its elements. Work on the specific details around implementation will be done by a later committee.

Beginning Stages

The Bacc Core Reform Committee (BCRC) met for a half-day retreat in October 2021 and biweekly throughout fall and winter terms. In fall term, the BCRC focused on articulation of the mission and goals of general education at OSU.  The voting membership of the committee were joined regularly by advisory members in deliberation. Structuring the conversations were regular exercises in template building in groups which further refined the stasis points for further discussion. As time and attention are scarce resources, the committee formed workgroups to further focus on key points. They created reports and brought them back to the whole committee, which would then be discussed in greater detail and acted upon.

At the end of fall term, the Mission and Goals workgroup was formed. Through thoughtful discussion and strong group collaboration, the BCRC Mission and Goals workgroup developed and proposed a mission statement and a suite of goals for the Bacc Core. The mission and goals were edited and adopted by the full committee in January 2022. 

Mission and Goals

Proposed Mission

Oregon State University’s Baccalaureate Core is a universal educational experience for the 21st-century learner that promotes economic, social, cultural, and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation, and the world. The curriculum strives to develop students’ intellectual capacities and resiliency to be critical agents who transform knowledge into action. Through deep and integrative experiences, OSU’s general education meets students where they are in their educational journey and equips them for meaningful, lifelong learning. Our Baccalaureate Core is designed to foster student potential to innovate and change the world by solving complex problems, adapting to change, and becoming community members in a global society.

Proposed Goals for General Education at Oregon State University
  • Foundational Modes of Inquiry and Innovation — students will use multiple modes of inquiry, within and across a variety of disciplines, to develop fundamental skills and breadth of knowledge that promote lifelong learning and creative problem-solving.

  • Social and Environmental Justice — students will examine evidence from a variety of perspectives to grow their cultural and environmental awareness and increase their capacity to enact social and environmental justice.

  • Navigation of a Complex Global World — students will apply skills necessary for navigating a world with multiple perspectives and global interconnectedness.

  • From Here to Career — students will gain professional skills and competencies designed for adaptability, longevity, and integrity in a global workforce.

Roadshows

The Committee co-chairs and the Bacc Core Director, with the assistance of committee members, conducted virtual Roadshows with students, faculty, staff campus experts, college leadership, and other stakeholders (employers, community colleges, alumni). In total, there were 35 roadshows presented to various stakeholders. In these roadshows, the draft templates from the workgroups were presented.  Roadshow attendees were given the opportunity to discuss these curricular options along with other aspects of the Bacc Core. To allow all attendees the opportunity to provide feedback, participants were put into small breakout rooms in Zoom with a committee moderator who took notes. Participants were also sent a feedback form following the roadshow. A recording of the presentation was made available to stakeholders who were not able to participate in a scheduled roadshow and they could provide online feedback. Overall, around 700 people participated in the roadshows.

  • Read the Executive Summary from the Roadshows, including specific questions asked of attendees, data collection, analysis, and reflection.

In late March 2022, based on feedback received during Roadshows, two new workgroups were formed to conduct research and pose recommendations to the committee. The original three workgroups revised their recommendations, too. 

Workgroups

Workgroups: 

In January 2022, the committee formed three additional workgroups to research and make recommendations on specific topics. These topics were based on issues identified by the 2020 Revision Committee that needed to be addressed before a full structural revision could take place.

The workgroups were:

  • Bookends – This workgroup focused on the possibility of a first-year transition course for students and a synthesis or capstone class. These are considered best practices in general education. The committee also examined the integration of career readiness programming into the Bacc Core.

  • Difference, Power, and Discrimination and Anti-Racism – This workgroup considered an update of our Difference, Power, and Discrimination category, with a particular focus on integrating the recommendations of the Anti-Racism Task Force.

  • Writing Intensive Curriculum (WIC) and Writing II – This group focused on examining whether our current implementation of intermediate writing (Writing II) and our capstone WIC requirements were meeting the needs of students.

These workgroups met winter term and each provided a report with recommendations. The full committee then broke into subgroups, each coming up with a draft Bacc Core model.

In late March 2022, based on feedback received during Roadshows, two new workgroups were formed to conduct research and pose recommendations to the committee:

  • Health and Well-being – This workgroup was charged with examining the integration of health and well-being into the Bacc Core, including the current Fitness requirement and other methods of integrating these topics into the Core.

  • Advanced Communication – This workgroup examined the best ways in which to integrate communication skills into the Bacc Core. Such skills show up in best practices for general education and were mentioned repeatedly in the Roadshows.

Workgroup Reports

Workgroup reports: 

Difference, Power, and Discrimination (Oppression)/Anti-Racism Reports:

Bookends and Beyond OSU:

Writing Intensive and Writing II:

NEW workgroup reports: 

The Final Stage

In its final phase, the committee considered the Roadshow feedback, the subgroup draft templates, and the workgroup reports to influence the development of our final model. The committee broke into three new subgroups to develop models based on the results of the process over five months. At points of convergence among the strikingly similar templates, the final model came together easily. In cases where the models diverged, the committee invested considerable time and energy into reaching the best outcome. In April 2022, the reform committee committed to a final model.

Orginal Bacc Core Report

The first version of this document was shared on May 6, 2022. Since then, there have been two Faculty Senate meetings (May 12 and 20, 2022). Following feedback from the Senate meetings, the Baccalaureate Reform Committee considered multiple proposed changes during a rich and thoughtful discussion. We have revised and added to our proposal and these revisions are published in the second version of the reform report, found in the menu bar below. Some items of note are added budget and support information found in the Implementation section. This is the second version of the report.

 

 

Website Update History:

This webpage was updated on Thursday, June 2, 2022, to archive the original Bacc Core Reform Committee Report in the Accordion section of the website. The second version of the report was added to the blue menu bar.

This webpage was updated on Friday, May 6 to include the Bacc Core Reform Committee Report and re-organize and add details of our reform process to the website. No details or documents were removed.