Core requirements, focal studies:

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Core requirements are a big portion of the curriculum that students will have to complete to graduate from Pacific University.

Not only are focal studies actively being investigated, but the core requirements as a whole, are under review.

After speaking with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Lisa Carstens and interim Dean Mike Geraci, my consensus is that the process to change the core requirements takes time.

Unfortunately, focal studies have already been under review for two years and not much headway has been completed since then.

Yes, focal studies are an important part of the core requirements and I understand and appreciate the goal of taking focal studies.

Having a cross disciplinary education is important, yet the way focal studies are set up, logistically there needs to be another way to gain a diverse education.

Now that core requirements as a whole are being reviewed, the process will take even longer. Geraci said that changing the curriculum has multiple phases that it has to go through and all the way up to the Board of Trustees.

While it is important that the Board of Trustees are aligned with the core curriculum set forth by the university that they endorse, the student body needs to be a voice in this discussion and the deans and faculty need to take the student’s opinions seriously.

Why couldn’t students design their own focal studies? Have a minor count for a focal study?

I know I am not the only one with strong opinions and ideas about focal studies and hearing students opinions should be the first step in the process to change the core.

I have suggested to Carstens that an open forum on focal studies would be a great way that the general student body could share their opinions and suggest ideas to improve focal studies and core requirements.

She seemed to be accepting of the idea yet upon reaching out to her a second time she was unavailable for comments.

Though the inevitable is that there will be no change in a reasonable time frame, my hope is that The Pacific Index could facilitate this forum and provide ideas that could spark conversations with decision makers for the university and speed up the lengthy process.


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