Core 21 requirements at Cal Lutheran undergo first revision since ‘the late 1980’s’

Haley Clark, Reporter

California Lutheran University faculty members have gotten together to revise Core 21 and have determined how effectively Core 21 meets the goals and mission of the university. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Leanne Neilson said in a Zoom interview the last time the entirety of Core 21 was revised was in the late 1980’s. 

“Since then there have been small tweaks along the way but we have been talking for many years now, probably six to eight years, that we need to look at this and revise it and now we’re finally getting there,” Neilson said.

Task Force Vice Chair Elena Jaloma said in a Zoom interview that Core 21 doesn’t accurately reflect the needs of students and faculty at Cal Lutheran today. 

“What we’re hoping to do is revamp it in a way that it is a more diverse and inclusive general education,” Jaloma said. “We’re also hoping that through these changes students will have a better understanding of what it means to have a liberal arts education.” 

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jessica Lavariega Monforti, said there has been more than 1,000 hours of research put into this over the summer. 

Jaloma said the task force is divided into three separate areas: the design team, implementation team and assessment team. Each of these teams will help carry out the charge of redesigning the general education curriculum.

“We are trying really hard to get widespread feedback into the process,” Lavariega Monforti said.

Jaloma said the next step in the revision process is to share the designs the task force has created.

“There will be three designs that we will present and then everyone will get a chance to look at those designs and give feedback to them,” Jaloma said. “The change comes out of the faculty who are in the College of Arts and Sciences. They will vote on whether or not to pass this change.”

Neilson said the task force is the core work group doing the major analysis, but the faculty will be the ones voting.

“The faculty own the curriculum in higher education so they decide what the curriculum is,” Neilson said.

Neilson said a gallery walk took place in Overton Hall on Friday, Sept. 24 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This walk was open to faculty and staff, and students were able to participate in one that was virtual. The gallery walk took place with the intention of educating people of the Core 21 revision process and get feedback along the way.

“We came up with a draft of a mission statement and a draft of learning outcomes. What we wanted is for people to respond to those,” Lavariega Monforti said.

Lavariega Monforti said they received strong points of feedback from the gallery walk.

“We had more than 50 participants in person and the members of the task force were there to answer questions and walk through,” Lavariega Monforti said. “We received additional feedback virtually, both from students, faculty, and staff.”

Lavariega Monforti said they adjusted the mission statement and learning outcomes based on the feedback given from the gallery walk.

“It’s really important to state that none of the current students enrolled at Cal Lutheran will have anything in their curriculum changed,” Lavariega Monforti said. “This is future looking. Every student will finish their degree under the catalog that they enrolled with.” 

Lavariega Monforti said once there is an agreement on a final version of the mission statement and learning outcomes, the task force will develop three models of what the Core 21 requirements will be. 

“Our hope is the faculty will have approved a design with a mission statement and learning outcomes by December. We will then begin a multi-year step process of implementing that design,” Lavariega Monforti said. 

Jaloma said when it comes to the revision of Core 21, the process will be shared along the way.

“Students can expect these changes to happen in Fall of 2022. Although they will be implemented at this time, the change will be gradual,” Jaloma said. 

To stay updated on the revision of Core 21 and provide feedback, students can visit the task force website after logging in through their MyCLU.