Tulane to introduce new core curriculum in 2018

Tulane is taking its academic standards in a new direction by implementing a new core curriculum for the fall 2018 semester, including major changes to the English and writing requirements.

Before upperclassmen begin attempting to recalculate their credits, they should note that these curriculum changes will only affect the incoming Class of 2022. All classes currently attending Tulane will fall under the past core curriculum. Dr. Molly Travis, associate dean of Newcomb-Tulane College, said these changes will no longer allow AP or IB credit to take the place of English 1010.

“The new core curriculum requires two courses in writing — the current core curriculum requires only one course,” Travis said. “From fall 2018 forward, all freshmen will be required to take a writing course in their freshman year, even students who place out of ENGL 1010 or 1011 with high AP or IB scores. In addition, students are required to take a second course in writing at the 2000-level or above.”

All freshmen will also be required to take two additional classes by the end of sophomore year. Students must take a class on the topic “race and inclusion,” meant to engage students on different ethnic groups and their roles throughout the United States.

Travis said this class will help break the barrier of the metaphorical “Tulane bubble.”

“[The] new one-course requirement in race and inclusion … will support Tulane’s focus on diversity,” Travis said.

Students will also be required to complete a “global perspectives” course. This class will be designed to “develop historical, cultural, and societal knowledge of an area beyond the U.S.,” according to the updated core curriculum description. Travis said these courses aim to broaden the scope of Tulane’s academic program by drawing in various opinions and perspectives.

This year’s freshman students were offered a chance to dive into issues of diversity and inclusion through their summer reading project Between the World and Me. Some students believe a deeper exploration into various perspectives would have been beneficial. One Class of 2021 student said many students did not attempt to participate in discussions on race in a serious manner. 

“The summer reading book was kind of a swing and a miss just judging by how many people skipped the discussion and how many of the kids didn’t read the book that actually showed up on the discussion,” freshman Thomas Weiner said. “So a class would definitely be better than a summer reading assignment.”

Another freshman, Sarena Matriano Lim, agreed with this perspective and said more intentional conversations about diversity would be valuable to Tulane’s campus.

“I believe that incorporating diversity in any aspect is beneficial to the community,” Matriano Lim said. “Diversity inspires creativity and opens our minds to ideas and beliefs that are different from our own. Thus we can become more knowledgeable individuals who are better prepared for the diverse world we live in today.”

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