“That is going to mess up my four year plan,” panicked sophomore Madeline Wood.
On Oct. 29, Dr. Jeffery Thomas, biology professor and director of general studies, hosted a general education information session to put these rumors to bed.
“[The new general education program] is meant to tie a lot of experiences together … with a synthesizing component in the end,” explained Thomas.
What exactly is general education? According to Thomas, it is one of each of the following classes: science, math, a liberal art, a social science, two English courses and Core. The new forms will involve Core and general education replacement courses. They will be called Queens Learning Communities (QLC).
For instance, if student A is a first year who is planning to take English 120 and Core 122 in the spring, they could take both of those classes for six credits, as has been done before. Now, there is the option of take a QUEN class with a QLC class for eight credits to replace English and Core respectively. For student A, there are options of QLC 1, 2 and 3. QLC 1 will focus on storytelling to express identity. Course QEN 102 will be writing-intensive. QLC 120 and QLC 150 are courses that correspond to QEN 102. Student A will have to select between the history of storytelling (QLC 120) and the art of storytelling (QLC 150). He could not take QEN 102 without taking QLC 120 or QLC 150. These courses will go together like bacon and eggs to “tie the experiences together.”
What if student B is a first year who already has credit for English 120? Well then, she can just take Core 122 for three credit hours. Or, she can sign up for any 200-level QLC for eight credit hours.
QLC courses of the 200 level are for pupils, like student B, or second-year Royals, like student C. Options for 200-level QLC for the spring semester are QLC 4—10 billion people at the table—and QLC 5—Who defines who we are? Student C is interested in QLC 5. He is an environmental studies major. He decides to take QLC 230 on how sports affects identity and QLC 240 on nature versus nurture. QLC 230 will serve as a liberal arts requirement and QLC 250 will go toward his science degree. In order to take a QLC class, he must take two, not one. Thomas is crossing his fingers that the course selection system will enforce that rule. Once a week, all of the QLC courses in QLC 5 will get together for mini-projects and collaborations; hence the meeting time of Fridays from 2-3 p.m.
Thomas explained that for second years, the QLC 220s and QLC 230s courses will count as liberal art credits, QLC 240s will count as sciences and QLC 250s will be cultural art credits. Additionally, if your advisor approves, one of the QLC courses could count toward your major while the other counts as Core credit.
“We will never force you to take more classes than you need,” Thomas guaranteed of the upcoming alterations at Queens.
For those second-, third- and fourth-years who have already completed Core or are on their way to senior Core, do not fear. You will not have to take a QLC course. Senior Core will remain in place for at least two more years before it, too, is revamped.
Unlike in Core, the professors in the QLC will be teaching subjects they have experience in. For instance, Dr. Siu Challons-Lipton of the art department will be instructing about the art of picture and pain storytelling to determine one’s identity.
In addition to the new learning communities, Queens will implement four credit hour courses.
“Don’t let the four credit hours freak you out. That is for us [the faculty] to figure out,” explained Jennifer Daniels, English professor, who attended the info session.
Each major is going through the process of recreating their requirements based on a four-credit-hour system. If student D already took a course that is no longer required for her major, then it will still count. Essentially, each student currently at Queens will receive an individual requirement list which will include classes they have already taken and what they still need in order to graduate.
“You don’t have to make up the unit. There won’t be a penalty to you,” Thomas said.
After all, the new credit system is still in the process of being tweaked and approved.
In terms of freaking out over recreating your four-year plan, Thomas advised, “You aren’t allowed to panic until, at the earliest, February.”
For more information on the Queens Learning Communities, visit my.queens.edu/gened.