ASG examines Miami Plan redesign, shares concerns and suggestions
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 00:03
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Associated Student Government (ASG) heard a presentation from Director of Liberal Education John Tassoni and several colleagues about the Miami Plan redesign.
According to Tassoni, the redesign will be finalized and implemented within the next three years. The renovated plan will focus on a series of seminars, inquiry frameworks and experiential learning requirements, such as internships and study abroad opportunities.
Four different versions of the remodeled Miami Plan currently exist in the works: Badges, Themes, Common Core and Cohort Cluster. Tassoni explained that a Miami Plan Task Force was created last summer to swap ideas and formulate methods to establish the renovation. Last semester, surveys were sent out to the student body and faculty to gather opinions, comments and suggestions.
“A Task Force comprising faculty, student and staff representatives spent some of last summer and all of last fall reading about trends in liberal education, examining designs at other schools, familiarizing themselves with state regulations and initiatives at Miami and discussing strengths and weakness of the current Miami Plan,” he said. “At the end of last semester, we circulated a survey to help us gauge the university’s response to some of the goals and components we were considering and to gather more ideas from the Miami community.”
This semester, the Task Force developed the four different versions of the redesign utilizing the information from the surveys.
Tassoni explained how each redesign decreases the required amount of credit hours for graduation from 40 to 49. He also said, like the current university honors program curriculum, the new plan will emphasize breadth of learning outcomes and liberal education. Breadth of learning encourages students to reach proficiency in general areas, like art, math, natural science and literature.
“Breadth of learning focuses on competencies rather than disciplines,” he said. “We will focus on liberal education skills, knowledge and attitudes.”
He added the foundation courses students are mandated to complete by the Ohio Transfer Module, like English 111, will be integrated into the new plan. Students will have to complete these courses in addition to liberal education seminars and themes, which will mirror the present thematic sequence requirements.
In response to the presentation, senior Senator Brandon Patterson voiced his concern that the updated plan does not include crucial principles that the present plan accentuates.
“I do think the Miami Plan is in need of a revamp, but there are some positives I see with the current Miami Plan like the four principles, like engaging with others and critical thinking and so forth,” he said. “Not only do I see those four principles not being brought up, but I also saw a lot of different paths being made for different kinds of students.”
The four principles that exist within the current Miami Plan are thinking critically, in which students develop critical thinking skills; understanding contexts, in which students explore the historical, political, social and cultural roots of an issue; engaging with other learners, in which students learn to best communicate with their peers; and reflecting and acting, in which students reflect and draw conclusions in response to their experiences.
Department chair of computer science and software engineering Jim Kiper said that he appreciates concerns, comments and critiques, and urges students to speak out, even though the redesign will not affect the current student body.
“You can be concerned about how this is going to affect the university, and I know you are all interested in the continued success of what will then be your alma mater,” he said. “This is affecting future students, and we want the best for them.”