MU continues to revise the Miami Plan
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 00:03
Along with the many physical changes Miami University is currently undergoing, the Miami Plan is also being redesigned. New models, perspectives and initiatives are being explored to improve the system.
The Miami Plan Redesign Task Force, made up of students, staff and faculty, allows for many perspectives and ideas, according to John Tassoni, director of liberal education. Over 1,000 students responded to an online survey last semester, which gave the task force much to consider when working on the redesign—e-portfolios, cohorts and liberal education seminars, for example.
Nicholas Miller, junior and secretary for academic affairs, was appointed by Student Body President senior John Stefanski to serve with him and student trustee, junior Arianne Wilt, as the student representatives for the task force. According to Miller, one of the biggest issues with the current plan is the lack of understanding it provides students.
Sophomore Alyssa Wilson voiced her confusion about the current Miami Plan.
“I am confused that College of Arts and Science majors are required to take language [courses] and business majors aren’t,” Wilson said. “This doesn’t make sense to me because it seems that business students would benefit more from learning a foreign language than arts and sciences students would.”
Junior Aaron Shafer also commented on how he believed the Miami Plan could be improved upon.
“I think the new Miami Plan should be similar to the cohort system used by the teacher education department,” Shafer said. “When picking your general education courses, rather than picking individual courses, you pick a cluster. In this cluster the students in each of the classes would be the same, creating more of a community style atmosphere. This community [atmosphere] is lacking among introductory courses here on campus.”
Miller addressed many similar student concerns.
“Many of my peers are not aware of the liberal education, why we have it or the benefits thereof,” Miller said.
He suggests a cooperative Miami Plan that allows a liberal education and an understanding as to why it helps students get a job upon graduation.
Though the Miami Plan has not yet been altered, there has been much conversation around campus regarding what components need to be changed. According to Miller, the task force has explored decreasing the credit hours currently demanded of the Global Miami Plan and increasing individual flexibility, among other topics.
“In the plans we’re drafting, you’ll see more opportunities for students, staff and faculty to involve themselves in dialogues that cross disciplines to address real-world challenges,” Tassoni said. “I think all of the new components we’re considering will stimulate teaching and learning at Miami. The hard part will be deciding what parts can work together in the most coherent and effective way.”
According to Tassoni, another survey will be distributed soon, allowing participants to see a more focused and descriptive aspect of features in the drafts.
Tassoni provided some insight on the current state of the project, and said the task force will be able to make specific recommendations about new possibilities to university senate in late April. The process of developing a new plan will continue through the summer and they hope to have a rough draft of a new lead model available sometime next fall.
The new rough draft will spark more conversation and will likely undergo more revision, Tassoni said. He explained the original timeline for the project has been altered. Instead of producing one draft, the task force has been asked to develop four different models to share with the entire Miami community this spring.
“From the response we receive, we’ll make recommendations in our April report to senate about what components might be emphasized, combined or left off the table as a lead model is developed,” Tassoni said.
According to Miller, redesigning the plan is not an easy task, and in order for it to be successful the entire Miami community needs to voice their opinion.
“The Miami Plan is the core of the Miami educational experience,” Miller said. “… It defines who we are as an institution.”
To keep updated on the project’s progress and contribute to it, one can visit the Miami Plan Redesign website,