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Miami Plan to change

By LibMueller
On April 1, 2014

If a proposal is approved by the University Senate in August, Miami students will experience a change in the Global Miami Plan in fall 2015.

University Director of Liberal Education John Tassoni said changes will include a reduction in science requirements from nine to six credit hours and in global perspectives requirements from nine to six hours (which can be fulfilled through a study abroad program), the removal of ENG 112, the establishment of an advanced writing requirement and an intercultural requirement and the implementation of an experiential learning requirement.

"The experiential learning requirement means students will have some sort of education experience beyond the classroom," Tassoni said. "Most students already do these. Service learning or study abroad would count."

The summary of the proposed Miami Plan said internships, independent study, research, experiential capstones, exhibits, recitals and student teaching can also meet this requirement.

According to Tassoni, the new plan will be better aligned with Liberal Education and America's Promise national outcomes, which are outlined and assessed using the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) rubric developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. These include civic engagement, ethical reasoning, critical thinking and creative thinking among others.

Tassoni said there were a few reasons for redesigning the Miami Plan.

"One of them was just to see how creative we could be," Tassoni said. "It's been about 25 years since the university had a discussion about liberal education. There have been changes, like demographics. On the more practical front, the redesign is for the Higher Learning Commission programmatic assessment. Right now we do course-by-course assessment, and they want students' critical thinking and writing to be assessed when they come in and when they come out."

The Miami Plan redesign proposal said a baseline assessment of critical thinking and written communication will be performed through the Summer Reading Program book assignment and scored with the VALUE rubric. The post-assessment will be performed through students' capstones.

The proposals were developed by a task force, including students, devoted to the Miami Plan redesign, the Liberal Education Council and student feedback through online surveys.

The overall effect of the proposal on credits would be a reduction from 33-36 credit hours to 27-28. Total graduation requirements will also be reduced from 128 to 120 credit hours. Tassoni said the goal of the new Miami Plan was to make meeting liberal education requirements more efficient.

"I think it will enhance the culture of writing at the university and I think it will allow students to move through the liberal education program more efficiently," Tassoni said.

If the plan is approved and implemented for fall 2015, students under the current Miami Plan have an option.

"If you're under the current plan, you can remain under the current plan or you can choose to transfer to the new plan," Tassoni said.

Senior marketing major Mary Tehrani said the advanced writing requirement will be especially beneficial to students.

"The advanced writing requirement is going to help students be able to communicate better through writing," Tehrani said. "All students can benefit. Speaking from a business standpoint, being able to communicate through writing is important in the business world."

Junior Karly Osborne said the reduction in science requirements is extremely helpful.

"I really like that they're taking the science credit down," Osborne said. "I understand being able to speak intelligently on a subject, but nine credits is too much if it's not your major. I also think reducing the global perspectives requirement is good because if people don't study abroad, that's a lot for people to fit in. It gives them a little more flexibility."

Osborne said she thinks a personal finance class would be a good addition to the Miami Plan.

"I sincerely think everyone should have to take finance, because that's applicable," Osborne said. "Everyone's going to get a paycheck."

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