On short notice, the Yale-NUS Student Advisory Group (SAG) to the Dean of Faculty, and the Yale-NUS Student Government Academics Committee (SGAC) and its public representatives, were tasked to produce a joint report on the Common Curriculum. It consists of specific recommendations and summarised feedback from various channels. The contents of the report come from a thorough review of previous feedback, additional polling of students through the Yale-NUS Student Government website and social media pages, and in-depth focused group discussions. The five key areas which the report covered were convergence and coordination, number of courses, Science curriculum, Historical Immersion (HI) and Current Issues (CI), and electives in the first semester.
Dean of Faculty Student Advisory Group
Academics Committee Public Representatives
Executive Summary for Common Curriculum Review
These are the key points from the report. Students…
1. Overwhelmingly disagreed with adding an elective slot to the first semester, as they thought it was detrimental to the spirit of the CC; a possible alternative is encouraging students to audit courses in the first semester could benefit the student experience.
2. Overwhelmingly agreed that grading should be more standardized to ensure more convergence across sections, and that students should not receive completely contrary guidelines from section to section within the same course. Students believe that establishing clear guidelines in the form of more general rubrics is crucial to development of convergence in assessment.
3. Overwhelmingly agreed that the different tracks in Science should not be joined, and that the Sciences should be made a distribution requirement, with a few variations to implementations. While they note that this would remove some of the commonality of the CC, students feel that the current approach to science education is ineffective for all students, science background regardless.
4. Overwhelmingly agreed that there should not be “curved” grading. This sentiment is particularly widespread with regard to Quantitative Reasoning.
5. Mostly agreed that CI and HI requirements should be significantly eased, or that their current iteration should be removed from the curriculum, due to the arbitrary nature of the selections within those requirements, and the undue burden they place on study abroad, major requirements, and capstone projects.
6. Mostly agreed that while a good idea in theory, the development of interdisciplinary courses should be very carefully administered and executed to ensure student buyin to the process.
7. Mostly agreed that more discussion between course coordinators, including potential restructuring of CC syllabi could help ensure greater coordination within the CC.
8. Had conflicting views on the ideal size of the CC.