Core Reform Tools

Core Reform Tools

core curriculum
  • Course Exchange
  • Core Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Accountability
  • Budget
Average: 3 (2 votes)
Boise State University (ID)

A large public institution in Idaho with 19,500 students, 150 undergraduate programs, 72 masters programs and 4 doctoral programs. Governed by a state board of education. Accredited by NWCCU. Testing inline diff feature.

  • Institutions
  • Systems
  • State Agencies


Reviewing and revising general education requirements for the baccalaureate degree

  • Develop recommendations to the Faculty Senate as to how Boise State University's core requirements might best facilitate student learning of core learning outcomes through modification of the current structure or objectives, an alternative core path, and/or reaffirmation of existing learning outcomes or structure.

  • These activities are well aligned with one of the four main destinations in Boise State’s strategic vision, Charting The Course, namely “Academic Excellence: high quality student focused programs that integrate theory and practice, engage students in community-based learning, and are informed by meaningful assessment.


This tool is designed to outline the process used at one institution in order to examine its general education requirements with the goals of making major revisions to better reflect the learning outcomes desired for all graduates of the university.

* Guidelines for creating a representative task force * Copy of the task force’s charge * List of constituents consulted for suggestions and input * Time line for each stage of the planning process * Interim task force progress report with diagnosis of weaknesses in existing curriculum * Initial task force proposal for new curriculum * Table summarizing the old general education requirements and learning objectives with the new general education requirements and learning objectives * Narrative of how campus consensus was built * List of obstacles to overcome * Description of approval process * Description of how implementation was achieved * List of lessons learned * Relevant literature

  • Course-level student learning, assessed by rubrics

  • Program-level student learning, assessed by aggregated course-level results and instructor reports

  • Student retention and graduation rates, assessed by the office of Institutional Analysis, Assessment, and Reporting

  • Student satisfaction, assessed by course evaluations and graduation surveys

  • Student job readiness, assessed by employer and alumni surveys

A new undergraduate core curriculum that is endorsed by faculty, students, community and business representatives, and the administration.

The process required all stakeholders to think creatively about how to produce a more effective and more streamlined core curriculum for our undergraduates. With the new program in place, we expect student learning, retention, and satisfaction to increase significantly.


Temporary, dedicated staff from Center for Teaching and Learning (.25 FTE) and the Provost’s Office (.2 FTE) to support task force; server space for wiki

  • $2,000 (one time) for travel to conferences for committee members

  • $1500 (one time) to bring visitor to campus to meet with groups of faculty

  • $100,000 (on going) to support new course development and assessment

  • Needs to be a faculty led effort with support of administration

  • Give the process adequate time to progress, but set realistic deadlines

  • Representation from all colleges and student affairs is vital

  • Examining models in place at other institutions is time consuming but of critical importance

  • Consulting with external expert is very helpful and adds credibility to the process

  • Engagement and support of Faculty and Student Senates is a must

  • Many interconnected pieces must be examined together; for example, the organizational structure will impact how courses are offered and the assessment

  • Don’t underestimate the emotional and psychological impact that such sweeping change can have upon faculty and staff; be prepared to deal with such impacts

  • Flexibility on the part of faculty, staff, and the Registrar is very important during the transition period

Work proactively with the local community college such that core transferability works seamlessly. We will also be mindful of the changing needs of community partners.


Sharon McGuire
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Business Building, Room B-307
Boise, Idaho 83725-1000
Phone: 208- 426-4062

Sona Andrews
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Business Building, Room B-307
Boise, Idaho 83725-1000
Phone: (208) 426-1202
Fax: (208) 426-3779