back to news May 2, 2019

Excellence in Curriculum Innovation

Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, interim executive dean and vice provost, Steven Fink, associate executive dean, curriculum and student engagement, and Bernadette Vankeerbergen, program director, curriculum and assessment, sent the following message to Arts and Sciences faculty and staff.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic core of The Ohio State University. With 84 undergraduate majors, 122 undergraduate minors, 61 master’s degrees, 49 doctoral degrees and 31 graduate degree enhancements (minors, interdisciplinary specializations, or certificates), Arts and Sciences provides excellent preparation for multiple student pathways: for those who wish to start their career right after graduation, those who go on to graduate or professional programs, and those who wish to advance their current career with a supplemental program of study.

Always moving forward, the College of Arts and Sciences has continually fostered innovative excellence in our classrooms, and our curricula are constantly evolving to accommodate the ever-changing needs of students preparing to enter a global workplace. Not only do our departments and academic units routinely review and advance their existing programs, but they also regularly construct new programs to better reflect emerging disciplines and better serve the needs of our students and prospective employers.

There is great excitement in the college about the prospect of developing new undergraduate and graduate certificates. More than 40 certificates were suggested by our faculty, and the first two certificates to make it over the finish line will be Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (administered by the Department of Sociology), and Translation and Interpretation (administered by the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures). With more on the way, these certificates will be classified as standalone and/or embedded certificates, enabling the college to engage new audiences on and beyond campus — including non-Arts and Sciences students, Ohio State employees, alumni and working professionals. The pursuit of these certificates will afford individuals interested in understanding complex social and workplace issues with unparalleled access to the significant resources of talent and expertise found in the college’s top-notch faculty. It is critical to our future that we pursue certificate opportunities for students, work force development in the state, and aligning our budget.

College Credit Plus and Online Course Offerings
College Credit Plus is Ohio’s dual enrollment program that provides students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking courses from Ohio colleges or universities. Ohio State currently teaches about 300 College Credit Plus students, and we are actively exploring options to expand our Columbus campus reach in alignment with President Drake’s goals around our access mission and open up College Credit Plus to more Ohio high school students. Furthermore, we are piloting graduate modules in our Departments of English, Mathematics and Physics to prepare high school teachers to offer College Credit Plus instruction in their respective fields in support of the state of Ohio’s request. These teacher programs are set to launch this summer.
Consistent with these efforts are our overall plans to continue increasing online offerings. This emphasis provides the dual benefits of increasing student access to our courses and strengthening cooperation and collaboration with our regional partners. We believe in Ohio State’s one university mission, and online education is another means to advance that goal.

New General Education
As we embark on a new general education program, we are excited about the possibilities we will be able to offer our students. The required theme of the new GE is “Citizenship for a Diverse and Just World” — encapsulating exactly what an education in the Arts and Sciences is and in keeping with our university motto of “Education for Citizenship.” The Arts and Sciences provide unique contributions to the land-grant mission of Ohio State, increasing the quality of life and public discourse for all Ohioans, locally, nationally and beyond the nation’s borders. As such the College of Arts and Sciences is, and should be, the central hub of GE for all of Ohio State.

Undergraduate Programs
Seven new majors have been created in the last year, many combining disciplines in innovative ways. The Integrated Major in Mathematics and English prepares students with high-level skills in both mathematics and English in an integrative, complementary fashion. The Italian Studies BA combines courses in Italian and English from different units for students interested in an interdisciplinary understanding of Italian literature, history, society, culture and its language. The new Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA is a joint venture of the three departments and includes coursework in all three disciplines. The new Medical Anthropology BA and BS focus on the biosocial aspects of health and promise to be excellent preparation for students bound for professional schools and health-related careers, as well as graduate school. The Sociology BS, the first of its kind in Ohio, meets the demand for a rigorous and research‐focused social sciences program that prepares students to engage in empirical inquiry. The Statistics BS adds an undergraduate major in the Department of Statistics that provides students with solid theoretical training.

All these exciting new programs promise to prepare our students to be competitive in their careers and pursuit of further study. They join other innovative Arts and Sciences majors created recently, including Moving Image Production (BA, a collaboration among ACCAD, art, design, film studies and theatre), Neuroscience (BS, joint venture by ASC and the College of Medicine), Data Analytics (BS, jointly administered by statistics and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering), Arts Management (BA, combining coursework in art education and the Fisher College of Business) and Romance Studies (BA, an interdepartmental major administered by the Department of French and Italian).

Graduate Programs
Six new master programs and three new PhD programs have been created in Arts and Sciences recently: Master of Applied Economics; Contemporary Art and Curatorial Practice MA; Film Studies MA; Medical Humanities and Social Sciences MA; Portuguese MA and PhD; Master of Quantitative Risk Management; African-American and African Studies PhD; and Italian PhD. All these programs offer a wealth of opportunities to their students, and interest has been steadily building.

Of particular note are our interdisciplinary graduate programs. The Master of Applied Economics, a joint professional program of the Department of Economics and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is designed for students to gain the advanced analytical and technical skills needed in today’s workforce in two semesters. More programs are in the planning stages, including a master’s degree in Data Analytics.

The College of Arts and Sciences provides an unparalleled academic experience, where our students explore the broad spectrum of human knowledge and pursue a wealth of opportunities through a constantly evolving curriculum. Be it full programs, degree enhancements, or individual courses, offering academic inquiry tailored to the needs of our students through curricular innovation and expanding accessibility with online options means there is something for everyone in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Full yearly reports that document the curriculum and assessment activities of the College of Arts and Sciences going back to 2010 can be viewed here.