New Framework Renews the Liberal Arts
Starting in Fall 2015, undergraduate students entering William & Mary will pursue a new College Curriculum – the general education courses that complement and help to integrate the knowledge they gain in their electives and in courses required for their majors.
The new curriculum has been described as a "game-changer" and builds on the best of what the College already does so well: inquiry-based learning, with close interaction between students and faculty; broad exposure to the range of academic disciplines; and deep learning in a chosen major. It also connects a student’s liberal arts experience throughout their four undergraduate years, and places a new emphasis on international perspectives, where and how the academic disciplines intersect and diverge, and strong communication skills.
The W&M strategic planning process, initiated in 2008-09, identified the need for a curriculum review. The general education requirements were last changed in 1993. The strategic plan launched several initiatives designed to build on W&M's strengths in interdisciplinary areas, global engagement and student research. In December 2013 the faculty completed their curriculum review and adopted the new College Curriculum. At that time, they adopted goals for the new general education curriculum, identified courses and requirements and defined broad knowledge domains.
Alongside the new framework for general education, the faculty considered how best to support the academic success of students and help them make the most of their liberal arts education. Already Arts & Sciences has put into place a new Center for the Liberal Arts, with rotating College Fellows. These W&M faculty members are charged with organizing and infusing content, integration, creativity and innovation throughout the College Curriculum. Plans are underway to offer a new suite of academic resources, which will include quantitative learning, to join the current Writing Resources Center in Swem Library. And planned enhancements to the faculty advising system will offer students a stronger faculty resource as they imagine and pursue their academic goals.
As we advance into the 21st Century, William & Mary is more committed than ever to providing an outstanding undergraduate liberal arts education. We are already a national leader in this area, and the College Curriculum is helping to make us a national model as well. For more information, you might want to read the William & Mary News stories that describe the College Curriculum and the reasons for the changes. We've also provided answers to frequently asked questions we've received over the past year or so. Note that enrolled students and students entering in the fall of 2014 will continue under the current undergraduate curriculum.