UNC System President Peter Hans presented a proposal for two new learning outcomes during a UNC Board of Governors meeting on Jan. 25.
The potential curriculum addition would be implemented across UNC System campuses in an effort to address what Hans called "civic illiteracy."
The first learning outcome, defined as what students are expected to gain from the courses, focuses on founding documents and concepts related to America’s founding, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. The second learning outcome emphasizes the implementation of democratic ideals and will allow students to engage with the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail."
“One of our big goals here is preparing students for democratic life, and one thing I think a lot of people would agree on is when you look at our country today, we are not doing as well as we could in civility and civic engagement and having everybody ready for democratic life,” Wade Maki, chair of the UNC Faculty Assembly, said.
Maki worked alongside a group of four professors from UNC-Asheville, Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University to draft the new learning outcomes. He presented them to the BOG’s Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs on Jan. 24.
Maki said these requirements will be a refresher for some students, but for others may be the first time they are introduced to these documents. Any course that is relevant to the learning outcomes is eligible, and each school has discretion over whether to offer each outcome as its own course or as part of an existing course, he said.
Sean Colbert-Lewis, a history professor at NCCU, was one of the members of the faculty workgroup tasked with creating the new learning outcomes.
Colbert-Lewis said the UNC System Office was supportive of faculty exploring and discussing various topics that could be included in the proposal and taking the lead on the task.
“I believe that faculty in the system must work together, and I felt throughout this process, that was demonstrated,” Colbert-Lewis said.