At its first meeting of 2014, the Fac­ulty Senate on Wednesday dis­cussed poten­tial changes to the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity core cur­riculum that would better express the university’s com­mit­ment to pro­viding a lib­eral edu­ca­tion to its students.

Richard Day­nard, the chair of the Senate Agenda Com­mittee and a law pro­fessor at North­eastern, said the sub­com­mittee exam­ined the issue last spring and that there is an oppor­tu­nity now to delve into it further.

The cur­rent dis­tri­b­u­tion require­ments could read as a way of just filling out the major in a rather narrow flavor,” Day­nard said. “Our sense was this was not the right way to think about it.”

The core cur­riculum is the university’s set of institution-​​wide gen­eral edu­ca­tion require­ments for all stu­dents. Its goal is to develop stu­dents into life­long learners who will be global cit­i­zens and suc­cessful in their careers.

An ad hoc com­mittee cre­ated a doc­u­ment for the Senate meeting to present a way the core could be written, focusing on dif­ferent ways to view and study the world and how North­eastern expects its stu­dents become 21st-​​century global citizens.

The ad hoc com­mittee mem­bers stressed the doc­u­ment was not a pro­posal, but rather a “think piece” that could jump­start discussions.

It focuses on types of thinking, learning, analysis, and inquiry as opposed to field-​​specific require­ments,” explained ad hoc com­mittee member Mary Jo Ondrechen, a pro­fessor of biology and physics. “I think to prospec­tive par­ents and stu­dents we want to say what is the pur­pose of this core.”

Many Senate mem­bers com­mended the ad hoc com­mittee for its work and were pleased with what was in the document.

It is a great oppor­tu­nity to inte­grate expe­ri­en­tial learning with the lib­eral edu­ca­tion approach,” asso­ciate psy­chology pro­fessor Louis Kruger noted. “This is an oppor­tu­nity to bring the two together and leverage our strengths.”

Day­nard said the Senate Agenda Com­mittee will take up the issue at a future date, and then will most likely appoint a com­mittee, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the entire North­eastern com­mu­nity, to craft a spe­cific proposal.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Senate unan­i­mously approved two new master’s pro­grams: a Master of Sci­ence in Inter­na­tional Man­age­ment in the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness and a Master of Arts in Inter­na­tional Affairs in the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties.