Curriculum Review Initiative: Briefing Materials for Discussion of the College Curriculum


Overview of this Page


1. How did we get here?

2. What have we learned?

=Final Report of the Pilot Evaluation Committee=

3. Proposal and Vote (AY 2004-2005)


General Education Curriculum for the College




This site was designed for use during the 2004-2005 academic year to inform faculty, students, and other interested parties about the current state of the College’s Curriculum Reform Initiative. The initiative resulted last year in a vote of the faculty on April 11, 2005, to adopt a new general education curriculum, to take effect for the class of 2010, which will matriculate in September of 2006. See the curriculum proposal as amended at the faculty meeting in the box to the right.

The site now functions both as an archive of the discussions leading up to the faculty vote and also as bulletin board for posting on going announcements and information pertaining to the implementation of the new curriculum. In addition, the site offers an email link where comments can be sent to the committee.

1. How did we get here?
In the fall of 2000, the College launched the Pilot Curriculum, an alternative way of organizing a student’s education in the College at Penn offered to 200 students selected at random from volunteers in the entering classes starting that year and continuing until the class that entered in fall of 2004.
Foundational Documents

Memo from Chair of CUE to the SAS Faculty, May 14, 1999
Memo from Chair of CUE to the SAS Faculty, November 16, 1999
Recommendations (as amended)
The Pilot Curriculum (final)

Comparison of Regular and Pilot Curricula

Regular Curriculum: overview & requirements
Pilot Curriculum: overview & requirements

More Information about the Pilot Curriculum

Courses already developed for the Pilot Curriculum
Early chronology of the Pilot Curriculum
Articles About the Pilot Curriculum

2. What have we learned?
A Pilot Curriculum Evaluation Committee compared the education programs of students in the Pilot Curriculum with that of students in the Standard Curriculum. In spring of 2004, the committee circulated an interim report to the faculty based on numerous evaluations and comprehending six semesters of study of the first cohort of students to pass through the Pilot Curriculum along with students in the Standard Curriculum.

Final Report, November 23, 2004


Full Report: Summary and Research Project Reports
Summary Report Only

Interim Report, April 12, 2004

Executive Summary
Summary Report
Research Project Reports

CUE Review of General Education in the College, 2002-2003
Symposium on Curriculum Reform, April 16, 2004
  On April 16, 2004, the College hosted a Symposium on the Reform of the
General Education Curriculum
with panelists from a number of colleges and universities that are currently or that have recently been involved in changes to their general education curricula. The program and background readings from the five sessions may be found at this web site.

Undergraduate Curriculum at Some Other Institutions

Brown University:
Current Curriculum
Duke University (Trinity College):
Current Curriculum
Harvard University:
Current Curriculum
New York University:
Current Curriculum
Yale University:
Current Curriculum
Forthcoming Changes
3. Proposal and Vote (AY 2004-2005)
The Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) took the lead in this Curriculum Reform Initiative during 2004-2005. Its activities took place in two phases. First, the committee spent the fall semester gathering together lessons learned about both the Pilot and the Standard Curricula and discussing with faculty possible reforms to the general education curriculum based on the experiments of the previous five years. During the spring, the conversation moved to a second phase, in which CUE formulated a proposal for a new general education curriculum for the entire College informed by (a) the work of the Evaluation Committee, (b) other insights gathered along the way, and (c) discussions with faculty and students during the first phase. That proposal was discussed with faculty and students at forums in the spring, and a final document was brought to a vote at the regular meeting of the standing faculty held on April 11, 2005.