Bryant launches curricular innovation program

BRYANT UNIVERSITY will launch its First-Year Gateway curricular innovation program this fall.
Posted 8/1/12

(Updated, Aug. 2, 9 a.m.)

SMITHFIELD - Bryant University will launch its First-Year Gateway curricular innovation program this fall, the school announced Tuesday.

A requirement for all incoming freshman students, the 10-credit core curriculum is aimed toward improving first-year students’ writing proficiency, critical thinking, cultural awareness and ethical reasoning.

Rob Shea, director of faculty development at Bryant, told Providence Business News that the school sees “the Gateway program as an engine of change for the rest of our curriculum.”

The curriculum will include classes such as “global foundations of character and leadership,” “global foundations of organizations and business” and a writing course as well as a class called IDEA – innovation design experience for all – where students will be introduced to the concept of design thinking and will have to come up with creative and real world solutions in subjects from the arts to business.

The program has received a three-year $147,500 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to support, foster and reward classroom innovation through faculty development and curricular revision.

“The assessment movement is a big focus in higher education,” said Shea in a prepared statement. “In the past decade, this has given rise at some institutions to retrofitting courses to achieve desired outcomes. With the First-Year Gateway, we’ve taken the opportunity to completely rethink and reinvent the core curriculum for our entering students.”

Over the next four to five years, the school will focus on how the program impacts students’ learning over time by assessing the program and various points. According to a release, electronic portfolios will an important component of the assessment process.

No new staff will be required for implementation. Existing faculty, both full-time and part-time, will guide students through the program.

“The First-Year Gateway is the initial component of a multi-year plan that is transforming Bryant’s approach to teaching and learning,” Bryant’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Jose-Marie Griffiths said in prepared remarks. “The aim is to produce graduates equipped not only with the professional skills to succeed in a global economy but also with the critical-thinking skills needed to succeed as citizens of the world.”

Rob Shea's name was originally misprinted as Bob Shea.

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