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The Fulton 4-Credit Course Model

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Current Documents

Original Reform Documents

In 2007 the Fulton School of Liberal Arts initiated transformational, comprehensive curriculum reform via the adoption of an innovative 4-credit course model.  The purpose of the reform was--and continues to be--to provide all SU students taking Fulton courses--via majors, minors, Gen Ed courses and electives--with an enhanced, deeper, more focused, more engaged, and more rigorous learning experience than the School was able to offer via a more traditional 3-credit course model.  This is accomplished first and foremost via significant enhancements made by faculty in each course--as made possible by the 4th credit and the menu of course enhancement options available to faculty--in combination with the attendant shift of faculty teaching load from 4/4 to 3/3 and of student course load (in most cases) from 5/5 to 4/4.  As the School's March 2007 proposal states, "We...believe that the adoption of the 4-credit course model and the changes in both student and faculty focus [will] invigorate the liberal arts at SU and revolutionize how both students and faculty work--and work together--in the Fulton School setting."

Via the adoption and integration of one or more course enhancement options (from, for example, more reading, writing and research, to civic engagement, service learning and in-course study abroad, and more; the complete Enhancement Menu can found in the link above), Fulton faculty have enhanced more than 500 pre-existing Fulton courses (90+% of them via the more independent, non-seat-time-related options mentioned above, though more seat or studio time is a viable option) and been inspired by the reform to create several new courses, all following the new 4-credit model and embracing the purpose, goals and spirit of the reform that put the model into place.  Many faculty have also adjusted or changed their enhancement choices, following the first, or first few, offerings of their reformed courses.  This is all part of the reform process, even part, one might say, of the "growing pains" that come with such a significant, even radical, change.

The reform that created the Fulton 4-credit course model continues, via the ongoing offering, and "enhancement tweaking" or outright re-enhancement, of the hundreds of reformed courses, the creation of new, reform-inspired courses, the adoption of new, and often more ambitious, enhancement options by faculty new to some of the enhancement areas, and the gathering and processing of results related to assessment of the reform.  The reform, in other words, though in place and well launched, continues to be--and must continue to be--a work in progress.

Using this website: 

New Fulton faculty and visitors to this site might want to begin with the "FAQ for 2010-2011" listed in the menu box above.  The FAQ give a brief bit of history and basic information regarding the reform, with an emphasis on both the "why" of the reform and the "how" of enhancing courses.  The FAQ also include the Enhancement Menu and COMAR (State of  Maryland) regulations, which also appear as a separate link below the FAQ link.  The 2008-2009 Faculty Reform Survey Report link leads to a brief summary of the more than 70 faculty responses to a May 2009 survey that asked faculty how the first year of School-wide adoption of the reform went (three "starter" departments launched in 2007-2008, with the rest of the School following in 2008-2009).  New faculty and visitors who wish more background, history and details regarding the reform may also want to peruse some of the many documents linked under "Original Reform Documents," including the 2007 reform proposal and a wide range of documents related to how to enhance a course and prepare an enhanced syllabus package for presentation to the Fulton and University curriculum committees.

Veteran Fulton faculty already teaching reformed, 4-credit courses might also wish to access the updated/most recent (2010-2011) FAQ.  Questions 22 and 23, new to this year's FAQ, might be of particular interest to faculty thinking about or in the process of adjusting or completely changing the enhancement elements of their courses.  #23, in particular, addresses the ongoing role of COMAR. 

Finally, for both Fulton faculty and visitors to this site, the most recent postings to the site (as of August 2012) are two documents: "Curriculum Reform: A Progress Report" and "Fulton Reform Report November 2011."  The former (five pages) serves as a summary of the latter (31 pages).  The latter provides a history and overview of the reform, as well as a report on the reform's effectiveness and impact as it entered its fourth year of School-wide implementation in 2011-2012.

Anyone with questions about the reform/new 4-credit course model may contact Associate Dean Keith Brower at or 410.543.6442.  Questions or suggestions about this site may be directed to Dr. Brower as well.

Last updated: August 23, 2013

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