Faculty at the University of Alabama voted this month to adopt a new general education core curriculum that will reportedly give undergraduate students more flexibility to study things that matter to them.

The curriculum in place now requires 55 general education credit hours for more students and 48 hours for those enrolled in the College of Engineering.

The new core drops that requirement to 37 or 38 credit hours for all students regardless of their College and is set to launch in Fall 2025.

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“The faculty’s approval of the new general education core signals the beginning of a transformation in undergraduate education at UA,” said Dr. Jim Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “I am confident that our faculty will continue to innovate inside and outside the classroom to provide a rich learning environment and that the changes will allow our students to be more flexible in shaping their learning experiences while staying on track to graduate in four years.”

The changes adopted this month drew sharp criticism from some faculty and alumni, who said they will dilute the education experience for undergraduates by reducing the amount of time students would be required to study the humanities, history and in writing-intensive courses.

Proponents of the plan said UA's existing general education requirements were bloated and "exceed those of all SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12 peers and most Carnegie R1 institutions." A more streamlined curriculum will be a boon to recruitment and retention, they said, and allow students to spend more time studying classes that matter to them.

According to a story published by UA's News Center, 1,043 of 1,570 eligible faculty members voted in a referendum to change the curriculum, and the proposal passed with around 60 percent of voters in favor. Faculty members were allowed to vote on the matter electronically between November 1st and 15th.

A breakdown of the votes showed that the College of Arts and Sciences accounted for more than 40 percent of the overall vote. Faculty there voted against the new curriculum 243 votes to 181.

“I want to commend the members of the task force and the faculty senate for their hard work in advancing this initiative as well as those faculty who voted over the past two weeks,” Dalton said.

For more on these curriculum changes as they are implemented, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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