The University of Texas at Austin has a long history of attending to the value of general education. As early as 1955, the Committee on Liberal Education Requirements (Graham Report) asserted that all UT Austin undergraduates receive a liberal education and established area requirements which were designed to fit within all UT Austin undergraduate degrees.
In 1981, the Committee on Basic Education Requirements (Vick Report) defined the characteristics of an educated individual and developed a set of Core Curriculum (then called General Education) recommendations. The recommendations in this report were never fully adopted across the University but they had a lasting impact and can be found incorporated into future reports.
The 2004 Report of the Commission of 125 recommended that the University take steps to “develop a new undergraduate Core Curriculum and to establish a more demanding standard for leadership of academic departments and research centers.”
In response to the recommendations of the Commission of 125, UT President Larry R. Faulkner appointed then Dean of the Law School, William Powers, Jr., to chair the Task Force on Curriculum Reform. Recommendations of the Task Force included implementation of a University-wide Core Curriculum, the Skills and Experience Flags, Signature Courses, strategic advising for undergraduate students, and that a new college be established as the “guardian of the Core Curriculum.”
The Academic Counselors’ Association (ACA) response to the Task Force Report supported the recommendations for integrative advising that served students across all colleges and schools, citing several previous faculty-led University committees recommending the need for university-wide advising structure as well as highlighting the previous successes of the defunct University Advising Center. Please view this Box folder for twenty-three appendices to the ACA response. These are organized by title beginning with Appendix A1 through Appendix L3. View the List of Appendices document at the top of the folder for more information.
In 2006, the Faculty Council adopted (D 5155-5163 ; D 5189-5190) the Task Force recommendations. The School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) was subsequently created and Paul Woodruff was appointed its dean. The Core Curriculum is governed by the Faculty Council, and UGS is in charge of its maintenance and interpretation of Core Curriculum criteria. UGS is governed by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee. The Core Curriculum Advisory Committee consists of faculty representing each core component area and oversees and advises the UGSAC on the maintenance of the Core Curriculum.
The implementation of the university-wide Core Curriculum into the undergraduate degree requirements for each of the colleges and schools was adopted over the 2008-2010 and 2010-2012 Undergraduate Catalog phases.
Since then the Core Curriculum has undergone two major changes. In 2014, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board revised the Core Curriculum by increasing focus on student learning and improving student success. This change required that all Texas public institutions of higher education modify their Core Curriculum courses to include Core Objectives that were designed to advance students’ intellectual and practical skills.
The university has spent decades on these issues of what meaningful higher education must provide for the individual and for our society and our future. As students’ needs and employment opportunities change, so does the way the university must approach advising, degree options, teaching pedagogy, and general education. UGS has created and maintains infrastructure and broad faculty support to make ensure the highest quality university-education.