Representatives from the Middle States review team visited Ithaca College from Feb. 26 to 28 to assess the college for reaccreditation. Though the college has met the standards to be reaccredited, after discussion with students, faculty and staff, the representatives suggested that the college review the purpose and effectiveness of the Integrative Core Curriculum.
Problems with the ICC are not necessarily new. In the past, there have been issues with students’ not being able to complete their ICC requirements in time to graduate in four years due to limited class selections and the restrictions of their themes. Other students have struggled because their major requirements overlap with ICC requirements, making class selection even harder. A lack of advising and course availability on top of seemingly arbitrary restrictions have made fulfilling general education requirements at the college a challenge.
There has been an obvious need for change for a long time, and now there is an outside organization recognizing this need as well. It would be irresponsible for the college to not make any changes to the ICC given the mounting evidence against it. The college should reconsider and consolidate themes and streamline the e-portfolio process.
In an evaluation of the college, a member of the Middle States review team suggested that “the ICC should undergo a highly visible program review as one of the very first major responsibilities of the new provost.” Furthermore, Bascuas said that the college should evaluate how effective e-portfolios are at “providing a meaningful standard,” prioritize assessing “these learning outcomes and should use their collective data when considering structural changes to the program.” The reviewers also found that the learning objectives for social sciences, natural sciences and diversity requirements were not being met. The Middle States review team has laid out what the college and, more specifically, the provost must do: Review the program in a transparent way. Considering the breadth and depth of feedback that the Middle States review team has received from the students, faculty and staff, the college is in the perfect place to fix its problems — especially with the ICC.
Moving forward, the college now must set about evaluating the effectiveness of the e-portfolios and the availability of classes for the ICC. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.