Home Faculty meeting Belmont Vision – Faculty Senate Discusses ILC Course Availability Issues

Belmont Vision – Faculty Senate Discusses ILC Course Availability Issues

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The ILCs may soon be restructured to better meet the needs of Belmont students.

“Obviously there needs to be changes. This is a bottleneck for students trying to meet their general requirements as there are not enough ILCs available and this is being postponed,” said said music business professor Dr. Clyde Rolston, a Senate representative from Curb College.

Interdisciplinary Learning Communities connects two classes that are taught concurrently and required for all students at Belmont University. And while faculty senators agreed Monday that ILCs are a great concept for showing the interconnectedness of disciplines, faculty reluctance to teach ILCs has led to counseling and planning issues.

At Monday’s faculty senate meeting, Dr. Marnie Vanden Noven, the university’s director of general BELL Core education, gave a presentation on the effectiveness of ILCs, prompting discussion about their functionality.

ILCs are meant to show students the “interdisciplinary nature of life,” said Vanden Noven, associate professor of exercise science. Teachers of two different subjects are expected to create a curriculum together that shows students how their academic fields interact.

And while survey data presented by Vanden Noven showed that these connections are successfully made, she agreed with Rolston that there is a problem with ensuring students enter the right ILC at the right time.

“Some of the biggest challenges I’ve mentioned here are just having the number of professors available to teach the classes, pairing the right professors with each other in different disciplines, and making those connections,” said Vanden Noven.

ILC class credits are meant to count toward students’ general or major curriculum, intended to broaden students’ horizons in courses they would not otherwise choose to take.

When students cannot get into ILCs that apply the credits they need in their course curriculum, they end up having to take them as free electives; if the lessons aren’t part of the students’ curriculum, financial aid would not cover them, said assistant professor of music affairs Dr. Amy Smith, a general senator appointed to the Council on Student Life.

Despite these issues, Vanden Noven said finding a way to make ILCs more accessible to students can be difficult and time-consuming.

In the short term, Vanden Noven said the provost now requires different colleges to provide a set number of ILCs. The university is also hiring new faculty, which it says should help with course availability.

In the long term, Vanden Noven hopes conversations and feedback from faculty and students will lead to bigger changes to make ILCs work better for students, she said.

“Hopefully we can have good conversations next year so we can do that by fall 2024, but like I said, we’re just starting that conversation.”

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This article was written by Connor Daryani.

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