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News & Info

University of Providence Launches New Core Curriculum; Director Appointed

Date: March 21, 2017

GREAT FALLS, MT – The University of Providence is enhancing its core curriculum, with emphasis on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and on meeting the career and educational needs of today’s student.

“This core embraces the best practices of Catholic universities and better connects us with our Catholic roots,” according to Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy Laurent. “It aims to prepare students not only for the job market but also as future leaders, by emphasizing a sound moral and intellectual foundation.”

The new curriculum focuses on “forming the whole person” and preparing graduates to lead with integrity and compassion, according to Laurent. A service-learning requirement will put classroom inquiry into action through volunteer work and internships, largely in the Great Falls community. A “writing across the curriculum” component ensures that students learn to communicate effectively.

Sarah Spangler, associate professor of theology at University of Providence, will oversee the core curriculum. Newly appointed core director, Spangler will ensure all courses meet core objectives and assess student outcomes, in addition to her teaching duties. Spangler has taught at University of Providence since 2011. She received her PhD and MA from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seattle University.

Rooted in the humanities, science, philosophy, theology, history, and literature, this curriculum will challenge students to consider the world’s most pressing questions, according to University of Providence President Anthony Aretz. “This new core curriculum is a strong foundation that will complement any student’s chosen area of study by drawing on the wisdom of the past to examine the essential ethical questions of our time. Questions such as ‘What is truth?’ and ‘What does it mean to be human?’ will be addressed, as students engage in ongoing dialogue between faith and reason,” President Aretz stated.

The core curriculum is common for all majors, both campus-based and distance learning students. The revised curriculum will heighten student awareness of global issues, including politics and economics, sustainability, social justice, service learning, and ethics, among other topics. The goal is to prepare students to understand the world in which they will live and influence.

Spangler said that the new core is based on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the prevailing standard for U.S. Catholic institutes of higher education. “In keeping with the original intent of the Sisters of Providence, the University of Providence seeks to help develop the whole person, preparing our graduates to lead with integrity, ethics, and compassion, as they work to advance the common good.”

The new curriculum was developed by a faculty committee and approved by the faculty at large this semester. It will take effect in fall 2017.