Foundation reviews UChicago Core Curriculum for education research

The Foundation is investigating education methods in order to develop its own grant program

By Lorentz Hansen

The Teagle Foundation is currently reviewing the University’s Core Curriculum, along with those of Yale and Columbia Universities, as part of a study intended to shed light on how students view core curricula and to what degree core programs accomplish the goals of a liberal arts education.

The Teagle Foundation is a grant-giving institution that works with liberal arts colleges and universities to conduct research on different educational programs, which are used to compile a set of educational practices it deems effective. These practices are then used to evaluate the grant applications the Foundation receives and to decide to whom it will award its grants.

The study in which the University is participating aims to determine the efficacy of different types of core curricula to better inform the Foundation’s opinion of them in liberal arts colleges. Participation in the study is voluntary, and is intended solely to contribute to the overall findings about core curricula. The study is not meant to inform or alter the University’s Core program. 

The Foundation arranged five focus groups throughout this week with Core faculty and nine focus groups with students in the College who expressed interest in participating. During these hour-long discussions, affiliates of the Foundation spoke with undergraduate students to better understand how the Core affects students’ selection of other courses and how students ultimately perceive the Core to have affected their college experience.

According to an outline of the study provided to the University, the Foundation seeks to use these conversations to “identify common threads and themes” among the participating universities to better inform future core programs.

The Foundation announced that a summary of the conversations at participating universities would be released next fall.