Super-sizing the Undergraduate Curriculum

A couple of years ago Mayor Bloomberg was worried that super sized drinks were making New Yorkers fat. He wanted to ban the sale of sugary drinks that were greater than 16 ounces. He had his health department issue rules to limit drink sizes. The “Big Gulp” was under attack. Some people screamed. Lawyers got paid. And, on Thursday the NY Supreme Court ruled the ban was unconstitutional. New Yorkers are free to dig into their wallets, drink huge cups and get fat if they want. Elastic waist pants manufacturers rejoiced.

A little over a year ago, I initiated a review of our undergraduate core courses and our faculty agreed that some courses were lite. The demands of these courses were better conceived of as three, rather than four, credit courses. So we made the change. Because students pay by the credit hour at UCF and it still takes 120 hours to graduate, the decision had no impact on the cost of our degree. But the change does require students to take more courses to get their degree. In essence, we super-sized the curriculum–more education for the same price.

Some people screamed. They judged it unfair to require more effort or attendance for the same degree. One student went so far as to tell me that she already had a job and didn’t need to waste time and effort learning additional stuff. In essence she told me she was going to prove me wrong by refusing to learn. I doubt her employer would rejoice. Continuing to learn and apply ideas to new situations is the key to success in any profession. People’s heads don’t balloon from more education (at least not literally), but the extra knowledge might give you a fatter wallet. Even Mayor Bloomberg would approve of this Big Gulp.


4 thoughts on “Super-sizing the Undergraduate Curriculum

  1. Imagine getting a Quarter Pounder for the same price as a regular Hamburger! Am not sure anyone would complain about that. The key is to make sure that what’s being added is valuable. Employers want applicants who can “tell their story” effectively and employees who can make an immediate contribution to their operation. The curriculum changes will help differentiate our students in the marketplace! Can’t say we get many requests for folks who are satisfied with just enough…

  2. I only hope it eliminates the useless filler that is force upon us. If you do not believe me heres an example of a question in a exam for a certain course. I will not say which class because I do not want to compromise academic integrity. This however bothered me when I was taking the test .

    Question: “What cartoon mascot was dancing on screen in the video we watched in class?”

    This was actually on an a business college exam. I wanted to laugh but then immediately got upset.
    I am a 34 year old man trying to better my life and this is the type of question on an exam that is going to educate me. I applaud the effort UCF is making to be taken serious and I only hope I am able to reap some of this great “education” they are providing us.

  3. Pingback: Super-Sizing, Whoppers, and Private Benjamin | UCF Office of Professional Development

  4. This part made me laugh “People’s heads don’t balloon from more education (at least not literally)”

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