This post is part of our series outlining O’Neill’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate education by R.J. Woodring, Associate Dean for Educational Programs, and Andrea Need, Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
One of the high-impact practices that mark high-quality undergraduate education is the use of common intellectual experiences. These often take the form of a core curriculum, or a set of required courses, shared by a student cohort. When designed effectively, common intellectual experiences can deepen learning, encourage collaboration, and contribute to a sense of community.
Common Intellectual Experiences at O’Neill
We have designed a set of common courses required in three of our undergraduate degree programs: the Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs, the Bachelor of Science in Arts Management, and the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management and Policy. In each degree, our core curriculum provides the foundational breadth of knowledge students need to prepare them for success as they dive deeper into their program of study.
To get a sense of the types of courses included in our core curriculum, watch these intro course videos featuring O’Neill faculty:
- SPEA-V 185: Management of Public Problems and Solutions
- SPEA-V 186: Introduction to Public Budgeting and Finance
- SPEA-V 184: Law and Public Affairs
Building a Sense of Community
The O’Neill School has the unique advantage of being a small school within a large university. Of the more than 36,000 undergraduate students currently at Indiana University Bloomington, just over 2,000 call O’Neill their academic home. Our average class size is around 40 students. This smaller community creates unity and makes for a deeply connective and personalized experience.
As our students progress through their degree programs, our core curriculum requirements ensure they have many opportunities to see familiar faces in the classroom, allowing them to build strong relationships with both peers and faculty.
These common intellectual experiences help students like Haoulia Barry, BSPA’23, find a community that can benefit them personally, academically, and professionally. Barry says, “Every single place that I go to, I know someone that’s an O’Neill student or someone that I’ve shared a class with. I find that important, because (the) people that you meet–you not only grow together for the four years of your undergraduate, but also you connect with them further.”
Introducing O’Neill’s Career Core
In addition to their degree-specific core, O’Neill students also share a common intellectual experience through our career core curriculum: an intentional collection of courses designed to prepare students for the workforce of the future. This includes a career development and planning course and an internship requirement, as well as courses in communication, computing, economics, and statistics.
Today’s college graduates must enter the workforce with well-developed communication, computing, teamwork, and critical thinking skills–combined with a solid grasp of statistics, an understanding of how the economy works, and a sense of their professional self and identity. This set of courses is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to confront and solve society’s great challenges through their careers.