By Samantha Hilyer
The last Middle States accreditation prompted Saint Vincent College to assess and revise its core education requirements. As a part of that reconstruction, a new position as core director was a necessary addition.
Previously, the core was determined and run by the Education Policies and Curriculum Subcommittee of Core Governance, which often rotated through different faculty. The new position establishes a consistent person holding responsibility for the core.
The position of core director will be based on an application process and each core director can serve up to two terms of five years each.
In January 2021, Dr. Jason King, professor of theology, received the title and duties of core director.
“My metaphor for the process is that I’m trying to build the plane while we are flying,” said King.
His main duties include developing and staffing the three seminars which feature the themes of listening, learning and loving. He is also in charge of approving courses in the core and assessing how the program is running for the purpose of future improvement.
In addition, King will oversee the new practice of seniors recommending the books that freshmen read the following year. King is hoping to get this particular piece of the new core into place this year, as the freshman class arriving in 2021 will be taking the listening seminar.
As the first Saint Vincent core director, King has the unique challenge of leading everyone involved in a new direction. One of King’s obstacles in the process is helping Saint Vincent transition from the old to the new.
“The previous core had been in place for almost 20 years, so many people are moving from the certain to the uncertain, which can create anxiety,” King said.
However, King reports that he enjoys many aspects of being core director so far.
“I get to work with a lot of great faculty … to help make life easier for students,” King explained. “So there is creativity, fun and hope in being core director.”
King’s goals as core director are to build the core and an assessment plan, as well as encourage student and faculty engagement in the new core program.
“I hope faculty are excited about teaching students this synthesis of knowledge and I hope that students will find the new core to be helpful and exciting,” King said.