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SPEA to update curriculum for next fall



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The School of Public and Environmental Affairs sits north of 10th street across from Wells Library. Founded in 1972, the school combines public management, policy and administration with environmental science. Matthieu Picard Buy Photos

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs will be changing its curriculum starting in the fall. 

New courses such as Policymaking Around the World: Comparative & International Approaches aim to give students a better global focus. 

“We got an opportunity to take stock of what was going on and reassess,” Matthew Baggetta, an associate SPEA professor, said. “What is it that our students need for the demands of the current world? What do we want to make sure that they know and understand and know how to do when they leave?”

Current students will not be asked to take more credits, according to a press release from SPEA. The bachelor's degree in public affairs core curriculum will see the most changes and will affect all SPEA degrees.

New courses include Management of Public Problems & Solutions and Introduction to Public Budgeting & Finance. What was previously National and International Policy has now been split into two classes, one for U.S. policy and administration and one for international and comparative policy. Details on the changes can be found on the SPEA website.

Baggetta said this change allows instructors to teach each subject with more breadth without trying to fit it all into one course.

New students will be required to take both U.S. Policy & Administration and Policymaking around the World: Comparative & International Approaches.

The new curriculum recognizes the importance of globalization, said Andrea Need, director of undergraduate academic affairs in SPEA. 

“We were trying to intentionally change the curriculum to reflect changes in our society and the workplace that our students are going to be entering," Need said.

Some courses, such as Environment & People and Law & Public Affairs, will remain unchanged, but their course numbers are changing to E183 and V184, respectively, to fit a new numbering system.

Baggetta said the curriculum is five years in the making. He said he is excited to have a system covering a broad range of fields in SPEA.

“And that's one thing you want a core curriculum to do, right?” Baggetta said. “Introduce students to the breadth of this field that they'll be entering so that anyone who leaves SPEA with a degree will be conversant with anybody else who leaves SPEA with a degree.”

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