Renewals of University Common Requirements (UCORE) courses at Washington State University have been put on hiatus for the 2020-21 academic year, said UCORE Director Clif Stratton.

The decision was made by the 23-member UCORE Committee, which approves such general education courses and assesses the effectiveness of the UCORE curriculum. All existing UCORE courses—some 400 of them—must be renewed through a formal process to maintain alignment and adherence to UCORE learning outcomes.

The decision to insert the one-year hiatus impacts a four-year rolling schedule for course renewals program-wide. It does not impact new course proposals or revisions to current courses.

The committee cited the demands on faculty sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the need to shift from in-person to online teaching, as the reason for the decision.

The decision was described in a letter to associate deans, department chairs and school directors by the committee, Stratton and Vice Provost for Academic Effectiveness and Student Achievement Mary F. Wack. They said that faculty could use the extra “time and space to sharpen the effectiveness of new approaches before submitting course renewals. We anticipate that the shift to remote learning may, in fact, generate greater cohesion and purpose between face-to-face and online sections of a course.”

Stratton noted, however, some exceptions. For course renewals already submitted by an Apr. 1, 2020 deadline, the UCORE Committee will review such submissions in the coming fall or spring.

Further, if departments have already prepared renewal packages ahead of the Dec. 1, 2020 deadline, they are welcome to submit those as planned. The UCORE Committee will review them this academic year.

Barring those situations, all courses scheduled for Dec. 1, 2020 submission will defer to Dec. 1, 2021, and those set for Apr. 1, 2021 will defer to Apr. 1, 2022. All subsequent renewals will be delayed a year.

For more information about course renewals and other UCORE topics, such as proposing and revising a UCORE course, visit the online website at UCORE.wsu.edu.