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This essay examines the development, implementation, and assessment of a revolutionary Core Curriculum adopted by Saint Joseph’s College (Indiana) in 1969. It argues that a group of dedicated and pioneering faculty and administrators, led by President Charles Banet, responded to reform movements in higher education and the Catholic Church by replacing the college’s general education curriculum with a Core Program that emphasized collegiality, humanism, and faculty-led discussions in which professors acted as “co-learners” rather than experts. The college’s pragmatic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which convened from 1962-1965, combined with innovative new literature on curriculum reform allowed the college to put in place a bold general education model that clearly distinguished Saint Joseph’s from the state’s other colleges and universities. Over the next two decades, the Core Program not only shaped the campus culture but also served as model for other schools looking to revise their curriculums. The Core Program at Saint Joseph’s College marks an example of how external forces in education and the Catholic Church met with local forces for change to usher in a progressive educational model.


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Co-Learners and Core

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 88

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Eric Hall would like to thank Christina D. Abreu, Nancy Gabin, John Nichols, Peter Watkins, and William White as well as the three ISSR anonymous readers for their much appreciated input and comments on earlier versions of this essay. Thank you also to Jody Taylor Watkins and Rebekah Edelman for their wonderful research assistance.