Rollins has long since finalized, confirmed, and announced its new curriculum Rollins Foundations in Liberal Arts (rFLA, and while there were the not-so-hushed swarms of confused and uneasy upperclassmen trying to grasp an understanding of where they stood with the changes, there is a strong positivity and excitement for what is yet to come.
rFLA is, “an innovative, new curriculum that provides Rollins students with strong foundations in the liberal arts. [It] fosters well-rounded, well-prepared graduates, requiring classes in (the four competencies as they’re referred to) health and wellness, mathematical thinking, modern languages and writing, but that is just the beginning.” rFLA functions around 10 requirements that students need to fulfil to complete the program: the RCC course, which is completed during the first semester of freshman year; four competency courses, which are completed as an underclassman; and five courses taken within the chosen neighborhood. The neighborhoods are ‘When Cultures Collide’, ‘Mysteries & Marvels’, ‘Innovate, Create, Elevate’, and ‘Identities: Mirrors and Windows’.
Director of General Education, Claire Strom, stated that it was, “about 10 years ago when the faculty started looking at that system [the ‘alphabet soup’ requirements that current sophomores, juniors, and seniors are following] and they decided that we weren’t doing a few things with that system that we wanted to do.”
The new curriculum is more developmental due to the classes being offered in a way in which they will be taken in order and much more integral. As Strom states, “…with the new system you have to take the classes in order so it is more developmental and because of the neighborhoods, they’re themed, we’re helping you integrate information between classes. The third big advantage of the neighborhoods is that they build community because as you’re working through a cohort, as you’re in a neighborhood you will see the same people in the classes so it won’t be you in a class with a bunch of econ majors and you’re the one [outside] major. Everybody in the neighborhood classes will be in there for the neighborhoods, they won’t be in there for major credit so it will build more community that way.” As for the rest of the Rollins studentbody, there will be enough classes offered for the requirements to be fulfilled.
Being an exciting and new endeavor of academia for the institution, a kickoff celebration for this new curriculum is scheduled for the 20th of February to inaugurate an even greater sense of academic community that transcends beyond the first semester. From noon to five that Friday there will be competitions all across campus inclusive of a Slam Poetry Contest in Dave’s Downunder, Improv at the Fred, Sidewalk Art competition for the art enthusiasts, a Brainiac Bowl, Neighborhood Idol on Mills Lawn, Volleyball competition, Free Throw, and The Robot Games. “The neighborhood launch is to really bring this new curriculum into focus.” The rFLA Launch is a five-hour competitive event around campus where the different neighborhoods will compromise teams for each event to send forth and represent them in competition. There will be prizes awarded: coupons for BurgerFi, prizes for the individual and for the teams and trophies that will be placed in trophy cases furthering the community spirit as the years continue with this curriculum and rFLA event happens again and again. Although the competitive participation aspect in itself is for the freshman and their respective neighborhoods the rFLA Launch welcomes everyone to come out, watch, and support and will consist of a free community dinner on Mills Lawn open to all of the Rollins community. The Board of Trustees will be acting as judges and they will be present for these events, as well as donors, and all faculty, staff, and students are invited. Each event is diverse and distinct in its own way. Strom shares her excitement for the launch “We hope everyone can come out and celebrate this new curriculum!”
The Improv event, organized by David Charles, will have some RIP members present that will workshop with the different teams on the basics of improv for an hour and then act an improv show in which the panel of The Board of Trustees will judge. Brainiac Bowl is a generalized trivia game with teams buzzing in to get the right answer. Neighborhood Idol will take place on a stage showcasing different music acts and talents. The Robot Games will allow students to create their own robo. A mini-hub on Tars Plaza will have community engagement, snacks, and t-shirts. “This is a very innovative curriculum and we want to bring attention to it…. Also the first years are at a disadvantage, I want you to imagine that the whole campus is on this system and everyone is in neighborhoods; so when the first years come in they just go in their neighborhoods and stuff is already set up. The problem with our first years is they’re it—they’re the first class, they’ve got to create this themselves. We’re seeing this as a way to jumpstart community, to make them feel an allegiance to their neighborhood by cheering their neighborhood on at different competitions. The idea behind [the event] is to start building community.” The community coordinators are recruiting teams for the neighborhoods and getting all the students ready! The food to be offered for the day is global and has something from every continent inclusive of gobi ganna palak curry, pulao rice, and naan bread, Aussie lamb medium sliders, Fufu and chicken, and peanut stew from Africa, to name a few! It is looking to be history in-the-making as a new curriculum and new annual, soon-to-be campus tradition shape the hype for the rFLA Launch!