Thursday, August 07, 2008

New "Outside the Classroom Curriculum" Press Release

Pitt to Offer Students Opportunity to Develop Professional Skills Through
Extracurricular Experiences in a New Program
Outside the Classroom Curriculum to be implemented this fall

PITTSBURGH-Beginning this fall, the University of Pittsburgh will
introduce the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC), a Universitywide
initiative that includes a structured series of extracurricular programs
and experiences designed to complement students' academic studies. It is
designed to help students develop important personal attributes and
professional skills needed for future success.

The OCC is based on the ideals of the Pitt Pathway that emphasize a
student's journey to academic, personal, and professional success. OCC
will engage participating students in a curriculum that focuses on nine
key areas: leadership development, career preparation, communication
skills, healthy lifestyle, understanding diversity, a sense of self,
community participation, appreciation for the arts, and service to others.
Derived from goals for undergraduate students established by Pitt's Office
of the Provost, OCC was developed by a campuswide committee.

Students who complete the OCC requirements will receive an Outside the
Classroom Curriculum "transcript" that will document their participation
in the events and programs of their choice; they also will receive a green
cord of distinction to wear at commencement. Most importantly, students
will have numerous opportunities to gain and sharpen skills that will make
them more successful as students and Pitt graduates.

According to Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher, when
employers and admissions officers at graduate and professional schools are
surveyed, they consistently respond that they are seeking graduates who
write and speak well, have excellent computer and mathematical skills,
demonstrate sophisticated quantitative reasoning, think clearly, read
critically, make good decisions, and understand the diversity of our
society in the United States as well as in cultures of the world.

"In short, they are looking for a sophisticated, well-rounded person,"
said Maher. "What excites me about OCC is that our campus collaborated to
develop a structured way for students to accomplish this goal. This
enhanced Pitt Pathway is flexible, yet intentional; it is designed to
encourage and challenge. It provides a platform that allows students to
explore and take risks, yet at the same time be recognized for doing
things they naturally do and like to do. We look forward to positive
results as students embark on their academic journey."

"We want to help students maximize their Pitt experience and gain a
competitive edge in whatever field they choose to pursue," said Kathy
Humphrey, Pitt vice provost and dean of students. "From the moment
students arrive on campus, we want them to be thinking about their
future-what skills and attributes they should be developing both in and
outside the classroom. Mostly, we are eager to help students be
transformed into the men or women they want to become. OCC will complement
Pitt's world-class education by offering a structured way for students to
develop holistically-intellectually, culturally, socially, emotionally,
and professionally."

Incoming freshmen will be introduced to OCC at orientation training
sessions. In addition, resident assistants will conduct training sessions
on each floor of the residence halls to help students determine which
programs and activities are best suited for them. Several of the
orientation programs fulfill OCC requirements, giving freshman a
jumpstart. Second-year students and upperclassmen are being encouraged to
join the program as well.

Pitt's undergraduate schools, who participated in designing OCC, will
provide support through administrators who will encourage students to
chart a course of action to maximize the benefits of the various programs
within their units. In addition, many schools offer programs that will
satisfy the requirements of OCC.

The University will use a software package customized by Pitt's Computing
Services and Systems Development that will be accessible through The software will enable students to track their progress by
using a checklist for each goal category. Students will have the ability
to register for programs, track their attendance through the use of a
swipe card system, and ultimately generate a transcript.

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