Director of the Magis Core Elizabeth Petrino, PhD. announced via email that the Class of 2023 would not need to meet all the signature elements associated with the new Magis Core, at approximately 1:17 p.m. on November 8. This followed the seniors’ course registration for the upcoming spring semester earlier that morning at 7 a.m.

Petrino notes that members of the class of 2023 should prioritize the Social Justice Race element (SJR) along with declared major and minor classes, grade point average and the 123 credit threshold for “degree conferral purposes.”

The letter sent by Petrino states specifically: 

“The MCCC [Magis Core Curriculum Committee] believes the class of 2023 deserves special consideration as far as their graduation requirements are concerned […] Fairfield University realizes that it may not be possible for you, as members of the first graduating class, to complete all 7 Signature Elements.”

The new Magis Core was introduced when the current senior class began their first fall semester in 2019. At the time of inception, seven signature elements were added. Many students, however, stated that there was a minimal amount of signature element courses during the 2019-2020 academic year. 

“I can remember my freshman year, there were only six to eight classes being offered with signature elements,” said Ryan Assarian ‘23. “Everyone knew that unless you had early registration, it was going to be almost impossible to meet the requirements.”

Difficulty in finding classes to satisfy the signature elements generated frustration among students about the timing of the announcement. 

“It was frustrating that this is just now being addressed,” said senior Kathryn Bourque. “We have been trying for multiple semesters to try to get these [signature element] requirements.” 

One professor who has asked to remain anonymous said, “the attributed/element classes have been a disastrously stressful and unnecessary addition to Fairfield’s core curriculum.” 

Putting timing and questions of necessity aside, however, some students expressed feelings of relief toward the decision.

 “I am relieved that they’re potentially waiving some of the attribute requirements,” said senior Amy Knott. “Now I have room to take a class that’ll allow me to get another minor.”

Another senior student, Megan Murphy, expressed a similar sentiment. “While I was able to get all of my signature elements without any issues […] I appreciate the fact that the school is providing the Class of 2023 with a break, as we are the ‘guinea pigs’ of the new core,” she shared.

Petrino’s email assures students that incompletion of signature elements will “not impede” graduation. Students will review their undergraduate records with their school’s dean’s office, discussing efforts made by students to complete as many signature elements as possible later on in the academic year.


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