Thursday, May 18, 2006

    With apologies to NPR: This I believe

    With apologies to NPR, today's This I believe

    • Core curriculum, an elitist holdover, should be abolished in university curriculums.  Replace it with major track requirements.  If a student doesn't know what to major in, then an Undecided major collects the credits.  Put the onus on the student (with informational support from the University) to create their course build.

    • I have faith in the collective.  Academia is a restrictive system (many, many shibboleths).  I don't think the current system is the most effective.

    • I have no fiduciary incentive to accept the current Academic system.  While parsing my sense of personal ire out of the mix (which occurs to greater and lesser extents), I will criticize the Academy.

    • Learning should have an application, direct and measurable.  Liberal Arts, while near and dear to me, should not get a free ride.

    • Intellectuals are not always right.  Some mistakes, even, take a PhD to make.  

    For a fuller discussion of any of these bulleted items, throw me a comment.  I will then expand into a fuller post.

    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What do you mean by core curriculum? Where I've worked, core is just basic writing and math, things without which people can't survive any major. Not very elitist. What do you mean?

    What do you mean by an application? Uses...job training...what? In my discipline (History) students learn skills which have many different uses. Not all of them "apply" what they learn by going on to be, say, high school history teachers.

    Friday, May 19, 2006  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Preserving or revising or "accepting" the current system isn't a matter of fiduciary incentive. The tenured scholars who make those decisions have their name and professional reputation invested in the health and success of their home institution. Why would they not want students to succeed? The core is good. It works. Faculty often contend for developing new courses for the core becasue it is so valuable, and that's where the debate should be.

    Even alternative schools like Hampshire and Evergreen have a core.

    Why do you think it's bad?

    As per application, the above poster said it very well. A liberal arts education is a growth experience, not a vocational apprenticeship.

    Is that more like what you think it should be?

    Friday, May 19, 2006  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The problem with the core at my place is, it isn't 'elitist' enough. It's very broad and very basic--essentially, it forces students to take freshman courses in almost every department. By the time they do that and their major, they have very little room for any actually challenging electives, or time to gain any depth outside their major area.

    A second problem with the core at my place is the advising. Since the core requirements are so extensive and so complex, advisors simplify matters for themselves by memorizing one option per requirement, usually the easiest and often the most boring, and advising students into that. This impoverishes the students' experience.

    What do you mean by 'elitist' core requirements

    Friday, May 19, 2006  

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