By Chris Acree —
Six hours. It may not seem like much to a lot of people. You can only binge about half a season’s worth of TV in that time. I’ve taken trips to the bathroom that have lasted longer. But six hours are at the crux of a debate currently being held amongst the College of Arts and Sciences.
A&S faculty met recently to deliberate potential changes to U of L’s general education program, set to be called Cardinal Core. The meeting focused on improving the role of A&S classes in the school curriculum.
Perhaps another proposal should be changing the title of the Cardinal Core program. Naming it after a set of guideline that millions of Republicans think, rightly or wrongly, is shorthand for a government takeover of education might not be the best idea. How about something nice and uncontroversial, like CardinalCare?
A&S is deliberating a change in certain academic standards, namely decreasing minimum general education classes from a required 37 hours to 31. This would include three-hour reductions in written communication and social/behavioral science requirements.
Proponents say these reductions would help to get students more involved with their majors earlier, while others defended the need for gen. ed. classes to increase cultural diversity and expand an overall knowledge base. This particular proposal awaits feedback from all of the A&S departments before going through the faculty senate and other groups. A final ruling won’t happen until midway through the spring 2017 semester, so it wouldn’t be part of the official curriculum until fall 2017.
Gen. eds. have always been annoying for the average college student. Efforts to learn about a preferred major get bogged down in dozens of hours of random classes in math, science, English, history and all kinds of other subjects you slept through in high school and never want to see again.
As disliked as they may be, these classes do have merit. Learning about the Magna Carta, pre-Trump U.S. presidents and how to add and subtract are essential during and after college. While six credit hours may not seem like much, it translates into months of studying, homework and accompanying stress for students. This is on top of the hundreds if not thousands of dollars in tuition, textbooks and other fees as well.
Chances are those six hours are classes that students aren’t going to miss and represent something like a foreign language that will be unused and forgotten the second after the final exam.
Everyone should always try to learn as much as they can, in and out of a university environment. But when you or your loved ones are footing the bill for said education, you shouldn’t be forced to take on too many classes you don’t want to be a part of, but somehow are required to take.