BY ZAMIRAH HUSSAIN – STAFF WRITER
It is no secret that Centre’s general education requirements are not always popular among students. And it is undeniable Centre students have what can be considered a hefty list of classes they must take. However, that can be considered a secondary issue, as the main issue students typically have lies with what classes are available to fill these requirements.
To start with, all first-year and new transfer students are required to take HUM110 and HUM120 along with extended orientation. A lot of criticism about the gen-ed requirements stems from the lack of variety within the humanities classes. In the last couple of years this has changed but current Seniors may remember what it was like for them almost 4 years ago.
Another common complaint is about the religion requirements. There is nothing wrong with taking a religion class but for one of the two requirements, Centre students are forced to pick from Biblical History and Ideas or Western Religious Traditions. In my opinion, it makes no sense to force students to pick from one of these two and then another one from a separate list. In fact, this rule seems to be biased towards Judeo-Christian and Western religions. Why can’t a student pick any two religion classes or one religion and one philosophy class?
Granted, the liberal arts aspect of Centre is heavily emphasized for a reason, and specific classes are assigned in lists to ensure that a Centre student is learning the proper variety of curriculums. But that doesn’t negate the fact that Centre’s gen eds haven’t been updated since 2000, which was almost twenty years ago. There are some first-years who were born that year.
It is important to remember that Centre does offer many innovative opportunities for students to learn and grow, and pointing out where we can grow doesn’t cancel that out. Part of being an excellent learning institution is a constant strive to grow and change. It is obvious at this point that the general education requirements here at Centre need to be adapted to better reflect the diverse and intersectional student population and world that we live in. This includes content within classes and the classes that are available to take.
Dr. Stacey Peebles is on the Subcommittee on Curricular Design, which is working to revamp the general education requirements this school year. She said that starting this fall the committee will be working with SGA to talk to students about what they’d like to see in the general education program. In the spring, the committee will be able to expand student access to input feedback and they will most likely have several working “curricular models” for students to choose from.
Senior Kat Popp said “Personally, I feel as though our general education should include the fine arts, first and foremost. Just one class in any subject the student felt called to [with regards to writing, acting, visual arts etc.] could be immensely beneficial not only to that student’s overall liberal arts education but could help each fine arts department itself, giving them a wider range of students to teach and perhaps stimulating interest in further study within those fields.
“As our world becomes increasingly technologically focused, it would be really cool to remind ourselves the necessity of the arts and what they do for us. General education requirements are supposed to remind us of the benefits that come with taking classes outside our comfort zone. The fact that fine arts is not currently included in our list is sad.”
Student feedback will prove to be the key to ensuring Centre’s classes reflect the liberal arts education students need, specifically to help the committee blend what students want to learn with what they need to learn. Part of that includes considering expanding the requirements.