Pipe Dreaming

But what if you did not have to compromise? What if you could create a core curriculum by fiat, and the marketplace be damned? First, let's get rid of the idea of a major. No more Sports Management majors, no more Radio/TV majors, no more Computer Science majors. Gone, all gone. In their place a heavy dollop of courses that put the general back into general education.

Let's start off with 20-credit hours of Humanities. How about four 5-credit seminars built around major themes like Nature, Society, The Human Condition and Meaning and Mortality. These seminars would be heavily interdisciplinary, integrating literature, art, drama, philosophy, poetry, history and music.

Next let's do another 20-credit hours in the Sciences: 5-credits of Biology, 5 of Earth Science, 5 of Chemistry, and then we'll give students a choice between Physics or Astronomy. I'll also want students to take 16 credits of math in a sequence starting with College Level Algebra and leading to Calculus.

Let's also do four 4-credit seminars in each of the following Social Sciences: Psychology, Economics, Political Science and Sociology. Although history is technically a social science, I would set it apart. It's too important. So let's have 24 credits in the following 4-credit units: Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern and Non-Western. And I also want four years of Modern Language in the student's language of choice. That's 32 hours right there.

We'll definitely require 20-credit hours in Philosophy and Religion, which would include a 5-credit overview of Western Philosophical Thought, 5 in Ethics, 5 in World Religions and then students could choose an additional 5 credit seminar in one of the following: Symbolic Logic, Aesthetics, Epistemology or an in-depth look into a single religious tradition. Lastly, I want one course in each of the following: Rhetoric, Speech, Music Performance, Dance and Drawing.

That's about a 170 hour curriculum right there and would take six or seven years to complete. And what the heck? Let's require that all students spend an additional year abroad. Maybe two. Then, but only if they wanted, they could spend a few weeks learning some useful or employable skill. That should about do it.

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