Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liberal Arts Curriculum

One thing I certainly didn't learn in any of my education was about university curriculum.

I remember when I was talking to my undergrad advisor (before computers), he offered me the BS or BA track in Hardscience. I asked what the difference was, and he said, more language in the BA. I thought that the idea of a BA in Hardscience was an oxymoron, and no use for that boloney. Now I'm at a liberal arts institution, and still don't completely understand what the heck a liberal arts education IS. I hear its good, I hear it makes the students more well rounded, I hear that they have a better feel for the problems of life than otherwise. Ok, I'll buy it. But what I'm trying to figure out is if I don't have that stuff...since I didn't get the BA, I opted for the BS.

Small Religious U is working hard to change the curriculum back to the "distributive model" from the "I never learned the name of this" model. The former model has several gen. ed. requirements that try to involve many fields in one topic. Those classes, in my opinion, are a bit squishy, and the students dislike them intensely. If they accomplish their goals, the students learn critical thinking and synthesis, etc. Great cross-disciplinary action there. But pretty shallow in any one discipline. Hard to teach analysis when you can't go into depth about any one thing.

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