Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Core requirements, good or bad?

Over at Uncertain Principles, they're discussing whether math should be required at Smith College. Ideally, not having any core distribution requirements is a good thing. For a mature student with good advising, they'll find an education which is broad enough (depth comes from fulfilling a major).

That being said, many students are not mature and such a lack of a core would be disastrous for the lazy and incurious. However, I'd imagine Smith attracts some good students.

One more thing about core requirements, it's hard to make them work well. I've been on a Core Curriculum Committee and it's not fun. And one of the biggest downsides to having those requirements, is that you get students who can't fit, let's say, astronomy into their schedule because it won't count as a lab course. And they might really want astronomy! Or you encounter a student who switches majors from earth science which requires non-calculus physics into biology which requires the calculus based version. Do they have to retake introductory physics now?

1 comment:

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