To the editor:
My heartfelt gratitude to David Awbrey for his analytical, critical, thoughtful and beautiful expression of the importance of the KU Western Civ classes for the intellectual development of the minds of university students (Journal-World, Sept. 29). A university is supposed to be a collection of academicians who together can provide a broad and rich education resulting in well-rounded contributors, and even rare innovators, in our society. KU is not a trade school. Fewer requirements may result in more students. But better ones?
It was stunning and disappointing to learn about the possibility of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dropping the Western Civ requirement and that the surficial, but unlikely, proponent is the dean of the College. Oh, that former Dean George Waggoner and/or Professor Jim Seaver were alive to remind us all of why the knowledge discussed in Western Civ is essential for a full and liberal education. Nevertheless, in role-reversal, Mr. Awbrey has filled in very nicely. Thank you.
In my 32 years of teaching at KU, and although I am a scientist, not a humanist (sensu strictu), some of my best moments were in Western Civ sessions with students who were surprised and even amazed by “ancient” creative thinking. My priceless reward was seeing, through their understanding, hints of their own potential.