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LJWorld.com weblogs Heard on the Hill

Proposed course requirements for CLAS students would still require foreign language, lab experience, but no Western Civ

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KU's new Core Curriculum, as it will be presented to freshmen starting in the fall, is taking its final form right now. It will apply to all undergraduates, but KU's individual schools also are figuring out what kinds of general-education requirements they might like to have above and beyond the roughly 36 credit hours' worth that will be in the Core.

That includes KU's biggest school, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Faculty and some student representatives in the College will be voting soon to establish requirements for its biggest degree track, the Bachelor of Arts. That's according to a letter distributed last month by Danny Anderson, the dean of the CLAS. He also included some proposed requirements from a committee.

Students seeking a BA currently have 72 credit hours' worth of general-education requirements. That's well more than half of the 120 hours required for a bachelor's degree, and a figure commonly cited by KU leaders as way out of line with other universities.

The proposed new requirements for the BA would require a maximum of 56 credit hours' worth of gen-ed courses, but most students wouldn't actually need to take that many (more on that below). It would include three additional requirements beyond those that will apply to all undergrads, as Anderson suggested when he told me late last year that the College would still be giving students a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Those extra requirements include an extra "quantitative" course beyond the one required by the Core; four semesters' worth of proficiency in a foreign language; and a laboratory or field experience, such as a laboratory science course, that will give students experience doing scientific work. Those all echo similar existing requirements for the BA.

Students probably won't have to take all 56 hours, according to the proposal, because they may use transfer or Advanced Placement credits, use some courses to fill more than one requirement, test out of some foreign language courses if they took some classes in high school, etc.

As you may note, those proposed requirements do not include the Western Civilization sequence currently required for a BA from the College. We reported a while back that Western Civ would likely no longer be universally required.

The College will likely vote on those new requirements sometime in the next week, CLAS communications director Kristi Henderson told me.

You can count on Heard on the Hill to continue to provide a well-rounded education on all things KU for you. But it will be even more well-rounded if you send a KU news tip right now to merickson@ljworld.com .

Comments

blindrabbit 1 year, 9 months ago

A step down to compete for enrollment and $$$ with the JuCo and AA programs. Will graduate a bunch of Liberal Arts students with little other than an advanced high school education. Balderdash

Phoghorn 1 year, 9 months ago

You nailed it. I am really glad I took Western Civilization.

livinginlawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't exactly regret taking Western Civilization; I always found the texts covered in the classes to be remarkably interesting and am glad to have read them. However, while in school I found myself feeling as if the time I spent on Western Civilization coursework would in many ways have been better spent on coursework that was more aligned with my own objectives in pursuing a degree. Then again, many of the books covered in the classes were ones that I would have (and did) read on my own for leisure anyway.

I see the proposed slimming down of the gen-ed requirements as a potentially good way of increasing the value of a KU degree to a graduate in the modern job market, as it would seem to allow for greater involvement in higher-level coursework within one's major or areas of interest.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

A perfunctory knowledge of Western Civilization is hardly a marketable skill. Nonetheless, most worldly and well-educated folks have a smattering of knowledge regarding the Great Books and other topics covered by Western Civ. It is indeed a shame that many future KU grads will not have a basic understanding of the history of the World's intellectual thought.

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 9 months ago

"Will graduate a bunch of Liberal Arts students with little other than an advanced high school education."

You just described all liberal arts educations.

Alyosha 1 year, 9 months ago

That's hardly the case. Liberal arts are the arts of thinking and communicating.

Little wonder so many people are hostile to the concept.

blindrabbit 1 year, 9 months ago

yourworst: Agree with you as this higher educational trend continues. Just part of the "dumbing down" of America. The land of Reality, Brain Dead and Hyperactive Drama TV.. Methinks this "dumbing down" is part of a Rigth (wrong) Wing plan to shelter and prepare the populace for a downspiral in our social mores.

Abdu Omar 1 year, 9 months ago

My argument with "Western" Civilization is that it doesn't include ALL of the literature or critical thought in the world. Do we really believe that the rest of the world didn't exist or they hadn't an original thought in the Middle Ages when Europe was asleep, ruling the serfs and peasants while other people of the world invented the study of medicine, astronomy, physics, mathematics and other topics? Gallileo was burned at the stake for proclaiming that the sun was the center of our universe and the earth was not. Newton was laughed at for saying that an apple caused him to think about the gravitational pull of the earth. Were these men fools? Where did they get their knowledge if the rest of Europe was asleep? Certainly not from Europe; but the study of Western Civilization leaves out these scholars and forgets about the advancements that Asia and Africa brought to the world. All we knew about Africa is the sailing around the Cape.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

"My argument with "Western" Civilization is that it doesn't include ALL of the literature or critical thought in the world."

Hey Cowboy, the class is called WESTERN Civilization. If interested, students can take elective courses on Eastern Culture, history., and philosophy.

ElGonzo 1 year, 9 months ago

How myopic of many to think that western civ is the only way to provide needed education and culture. The problem with US presumably educated individuals being so intolerant of non-western culture is exactly the fact that we insist that western civ is what everyone needs and is the only acceptable culture. Those who want to take western civ can do so, but those who desired a more worldly view can now choose to broaden their horizon. By the way, some of us got the contents of what you call western civ in high schools with stringent requirements, and the course in college is simply redundant.

Open your mind, and do read the new KU requirements with open mind instead of bemoaning the fact that people may choose to learn about cultures that predate western pseudo-civilization. Perhaps we will eventually have a true LIBERAL arts education instead of a stringent prescribed curriculum.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

Open your mind, and do read the new KU requirements with open mind instead of bemoaning the fact that people may choose to learn about cultures that predate western pseudo-civilization. Perhaps we will eventually have a true LIBERAL arts education instead of a stringent prescribed curriculum.

---calls for an open mind then expresses mind numbing bias " western pseudo-civilization."

... a self canceling post.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

funny Blindrabbit you blame the right for this, when it is the left that generally controls the academy in this country, thus if there is any conspiracy to dumb down it probably does come from those who wish for greater dependence on government, not the right as you paranoically imply.

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