Opinion: Renewed core, same problems

I don’t know why I was excited to hear that the core was being renewed, as the Class of 2016 will not even be here to see it put into action. But I am human and we as a species are creatures of change, so I was looking forward to seeing what the Core Renewal Team would propose. After attending a town meeting regarding the proposal -- to which a whopping 15 other students showed up -- I gained some insight on the changes that will be made and the thoughts behind them. Overall, I’ve found that even the renewed core is going to be something to “get out of the way.”

Courtesy of Wohnai/Flickr

Courtesy of Wohnai/Flickr

Since 9,095 of you missed that meeting, here’s an idea of what will be changed:

1. The core will be cut down from 45 credits to only 42 credits!

2. The core course that has been removed from the existing list is Cultural Diversity. Instead, there will be an underlying theme in all core courses focusing on “Global Differences/Social Justice.”

3. Freshmen will be required to take two six-credit courses, called “Enduring Questions” and “Complex Problems.” These courses will be interdisciplinary and will encourage students to think about contemporary issues the world faces today.

4. “Exploration” classes will fulfill the remaining 30 CREDITS that are not fulfilled by Enduring Questions and Complex Problems, and those will have the same discipline requirements that currently exist (e.g. one fine arts course, one mathematics course, etc.).

5. Two levels of core courses will be offered: Foundation courses (which will provide students with an introduction to a discipline) and Immersion courses (which will build on that basic understanding). It will be up to the student to decide whether Foundation or Immersion courses are right for him or her.

First, I’m just going to go right out and say that no one at Boston College looks forward to the 45-credit core that we all have breathing down our necks. Don’t get me wrong; I am a firm believer in the liberal arts education and the well-rounded individual. But I am definitely not for having about 35 percent of the credits I take here at Boston College dictated to me.

Courtesy of Jack Amick/Flickr

Courtesy of Jack Amick/Flickr

Anyone who plans on double majoring or completing a pre-professional track can attest to the nightmares caused by the core. And let’s not even talk about the burning jealously we all have for that one friend who AP-tested their way to freedom. I think that is why I was looking forward to reform of the haunting BC core: to see beneficial modifications for students here even if I would not be affected.

Courtesy of OregonDOT/Flickr

Promoting diversity and social justice
Courtesy of OregonDOT/Flickr

I must say, I think numbers two and three are positive changes. Just as many freshmen take and fall in love with Perspectives, I think that Enduring Questions and Complex Problems will evoke a similar response. It’s great that as freshmen, the students will be prompted to really think critically about the world in which they live. The new focus on Global Differences/Social Justice is also a healthy addition to the core, as it will administer a strong dose of diversity that the BC population can really use.

Although some positive changes have come out of the renewal, an absurd number of classes still remain in the core and the two levels of courses will be virtually useless. Have you scrolled through any of the BC class  pages lately? They are plagued with posts asking for advice on easy core classes to take. Especially considering the limited minors offered at BC (to the psychology, biology, English and political science departments: step up your game), taking an Immersions course seems like nothing but a pretty big waste of time and energy on a core class. With that said, I wonder which level will fill up first in UIS when students are looking for “an easy class to fill such-and-such core.” I’d put my money on Foundations.

In the end, renew the core or don’t renew the core. I think it’s safe to say that the student body isn’t really going to be that enthusiastic about it. But hey, a renewed Plex? Now that might get some people excited!

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