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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Academic freedom — staff editorial

The Columbian School of Arts and Sciences announced more flexible core curriculum requirements, a welcome change for students who felt constricted by the old standards.

For the first time in more than a decade, the curriculum will change, allowing – in most cases – students more options in fulfilling CSAS requirements.

Students will be able to take higher-level courses in place of some introductory courses and will no longer be forced to take courses in sequence, such as natural science courses. That means students may take classes in three different science disciplines instead of having to take a pair of courses in one discipline.

Foreign language will become a more viable option as the proficiency requirement has been eliminated and students will only have to take two semesters to fulfill the foreign languages and cultures requirement.

In several areas requirements have become more stringent. Art appreciation courses no longer fulfill the Creative and Performing Arts requirement – instead, students must take a hands-on studio course. Overall, the CSAS core curriculum has become more user-friendly, according to Lester Lefton, dean of CSAS.

As many students want a more specialized education, colleges have responded by lessening core curriculum demands – a popular trend in higher education. In effect, the responsibility for assuring that students attain a well-rounded, liberal education is gradually shifting from the institution to the student.

GW’s trademark has been its ability to perpetually stay at the forefront in academic issues. And like in loco parentis, the stuffy core curriculum of old simply doesn’t fit the direction of higher education today.

For students who make the most of the choices in fulfilling curriculum requirements, the new parameters will offer a wider array of opportunities. But affording greater educational discretion to students is only good if students employ this new freedom wisely.

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