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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Jacob Garber: Let more courses count for general requirements

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Jacob Garber

When the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences introduced new curriculum requirements last fall, the idea was to ensure that all students would graduate with certain skills, while also giving them more options when selecting courses.

But despite recent additions to the requirements, the list of courses that satisfy the general requirements, called GPAC, still seem limited.

For example, I am planning to take four semesters of French language, yet none of those courses will fulfill the oral communication requirement.

Under the rules, the only language department courses which count toward this requirement are German, Italian and Spanish.

Does this mean students in my French class are not communicating orally?

When the University was mulling over a new general curriculum for the Columbian College, administrators decided that lower-level language courses do not give students the skills they want Colonials to receive.

But even with the courses added this fall, there are many leftover classes that seem like they could easily fulfill certain requirements.

Take for example, Spanish department courses like “Latinos in the U.S.,” “Spanish Language, Culture, and Society” and “General Readings in Spanish Literature.” Each fulfills the global or cross-cultural GPAC requirement, but somehow, the English department course “Latino Literature and Culture,” does not.

Does this mean that, by taking “Latino Literature and Culture,” a student isn’t gaining a global or cross-cultural perspective? Likely not.

Students can demonstrate the same skill sets in many courses that do not fall under the general requirements, and the list of GPAC courses should be expanded.

By only attributing these learning objectives to a narrow list of GPAC courses, the Columbian College inadvertently diminishes the merit of courses that are not included on the list.

Since last semester, the school has added a number of classes to the list. “Public Communication” now counts toward the oral communication requirement. “French Language, Culture, and Society II” now fulfills the global or cross-cultural perspective requirement.

Although many new courses were added to the list, there is still room to grow.

A curriculum should encourage students to take courses that most interest them.

Jacob Garber, a sophomore majoring in English, is a Hatchet columnist.

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