The university’s role in education

Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

This is written in response to the editorial “Core curriculum changes would allow more choice,” published Sept. 22.

This editorial misses the mark entirely. While there are certainly pros and cons to changing the core curriculum, selling such change as a way to “take more electives” or to “increase job skills” is not the way to do it.

The fundamental problem rests in the question, “What is a university’s role?” To take the view that a university is simply a job training facility is to disparage the importance of education generally and to lower your intrinsic worth as a human being. Humans are not machines; the university should play an important guiding role in creating life-long learners, not simply increasing the amount of words on a resume. We don’t leave simply well-rounded but as well-educated and often better human beings than we were at the start.

The argument that current students of the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) are unable to take more electives, and that this change would permit that, fundamentally goes against the premise stated above. A core curriculum is the university’s prescription to us to ensure we become well-educated human beings, and just like it is often better to listen to the doctor because he or she is an expert, it often behooves us to pay some attention to the prescription the university has given us. Allowing students to choose more of the classes they wish to take as electives works at cross-purposes with this fundamental aspect of the university.

The point should be to instead value our education AS education, to avoid diminishing our worth as human beings, and to not think of the university as a business and as ourselves as the consumers. There is more at stake than the editorial proposed. We should go into any curriculum change with all of this in mind.

Joshua Boucher, Waco doctoral candidate

Editor’s Note: This piece has been modified to replace CASA, which stands for the College of Arts & Sciences Advisement, with A&S. The latter is the most accurate reference to the College of Arts & Sciences.