In defense of the BIC…

By Catherine Rennell | Contributor

You may have heard of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core program, particularly that it’s classes are hard and unreasonable. This reputation is highly undeserved and ought to be changed.

Aristotle writes in his work “Metaphysics” that the more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know. This learning paradox is precisely what one experiences in the BIC program through a series of paradigm shifts provided by each of its classes. After two rigorous years of BIC courses, I can confidently say that I am humbled by the realization of all that I truly do not know about the world around me.

The BIC is an academic program for students to meet their university requirements in an accelerated and challenging environment. The mission statement on the BIC’s website summarizes the program best.

“The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core explores the interrelation of humanities and social sciences, providing students with a broad context to understand the contemporary world. Exploring literature and thought from around the world, BIC students receive a global education that prepares them to thrive in any field.”

To say that the BIC accomplishes this mission is an understatement. In the BIC program, students will study history from the beginning of time to the modern day as well as learn how to properly engage in discourse, both verbally and in writing. BIC students study multiple religious texts such as the Qur’an, the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, while also gaining exposure to these respective cultures by visiting mosques and temples on field trips.

Our professors teach us how to respectfully consider cultures and lifestyles that are different from our own. They also expose us to parts of history that we might not have previously understood. For example, I learned more about the reality of racism in America and the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks in BIC than I ever did in high school U.S. history. It is the aim of the program and the professors to teach the truth about these matters.

The value of such an experience is extremely high, yet the reputation of the BIC is that it’s too much work and has unreasonable expectations. When I tell others that I am in BIC, their first response is that they’ve heard it’s really difficult or that it seems unnecessary. This stigma only exists because it is what students in the BIC say about the program to others. It’s disappointing that my peers often don’t see the immense value behind the rigorous coursework.

Not only is the aim of the program to expand our worldview, it also aims to prepare us to be well-versed academics in professional settings. While the amount of reading and writing can feel overwhelming at times, such heavy academic expectations for undergraduate students is the best way to prepare them for upper-level courses and the professional world.

My fellow BIC students, I urge you to look beyond the academic rigor and see the true value of the program we are in. Very few universities in the nation provide interdisciplinary programs similar to the BIC as a means of meeting your university requirements. Yes, the BIC has its flaws. It’s not a perfect program. But I see every reading and writing assignment as an opportunity to grow, and because of this, the BIC has changed my life. Let’s change the undeserved stereotype of this program.

Catherine is communication specialist major and photojournalism minor from Montgomery.