(This is the second in a series of articles describing curricular changes at the nation's college.)
Seven compulsory courses form the score of the postwar curriculum adopted by the faculty of Colgate College and scheduled to go into effect in the fall of 1946.
Specific aims of the new program of liberal education, affirms the Colgate faculty are "the broadening and maturing of the student's intellectual life on the one hand, and of his sense of moral responsibility on the other. Education which fails here deserves in no sense to be called liberal."
Labeled as the "core curriculum" the seven required courses belong to no particular academic field but cut diagonally across departmental lines.
In addition to this effort to integrate college work, the core curriculum aims at linking undergraduate work with practical affairs. "In our effort to preserve our scholarly detachment," say the Colgate educators, "we sometimes represent too completely the approaches of our academic discipines; we carry over to elementary work the accent of graduate study."
Pointing to the natural sciences as particular offenders in their narrow presentation, the Colgate Committee on the Postwar College argues, 'Memorizing, even, with understanding, a group of facts from one of the natural sciences, for example, does not given an insight into the actual function or functioning of science or of scientists.
The seven full courses designed to carry out the faculty's liberal arts conceptions are specially designed studies in "natural science, public affairs, philosophy and religion, foreign areas and cultures, English communication, the arts, and the liberal arts tradition."
Every Freshman who enters after the inauguration of the core curriculum will be required to take Natural Science for two terms. The course will emphasize "the methods of the broad field of natural science" and will be conducted by a case method similar to that outlined by President Conant in his recent proposal for "science courses for non scientists.
The Public Affairs course, also required of all Freshmen, traces typical problems in the social sciences, "their historical backgrounds, practical methods that have been brought to bear on them, the implications of suggested solutions, the methods of social scientists as they relate to the inevitable past and present relationship between economic, political, and social activities and institutions."
Topics suggested by the faculty for study in Public Affairs include business depressions, business regulation, and the causes of political machines and boss rule.
The third course required of Freshmen is Philosophy and Religion, describing the problems men have considered through the ages and explaining the classical discussions of them.
In his Sophomore year, each man will pick some foreign area for two terms of study of its culture. The word will be interpreted to include "political, economic, and social institutions, scientific contributions, philosophy, fine arts and literature, as well as any distinguishing facets of the nation's life."
The fifth compulsory course in the undergraduate's career is one in English Communication required of Sophomores. With mechanics of writing and speech emphasized, the faculty felt that such a course would be better adapted to Sophomores than Freshmen because of the presumably broader range of interests which might be treated in the exercises.
Programs of all Juniors will, under the core curriculum, include a curse in the Arts. "By sharpening the students' immediate perceptions through understanding of and immediate response to the works studied in the fields of architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, music, and literature, the course should," according to its intent, "increase their appetite for personal discovery."
The final course of the core curriculum is in the Liberal Tradition and is compulsory for Seniors. Its aim is to give the graduating class an integration of their studies in the core curriculum and a grasp of the aims and methods of liberal education