Leafing through the catalog in search of a course, the undergraduate is struck by the large selection in upper level General Education. These courses, composed without relation to a specific departmental framework, consider widely varying topics of more than routine interest, and for a prerequisite they rarely demand more than an intellectual concern with the subject.
These generalities are particularly applicable to the offerings in the Social Sciences and the Humanities. The selection in the Natural Sciences is less attractive.
Of the 29 upper level Gen Ed courses listed, only five are in the Natural Sciences, and only three of these do not have scientific prerequisites which effectively limit them to science concentrators. This is an insufficient number, especially when one notes that few if any of the regular science courses are suitable for the non-scientist who feels that some science, particularly broader principles and concepts, is essential to a liberal education in today's society.
There can be no question that the demands of time for research in the sciences, coupled with laboratory instruction for graduate students, make unusual demands on the time of the science faculty. But neither can there be any question that the responsibilities of these departments include that of teaching the non concentrator.
Science has raised many questions of moral, political, and economic significance for today's society, and an understanding of the meaning and methods of science is necessary for intelligent participation in that society. Just as the professors in the social sciences and humanities make an effort to educate scientists in their disciplines, so should the scientists respond by accepting their responsibility to the non-scientist. Even if this would require some reduction in courses for concentrators the scientists should be willing to teach more upper level Nat Sci courses, for at this time by their inadequate offering they shirk a significant duty.