UC Finds Students Favor Changes in Core
A survey conducted last spring by the Undergraduate Council Select Committee on Undergraduate Requirements found that more than half of those surveyed favor replacing the Core curriculum with distributional requirements.
The random phone survey of 100 students asked for opinions on the Core requirements, Expository Writing and the foreign language requirement.
The council conducted the survey in preparation for a faculty review of the Core program, which began this fall.
"[The survey's] ultimate goal is to get student input to the [Faculty of Arts and Sciences Core Review Committee]," said Raphael L. de Balmann '97, a member of the council's committee.
"It's important, because the Core is what the University absolutely requires: no matter who you are, or what you're concentrating in," said Wes B. Gilchrist '98-'97, who helped conduct the survey.
The survey found that 70 out of the 100 students were aware of the Core's philosophy of "seeking to introduce students to the major approaches to knowledge."
Sixty-eight students agreed with this philosophy, but only 37 believed that the Core has fulfilled its objectives.
Fifty-four of those surveyed were satisfied with the Core.
"We wondered whether the philosophy works, whether it is a good philosophy," said Charles L. Barzun '97.
"[The philosophy's] vagueness doesn't seem to make much sense," he added.
The survey also found that 67 out of the 100 would be in favor of a system of distributional requirements from different departments in place of the Core.
However, Barzun said that he highly doubts that this change would be implemented.
"What they had before the Core, which were essentially distributional requirements, got totally abused and rendered meaningless," he said.
"Perhaps [the Core Review Committee] can reach a middle ground, a flexibility between the Core and other classes [that could be taken for Core credit]," Barzun said.
The survey also looked at student opinion of the merits of the writing and foreign language requirements.
Only 44 of the students said their Expository Writing course had improved their writing.
The survey also reported that 54 students said that they felt proficient in the language in which they fulfilled their language requirement.
"We have faith that the faculty will follow the student opinions," said de Balmann. "We're just trying to ensure a good Core."
The council committee is planning to hold a forum for all undergraduates to discuss these issues at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at a still undecided location.