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Students Express Confusion, Approval in Ged Ed Program Changes

By Ashley J Kim, Crimson Staff Writer

As shopping week comes to a close, some students said they were still unclear how Gen Ed changes applied to them.

Although the overhaul of the Gen Ed program will take effect in the fall of 2018, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris announced in June that current students will be allowed to take a broader range of courses to fulfill their requirements starting this fall semester “in the spirit of the new distribution requirement.”

Members of the classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 may now, for instance, fulfill some Gen Ed requirements via departmental or divisional courses.

According to Harris, the number of requirements for students may either decrease or remain unchanged.

In August, the Gen Ed office provided an Academic Advising Report to every student with guidance on how the initial implementation of changes in the fall semester would affect remaining requirements. The office also published an infographic about flexibility for current students in fulfilling gen ed requirements.

Still, some students said they were unsure how the new changes would affect their remaining years at the College. “I think the extent of my knowledge is that nothing for me personally changed,” Margaret P. Powell ’19 said.

Powell said that notifying students of changes over summer vacation, when access to advising resources are limited, was poorly timed.

“They were sending out emails over the summer, but it just seemed too complicated to figure out, so I waited until the fall to talk to my adviser,” she said.

Harris urged students to read the resources that have been sent out and are available on the Gen Ed website.

“If having read that they remained confused, they should get in touch with the Gen Ed office,” he said. “If they can help us to figure out how to do it better, I invite them to be in touch. We always want to do it better.”

Liz L. Roux ’19, who also contacted her sophomore adviser for guidance, said she felt the new policy merely changed the names of the Gen Ed requirements.

“They don’t seem to affect me. There are still eight requirements that I need to fulfill,” Roux said.

Others, however, embraced the greater freedom students now have in course selection.

Myles A. Ingram ’18 said that although the changes “drastically” affected his shopping week, the result was ultimately a good one because he now has fewer requirements to fulfill.

“I think overall it’s had a positive effect, because now I can take classes I want to take just for fun,” Ingram said.

Although the Gen Ed renewal did not affect Andrew Paek’s ’17 requirements coming into his senior year, Paek said he would take advantage of the newfound flexibility in fulfilling his last two requirements.

“I think the Gen Ed website is really where all the information is, and there it’s really clear,” Paek said. “What’s hard is finding it, but once you’re there and you find the senior section, it’s pretty clear what you can do.”

Staff writer Ashley Kim can be reached at ashley.kim@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyjiinkim.

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