Cross-discipline learning is central to the general education, gen. ed., requirement at Colorado College. As a liberal arts institution, the CC gen. ed. requirement aims to provide students with a diverse breadth of knowledge and challenge students intellectually in a fashion that they may not be used to.
For the last several years, CC students and faculty have been discussing amending the CC gen. ed. requirements to better reflect the rapidly changing modern world that students will enter post-graduation. The primary concern at the center of these discussions is that the CC gen. ed. requirement does not accurately teach students about global diversity and offer a critical perspective on social inequality.
One of the first official proposals articulated towards amending the CC gen. ed. requirements was made in 2015. In 2015, CC students and alumni wrote a petition that advocated for the gen. ed. requirements to have an overall focus on inclusion and equity. This petition also called for the elimination of the West in Time requirement. While the CC faculty had already been discussing for numerous years about changing the West in Time gen. ed. requirement, the 2015 petition prompted the creation of a Curriculum Executive Committee to solely address curricular changes.
Now in its fourth year, the Curriculum Executive Committee, CEC, consists of four tenured faculty, three untenured faculty, the directors of the Writing Center and First-Year Experience program, the Dean, the Provost, and three current students.
Earlier this year, the CEC ran a student-wide survey in order to acquire feedback from the student body on their desires for the CC gen. ed. requirements. A major finding was that students desired formal writing instruction earlier in their CC career.
According to Dr. Mike Taber, CC professor of education, writing is not only paramount for communication, but writing itself is also a form of learning.
Students must know how to write well across multiple disciples in order to effectively understand the world around them.
Adding a writing course to the CC gen. ed. requirements is a high priority for both the CEC and faculty alike. However, an official curriculum for the CC gen. ed. requirements will not be released until, at least, next semester.
The CC faculty had originally hoped to vote on an amended curriculum and release it by the end of Block 4, but on Tuesday, Nov. 27, several faculty and students called to postpone the vote. This was because these faculty and students wanted to wait until a full assessment of racism at CC was completed, which is still a fragile subject matter, in light of the racist email that circled among the campus community last spring.
Presently, Dr. Roger L. Worthington, the executive director at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education at the University of Maryland, is conducting an “External Review on Racism and Anti-Racism at Colorado College.” This review looks at eight different components of CC and assesses the diversity/inclusion represented in these components. The curricular changes are just one of these components.
The CC faculty will be waiting until Dr. Worthington’s review is complete before they vote on an amended curriculum. While the specific timeframe of the completion of Dr. Worthington’s review is still unclear, the CEC is hopeful that faculty will vote on a new curriculum by the end of the 2018-19 school year.
On behalf of the CEC, CC student Laurel Sullivan states, “As student [representatives], our job is to make the voices and opinions of students heard, so we encourage and invite feedback and thoughts. And then we will bring that to the committee and faculty’s attention.”