Speak Up: CC is Making Curriculum Changes and Needs Your Input

By ISABELLA MCSHEA & CAMILLA FULLER

There is much to be enraged about in the world and within our local communities. Midterm elections deserve our attention just as much as the children being held in camps indefinitely on our President’s order. In this time of uncertainty, pain, anger, and discontent, we can become unintentionally apathetic to the news or politics or the current events happening on our campus. We implore everyone to resist that apathetic attitude and get engaged with processes happening at Colorado College.

Illustration by Lo Wall

After a student petition reached the administration in 2015, the school started the Curriculum Executive Committee (CEC) in order to evaluate Colorado College’s general education requirements. The original 2015 student petition called for the college to have more “dedication to engaging with subjects of (but not limited to) class, race, gender, and sexuality everyday — subjects we want to see reflected in our classrooms and in syllabi across campus.” This sentiment was met with concrete demands for:

1) Creating a more diverse curriculum

2) Reassessing the effectiveness of the Global Cultures and Social Inequalities general education requirements

3) Training faculty to reach classes surrounding diversity and inclusion while focusing on hiring and retaining diverse faculty and staff

4) Mandating the creation of the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies major

This original petition was co-signed by a number of campus organizations and individual students and thus sparked the creation of the CEC. For the past three years, the CEC has been deliberating the curriculum review while failing to propose any concrete changes to the general education requirements. Last year, another student initiative led by the Black Student Union resulted in the elimination of the West in Time requirement. Perhaps this incredible change, built on the momentum of the 2015 petition, motivated the CEC to shorten their timeline during the school year.

The CEC is a group of faculty and three students who are working on these curriculum changes. They have created three proposals concerning curriculum review at Colorado College. These proposals were broadly targeted at changing and creating better learning outcomes for the following educational aspects at Colorado College: First-Year Introductory Courses, Language, Modes of Inquiry, Ways to Engage Modes of Inquiry, and Diversity, Equity, and Justice.

This block, the students on the committee were charged with gathering student opinion on these three proposals in order to deliver their findings to the CEC and the faculty of the college. The three students presented their proposals at three feedback sessions throughout the last few weeks. These sessions were a great first step toward including student opinion in regard to this process. Unfortunately, much of the student body was unable to go to these in-person feedback sessions and those who could spoke about how unrepresentative these sessions were in terms of student attendance. In response to this criticism, the students on the committee sent out an email with a campus wide survey to attempt to cull more equitable responses on their proposals.

Student input is crucial for specific decisions regarding how to best support professors, departments, and classes that are focused on social justice and diversity. Although faculty and staff can speculate about what it feels like be the only person of color on your first day of class at Colorado College, it is impossible for the adult members of the committee to truly understand the intricacies of the day-to-day academic life of students of color. Including the voices of students within this review can provide otherwise unknown information to help make critical choices in the coming months.

Additionally, the results from the external review on racism and the JED campus project have not yet been presented to the student body, faculty, or staff. Understanding how we can best move forward in terms of race and mental health must be a crucial pillar of the CEC moving forward. Any changes to the curriculum should respond directly to these reports, especially given the school’s recent experience with the West in Time requirement debate.

This article is an effort to more fully inform the student body concerning the possible changes to the general education requirements that will be voted on Block 4. Colorado College faculty will vote on the various proposals and be given information regarding the student feedback gathered during feedback sessions and the survey results.

An open letter has been drafted that will be delivered to the faculty before their meeting during fourth week of this block. The goals of this letter are to “provide necessary next steps leading to your final vote during Block 4 to ensure student opinion is truly a part of this process. Honoring the demands of current and past students while considering the experience of future students is the primary focus of our recommendations and concerns.” If you or a student group you are involved with would like to read and/or sign onto this letter, please email i_mcshea@coloradocollege.edu.

Although these changes will most likely affect future generations of Colorado College students, ensuring the legitimacy of student opinion is of the utmost importance moving forward in the curriculum review process. We encourage you to choose action over apathy and make your voice heard concerning the academic experience of Colorado College students.

 

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