By Riley Prillwitz | Image by Xixi Qin
At any college or university in the country, there are specific classes that cover general and/or beginner level subjects that a student must take to graduate. At Colorado College, the general education plan is specific to a liberal arts college.
Recently, the Curriculum Executives Committee (CEC) updated these requirements. The revised program will begin to apply to the class of 2024. The CEC is a committee consisting of faculty, staff, and students that was created for the sole purpose of rethinking the Gen-Ed program.
The Student Representatives on the CEC, Laurel Sullivan ’21, Deksyos Damtew ’22, and Theodore Weiss ’21, helped oversee the process of implementing the new requirements.
“Compared to the previous plan, these changes highlight a more intentional approach to general education at CC,” explained the three students, who spoke together about the project. “In 2015, there was a student petition that went out, asking the school to reassess the general education plan at CC, calling for a more diverse curriculum.”
The new plan consists of more purposeful and relevant classes: “The First Year Program (FYP); six blocks of Critical Learning across the Liberal Arts (LALA); two blocks of Equity and Power; and three blocks of Critical Engagement through Language,” according to the student representatives.
The layout resembles that of the previous general education plan, but the new system fits into a more functional and educational design. For example, the FYP (previously called FYE) will still be a two-block program with similar topics, now specifically designed to help students understand how CC classes function.
“It may be trite, but true: the purpose of a liberal arts education is not the transferring of facts or dates, but the training of the mind to think of something that cannot be found in a textbook,” stated the student representatives.
The goal of the new plan is not to make the program more challenging or difficult. Instead, it is meant to expand the students’ mind to get creative about the information they are receiving.
Sullivan, Damtew, and Weiss see it as a way “to make it more engaging for students as they are immersed in a more intentional liberal arts education.”
“The purpose of a general education curriculum is to expose students to different ways of thinking and we hope these changes will do so,” they said.
As before, the general education classes may overlap with certain major requirements. This can be beneficial for a student looking to major in multiple studies or work towards a minor degree.
“First years will have to consider that taking general education classes will be required and account for it in their schedules,” the student representatives said.
However, the new curriculum is not just going to expand the education opportunity for students. As CC has changed over the past few years, the new general education plan will help to shape the current climate, missions, and future goals of the school.
“The new programming directly addresses CC’s dedication to anti-racism by making equity and power courses required,” the student representatives said. “The College has formally acknowledged that it is not enough to say CC is working towards being an anti-racist institution, but that it is necessary to enact policies and alter structures to reflect this promise.”
Overall, the new general education plan was made with the betterment of CC and its students in mind. Hopefully, members of the CC community will feel the change and impact that the new general education plan will have on the school.
As Sullivan, Damtew, and Weiss put it, “General education is the foundation of a liberal arts education; the new general education plan ensures that CC continues to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country.”