Should General Education Classes be Required?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Letter to the Editor: The Daily Iowan

In response to another University of Iowa student's article (Sanchez. Oct. 24th letter to the editor) that supports the idea that general education courses are a waste of time, student Claire Knudsen-Latta makes a few very good points on why taking general education courses are so important for college students. Here is what she had to say:
"Well, bully for you, Mr. Sanchez ("What general-ed courses give you," Oct. 24). I suppose that every student you've ever met has the drive and interest to learn about history, languages, and literature - and therefore has no need to have these subjects encouraged. Let me enlighten you, please.I have the sinking suspicion that you've never actually sat in on one of these undergrad gen-eds that you seem so against. You've never heard the honest question about the current king of France or the people in rhetoric who've never bothered to read anything above high-school level and don't know what those polysyllabic words mean.You stand there preaching about how taking classes in subjects that don't matter to the major in which you're enrolled is unnecessary. But you don't seem to take into account that by, for example, learning another language, you are in fact learning more about your own, that by studying the structure of musical compositions, you are learning how to identify patterns in abstract situations, and that by reading books above your comfort level, you are expanding your vocabulary and becoming more aware of the ways in which you can express yourself in written and spoken language.Now it's entirely possible that I'm just a raving liberal artist and that you're safe in ignoring me. But it's possible that I'm in the right and that by making people study things that they might ignore otherwise, the university is producing citizens who can function on a competitive level in this multicultural, multifaceted world of ours."
Claire Knudsen-LattaUI student
Posted by Kara

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

General Education = General Knowledge

Many people complain about the voting and students/young adults today not knowing or understanding about any aspects of what is happening in the world today. General Education is a way to help jump-start student's interest in these areas. By gaining a more broad knowledge of the world and its subjects, students are already taking the first steps to being better informed. Therefore wouldn't it be dangerous to not make these kinds of classes required?
Posted by Katie

Monday, November 21, 2005

As the media continues to evolve and advance and its role as a watchdog over the government and other institutions becomes more important, why aren't Universities falling under this watch? Shouldn't such a crucial institution as the American University be under the most scrutiny and vigilance? After all, it is the framework and root of creating an informed citizenry!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dinosaurs and Disasters

It seems as though the more and more people I talk to concerning their "chosen" general education courses, the more and more I realize that these classes are not a means by which the institution is aiding students in allowing them to broaden their horizons, but rather a means by which meaningless material can be absorbed and then forgotten shortly there after. In speaking to my brother, who is a college Junior, I asked him what kinds of gen eds he was taking. His response, "Dinosaurs and Disasters". It sounds like a discovery channel special similar to shark week or something. Let me remind you that my brother is a journalism major. Can anyone tell me how Dinosaurs and Disasters will help him become a better writer?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gaining the Competitive Edge

If students are looking to gain an edge over each other in the job field, many employers are looking to education as a factor in hiring process. According to recent surveys here are what some employers thought. "The survey also showed that employers desire tranferable skills, skills employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace. These transferable skills are characteristic of a liberal arts education." The benefits of a liberal arts, and well rounded education are outweighing the disadvantages. Maybe all the extra hard work is worth it in the end. Posted by Katie

Getting The Job Done.

An article from the internet site Headhunter, written by Nick Corcodilos, (which helps customers in their job search and through the hiring process) has a very interesting take on Liberal Arts classes. Nick himself was a Liberal Arts major and truely believes that it has helped his career and he has the proof. Nick worked for a CEO who couldn't write well, but the CEO was surrounded by people who could translate his phenomenal ideas onto paper to communicate his ideas properly. Thanks to Nick's Liberal Arts degree, he had an edge over other job candidates who he said "couldn't write to save their lives" and Nick credits his good communication skills to his Liberal Arts education. Though Nick is very thankful for his Liberal Arts educational experience which has helped lead him to success, he feels that one thing that can become a challenge to Liberal Arts majors is presenting their qualifications for job interviews. In the article he says that in order to find the job that best utilizes your qualifications, you have to "map" your skills to the job that you want, because the realization is that Liberal Arts majors have a vast array of knowledge in many different fields which qualifies them for many different jobs.
Posted by Kara

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When it Comes to Informing

When it comes to informing the public, the media is the medium to go through. But at the same time, isnt it also the job to show the public stories that they want to hear? This issue of whether general education classes has had little recognition from the media. What needs to be made aware to the people who are attending universities is how affective are these classes? What do they prepare people for and what could be some potential pro's and con's to having them? Most of the public never questions whether liberal arts classes should be required becuase they assume they are their for a reason. If, these questions are put forward and the media shows what the controversy is then more people will partcipate in finding the best sollution. How should the media do this without taking a stance on the situation?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

College Dropouts

Students in Australia are opting out of taking general education courses and are going straight for a professional degree. They are choosing professional degree programs such as accounting, surveying, and physiotherapy because they want to score a high paying job as soon as possible. The majority of professors and many students want to have at least one year of required general education courses because they feel that they are necessary in allowing students to have a well rounded education. At these professional colleges, students are not getting a proper education, often causing them to leave the college without a degree. By starting an Australian Liberal Arts university (modeled after ones in the United States), professors feel that a Liberal Arts education could be very beneficial to students while decreasing the dropout rates and at the same time they could compete with the professional degree programs, improving the quality of their teaching.
Posted by Kara

Are students really concerned?

There have been a few editorials in the paper and responses to those editorials but are students really concerned with changing the general eduaction requirements? At least on the University of Iowa campus I haven't seen any picket lines or any protests about gen ed courses. The student government doesn't even have gen ed courses on their agenda. Do students really have big problems with these required classes? Yes there have been some editorials, and yes you hear students say things like "wow I wish I didn't have to take a required course," but is there enough outrage and protest to this subject for an actual debate or do students not care enough to change it?
Posted by Katie