Core program in need of revision for individual relevancy

TEMP ORARY October 17, 2012 0

The core program at Elizabethtown College is usually a heated topic of discussion among current students. In addition to participating in a First-Year Seminar, students must also enroll in 10 additional courses in eight different areas of understanding. At the end of every semester, students are always in contact with one another to try and figure out what core classes they should take for the upcoming semester. Which class is easiest and which requires the least amount of time and work are generally discussed. I ask the question, “What needs to be changed for the core program to be taken more seriously?”
I spoke with Dr. Hans-Erik Wennberg, associate professor of communications, who has been at the College for 29 years. Throughout Wennberg’s time here, the core curriculum has been heavily revised twice. A huge emphasis of the core program is that it gets students ready to enter into the “real world.” Wennberg said, “I think the core program needs more common experience.”
We talked about the number of classes needed to fulfill our core requirement. Wennberg said, “I think it’s too easy to get through core without challenging yourself.” The question about what should be added to the core to make it more well-rounded and beneficial to the students is often raised. There is never a clear answer. “There should be more of lots of different subjects, courses in presentations and specifically a speech and presentation course,” Wennberg said.
Students’ opinions on the core program are probably the most important, considering they are the ones who are dealing with the requirements. The biggest complaint among students is taking courses that don’t benefit them or relate to their major. Senior Ben Cable will soon graduate and be thrown into the “real world.” I asked if the core program has sufficiently prepared him for life after he graduates.“No, some classes definitely don’t benefit me at all,” Cable said. We discussed what he wished he could’ve have taken to better prepare himself. “I would say a speech or communications course. We’re always communicating; we really need to work on that,” Cable said.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who have problems with curriculum. Junior Joe Schwalm said, “I think the core should be directly correlated to what’s going on now, rather than the past.” He also agreed that new classes need to be added into the program. “We need a class on life — how to spend money and fill out forms. How much money we need to save and what to do with our money. We need answers to these questions,” Schwalm said.
Also coming from a student standpoint, I would have to agree with my fellow classmates and Dr.Wennberg. I think changes need to be made to the curriculum in order for students to benefit from their college experiences. I do agree that students should broaden their horizons, but I also feel that some classes just don’t benefit some at all.
Junior Austin Brady seemed to feel the same way. “I think you should have to take more classes related to your major; taking Earth in Space won’t benefit me as a business major,” Brady said. I think more research needs to be done on the College’s part to figure out whether the students are happy with their curriculum. Students are the ones who are paying for the education, so I think the students’ voices should be heard. Without the students, the insitution could not stand. We need a change and we need one now. “The school needs to be more open-minded,” Brady said. “Anything is possible when it comes to change.”

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