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General education changes a general pain in the behind

Rachel Mazza
Senior Copy Editor
rmazza@lhup.edu

April 3, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I’m not into wasting my time or my money, and with these changes in general education requirements I feel like I’ve done just that. As a double major, fifth year senior, I find it annoying that I could have graduated a semester earlier if not for general education credit requirements that have now been changed.

From what I could understand of the rather confusing email from the Provost’s office and the updated general education section of the LHU website, the most noticeable change is now only one lab science and two seminars are required. These changes go into effect fall of 2014 and include current students, not just incoming freshmen.

However, all graduating seniors still have to take these classes instead of having the option to drop them now (if they are currently in them) or to drop the class from their transcript if they so chose. If you didn’t get a high grade in that now extraneous science lab and/or seminar class, it is going to remain an unnecessary hindrance to your GPA that students next semester won’t have to deal with, provided they have not already taken the class.

This is what I have the biggest problem with: I wasted my money and time that I could have spent focusing on classes for my major only to have my GPA brought down by classes that have now been declared irrelevant. This grievance will likely be dismissed by the notion that I gained experience and knowledge from these classes and it was part of receiving a well-rounded education.

That’s fine; I get that. I totally agree with having a well-rounded education and I have to say, I’ve learned a lot from most of my gen. ed. classes. However, when classes are suddenly not required, and I’ve spent my own money on these courses and I had to go into these classes knowing that lab science is not my strong point, these classes have become nothing more than a hindrance to my academic career.

Time and money aside, I’d really just like the option of having such classes removed from my transcript and figured out of my overall GPA. Still, I must admit that it’s not all bad; the shift in the general education requirements to focus more on global awareness is fantastic. We definitely need to encourage the importance of knowledge on international matters. Anything that can be done to break the “dumb American” stereotype is a step in the right direction.

However, a lot of students express unhappiness with the foreign language requirements for B.A. majors. The way we approach foreign language is one of the areas most in need of reform (and don’t believe the rumors fellow B.A. majors—we are still required to take through level four of a foreign language). But I don’t think changing things at the college level is going to do much. The reevaluation of what we should be learning should begin with K-12 education.

American public education needs to legitimately start teaching second languages from elementary school like other countries do. That way, it won’t be necessary to take four semesters of it in college because we will already be familiar with the language. Overall, I think the general education changes are beneficial to students. It will allow them to focus more on classes for their major and teach them how to become global citizens. However, for graduating seniors like me, all it does is highlight wasted time, money and brainpower.

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