The Corner

Education

UNC Struggles to Revise Its General-Education Curriculum

Should colleges have a core curriculum that imparts knowledge that all Americans should have? That used to be pretty much a given throughout our higher-education system, but for decades now, it has been eroding. Increasingly, students get to take whatever they want, provided they satisfy the school’s “distribution requirements.” As the number of courses that will satisfy one of those requirements has gotten larger and larger, the concept has become a joke at many schools.

One of them is the University of North Carolina. UNC is currently debating changes in its general-education requirements, and Shannon Watkins takes a critical look at that in her latest Martin Center article.

There are lots of committees at work on this, and wide fissures are evident. Watkins writes,

It will be no mean task to create a program that is acceptable to all factions, especially since some of the proposed changes represent a dramatic shift in its educational philosophy, from a knowledge-based curriculum toward one that is skills-based. Whereas there used to be an emphasis on foundational content, the committee charged with the revision instead emphasizes processes.

Whereas the old general-education curriculum at least pretended to be about guaranteeing that students would graduate with a stock of foundational knowledge, the new approach is aiming at “capacities.” Here, we start to see the heavy hand of “progressivism” since one of those “capacities” is “Diversity, Power, and Inclusion.” That’s certain to entail a load of brainwashing.

Watkins points out that the overwhelmingly leftist orientation of the UNC faculty is sure to affect the outcome. She writes,

A student learning goal for one of the courses, “Information, Ideas, and Inquiry” (III), says that “students will be able to identify biases and threats to validity in others’ interpretations of information and data.” This reflects the prevailing belief in some academic circles that all interpretations are equally valid — an obvious fallacy. The proposal also says that faculty may center this course around broad themes, many of which are popular on the left, such as “inequality.”

It’s hard to imagine that after changing the general-education program, UNC students will get a more useful, better rounded education than they do today.

Before settling on any changes, UNC’s leaders are supposed to solicit input from the entire state. They’ll no doubt pretend to listen to a vast array of ideas. In the end, though, they’ll probably let the leftists have their way.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More