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Possible Initiatives For Discussion

 

V.        Rethinking Our Approach to Curricular Requirements

 

            One far-reaching curricular proposal would to be change our requirements to more closely reflect our emphasis on the development of writing, speaking, and other intellectual competencies as articulated in Part I (see educational outcomes).  We realize that any change to curricular requirements is controversial and difficult.  Yet we feel compelled to urge the designated faculty committees to consider reformulating our present requirements so that they span competencies and modes of inquiry rather than simply expose students to a number of disciplines. 

  

            Many have noted the “check-list” mentality that prevails when undergraduates go about fulfilling curricular requirements.  Also, many students have complained that certain courses are ineffective in fulfilling the purposes of curricular requirements.  In order to renew our thinking about and our enthusiasm for breadth, depth, and personal development as parts of a Tufts education, we might consider a new approach to requirements that would provide incentives to encourage departments and faculty to infuse more courses with substantial writing, speaking, and critical thinking components.   We also should direct students toward courses that encourage their grappling with complex problems and diverse ideas, viewpoints, and methodologies.  We view a strong advising system as an important ingredient in helping to provide this direction.  As discussed in the December report, we view the college system as a powerful institution for – among other things – supporting and improving faculty advising.   Finally as in the present system, this conception of requirements would compel students to be exposed to a variety of disciplines and areas of knowledge.

 

            Although we realize the difficulties involved, the Task Force encourages a discussion of these issues.  Should the Tufts community feel that this general idea has merit, we would be willing to develop this proposal in a more detailed fashion for the consideration of the appropriate faculty committees. 

 

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