by Ashley Griffin
Photo courtesy of Ashley Griffin
Anyone who has done an intra-university transfer knows that each of BU’s 13 colleges has its own set of general education requirements. These specific requirements are set to change beginning in the Fall of 2018.
The incoming freshmen, beginning in 2018, will launch a university-wide set of general education requirements called the BU Hub, which will help achieve “the goal of ‘one BU,’” according to the Task Force on General Education’s website.
The program’s mission is to prepare students to “thrive in their personal, professional and civic lives,” said Professor Elizabeth Loizeaux, associate provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Co-Chair of the Task Force.
“We’ve tried to articulate for students what we think they will need to be prepared to go forth into the 21st century,” Loizeaux said in an interview in June. “We really want students to know that, and that will be explicit in their courses.”
The proposed program consists of 26 units, which students will satisfy through approximately 10 to 12 courses using a “2+1 Rule,” meaning one course will satisfy two or three areas of study, such as historical consciousness, scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Its open-endedness will provide students the flexibility to pursue their unique interests.
The program will ensure that general education credits will transfer for students who participate in intra-university transfers and who take on double majors between colleges, Loizeaux said.
“One of the very practical things is that as students IUT from one school to the other,” Loizeaux said, “there are the same central, university-wide requirements for the general education portion of their degrees.”
The Philosophy Department will design new courses consistent with the BU Hub by looking at the BU Hub’s criteria and outlines curriculums around them, according to Philosophy professor Daniel Dahlstrom, who is also a member of the Task Force on General Education.
“The difference would be how courses will now orient themselves to facilitating whatever the Hub is interested in doing,” Dahlstrom said in an interview in June.
Dahlstrom said he anticipates the Hub will cause some uneasiness in BU’s affiliates, but its effects will yield the intended benefits.
“I think the next two years, there’s going to be a lot of apprehension about what this means to different departments,” Dahlstrom said. “But, I think, in the long run, it has the potential to be very beneficial to students.”
Meredith Landry (CAS ’20) said while most of the student responses that she had heard were negative, she supports the new program.
“I know a lot of people who are also frustrated just by the concept of having liberal arts credits that they have to take in general,” Landry said. “For me, I’m not opposed to having a liberal arts education and having to take two science courses … or two math courses even though I don’t enjoy it. I understand why I have to take it.”
The general education requirements have pushed Laundry to take courses in areas of study that she would not have experienced otherwise
“I think that’s what makes the American education so unique and so important,” Landry said. “It’s well-rounded.”