The Real Global Liberal Studies

December 12, 2012:

Time is of the essence. It has been brought to our attention that there is a Faculty Assembly regarding the curriculum of the Global Liberal Studies major on December 13th, 2012 with a vote that will take place the following Friday, December 14th. We would like to first thank all the professors, administrators, and other faculty members who realize the potential of our beloved major and want it to advance. Next, we emphasize, and cannot stress enough, that this is not an attack on any specific professor or class. In no means do we intend to offend or disrespect. Our only dire ambition is to voice the students’ experiences/opinions, accumulated over the year(s)/semester(s), that require serious consideration when formulating changes to our curriculum. Although it isn’t perfect (in detail or time-dedication), this rough draft generalizes major changes that we, students, agree need to occur.

Realistically speaking, these changes strongly/directly impact our interests, tuitions, and futures. Due to short notice, not every aspect from every student has been accounted for. Nevertheless, these signatures demonstrate the active participation we are taking and the attention we are demanding as the recipients of your decisions. We understand wise changes require time and contemplation but the little implementations are less than satisfactory. We chose Global Liberal Studies with high hopes that it will be exclusively global, challenging, and engaging. Only a leap will fulfill these hopes. The following are our major grievances:

  1. Requirements for the GLS major are too restricting. Our past, present, and future are fundamental to the Liberal Studies aspect of our major, therefore we do not wish to eliminate any of these components. However, while the majority of college students complete prerequisites by freshman year, we are required to take CFIII and SFIII into sophomore year. We are well aware that freshman writing requirements are one semester in some schools, but because writing still falls within the one-year timeframe like others, it won’t be disputed. The deduced problems are that the course materials are too in-depth for a requirement course, and consequently not of interest to all, or that the distinction between Cultural and Social Foundations is blurred in practice. As students of the curriculum, we want our education to be of our interest so that we are inspired or able to cultivate our passions. We are furthering our education, not repeating it. We are not radically asking for the ancient canon to disappear, nor are we arguing that history is not important or relevant. Merely consider that much of these courses are dedicated to reviewing/relearning material already taught in high school. Also, the works/lessons largely overlap and the nature of those two courses feel too similar, therefore repetitive. As we are not professors, the methods are purely to faculty digression; regardless, our stand for the reduction of CF and SF stands
  2. There aren't enough course options (flexibility) for students. In continuation, we clarify our intention behind “not of interest to all.” We are not implying that our prerequisite courses are uninteresting. Instead, we want an increase in course options to further, and properly, delve into particular areas of interest. This does not exist now. Only then, students are able to choose the subject and depth within their GLS major. Prerequisites are prerequisites. CF, SF, and WRI introduces us to the global stage but some of us have different interests and, being determined, ambitious adults, wish to develop/explore them quickly. We need flexibility in GLS. By keeping requirements strictly introductory in freshman year, GLS could ask those same professors to teach more courses specifically in heavy areas now insufficiently covered for interested students. In addition, professors may teach more passionately and in-depth, which students desire. This also solidifies GLS as a major because students can now specialize with increased course options. As it stands, GLS feels much too similar to LSP or “undecided”, which does not correctly represent us GLS majors. More course options are necessary to maximize the potential of GLS and solidify our education around courses of interest to us, the students. We applied to our major. We know what we want. We want to start GLS.
  3. The GLS major lacks a strong backbone. In increasing course options, we want other areas of study to be included. Previously, we argued that depth lost by decreasing requirements can be recovered in courses dedicated to particularly heavy subjects. Students interested in that direction/concentration then delve into their passions by taking those courses with more flexibility. A crucial component missing in GLS, however, for students of other interests, is a backbone. “Backbone” encompasses popular courses such as environmental studies, economics, or art/music (to list a few) that many of us desperately seek. We believe the lack of a backbone is what makes GLS obscure and restrictive. If GLS issued degrees for essential courses (for example, language degrees) or even just offered courses within respective concentrations to take, we wouldn’t transfer or seek other schools for fulfillment. Moreover, having these courses will supplement GLS concentrations by distinguishing them, allowing students an opportunity to specialize in concrete material, and globalizing our studies, especially if it materializes abroad too. This backbone is critical in our generation more than ever, especially with the job market in this economy.

We recognize that our resolutions may seem radical and difficult to satisfy immediately. However, too conservative approaches are wasting time and precious opportunities for us, GLS majors, who applied with the intention of having control of our studies. This is a crucial time for us, so we beg the full consideration and cooperation of our faculty. GLS has so much potential. With decreased requirements, we’ll have flexibility. With flexibility, we’ll have more course options. With increased options, we’ll specialize and form a backbone for the GLS major, domestically and internationally. GLS’s mission is to produce global citizens of remarkable accomplishments and profound thought. We can be just that. Let go of our hands and trust that we’ll flourish with the real GLS.

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This petition represents and is from the students of the GLS major as demonstrated by the signatures. If there are any comments/adjustments/questions/objections/etc, please feel free to contact the given email address.

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