Z is at the end of the alphabet – Staff Editorial – vad – mcb -amb OLD COPY; DO NOT RUN

Veronica Devore

Lawrence University defines itself as a liberal arts institution that offers a broad and diverse education to its students. The general education requirements play an important role in guaranteeing that each Lawrence graduate leaves college with a large knowledge base and abilities that go beyond one specific major.
Students who attend Lawrence must plan well in advance in order to fulfill numerous diversity, distribution and competency requirements in a four-year college career. These requirements are part of academic life at Lawrence, and most students who choose to attend the university arrive ready to meet the challenges they present. However, even the most conscientious and careful students often find themselves in a bind during senior year due to “gen eds,” as they are often called. In general, the university’s current course offerings and stipulations make it much too difficult to fulfill these important but often aggravating requirements.
About half of all Lawrence students choose to go abroad at some point in their college career, an experience that is encouraged because it enhances and often changes students’ perspectives on the global community. One of Lawrence’s competency course requirements indicate “courses emphasizing global perspectives.” An experience abroad certainly focuses on global perspectives, and many would say that traveling abroad is the most effective way to experience such perspectives firsthand. However, oddly enough, studying abroad does not fulfill the global competency requirement, as it clearly should.
In addition, students often take courses that should be labeled as, for example, speaking intensive or writing intensive, but are not. These classes often have a greater emphasis on speaking or writing than any of the courses actually designated as such, but no one ever submitted the necessary paperwork to give them the accurate label. Conversely, many students experience courses that do not focus enough on the requirement they are listed as fulfilling. In these cases, Lawrentians are being cheated out of the specific knowledge their transcripts claim they possess.
Finally, it is often extremely difficult to get into the courses that fulfill certain requirements. Literary Analysis is a low-level course fulfilling the writing intensive requirement, but is almost always full with a long waitlist. This often causes great scheduling frustration for students who may be juggling multiple majors and numerous course requirements.
In order to remedy these frustrating problems, students must voice their opinions on such matters to their professors and to the registrar via discussion or the course evaluations that are given out at the end of each term. In the future, it may also be necessary to standardize the expectations for each course fulfilling a general education requirement. Individual academic departments must regularly evaluate whether enough opportunities are offered to fulfill requirements and whether the supply of courses meets the students’ scheduling demands. General education requirements are an essential part of a liberal arts education, and students should be able to fulfill them in a way that is both efficient and beneficial to their college experience.

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