SCW General Education Requirement Change

By: Mili Chizhik  |  November 10, 2020
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By Mili Chizhik, News Editor

The Stern College for Women (SCW) Curriculum Committee recently convened to simplify the SCW General Education requirements, with the intention of helping and enabling students to have an easier time choosing courses, shared Dr. Karen Bacon, the Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz dean of undergraduate faculty of arts and sciences, with the YU Observer. The Curriculum Committee decided that two of the previous general education requirement categories, “Foundations of History, Philosophy & Social Sciences” and “Contemporary US and Global Perspectives,” will be merged to form a single new category — “Foundations and Contemporary Perspectives of History, Philosophy & Social Sciences.” On Tuesday, November 10, Meirah Shedlo, an academic advisor and special projects manager, sent out an email describing these new changes and attached a new PDF highlighting the change.

Upon graduation, SCW students must have completed a wide range of courses, including those that fall under the categories of “Foundations of History, Philosophy & Social Sciences” and “Contemporary US and Global Perspectives.” Originally, students were required to take two courses from two different areas to fulfill the former category, including Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Similarly, to fulfill the latter category, one must take two courses from two different areas, including Economics, History, Philosophy, and Political Science. 

Many students feel that these requirements are repetitive and are disadvantageous to students. Rachel Jacobi (SCW ‘21) says that “I think these categories are redundant and should be combined. My experience with this was that I had all my ‘foundations’ requirements filled by grad school courses that I needed, and an AP US history class that technically fell under ‘foundations.’ They refused to let me put those credits towards the ‘contemporary’ requirement, even though there are scores of other similar history courses that are categorized as ‘contemporary.’”

Due to the overlap of the courses and the confusion, the Curriculum Committee decided to combine these two categories into a single new category known as “Foundations and Contemporary Perspectives of History, Philosophy, & Social Sciences.” Effective immediately, students would instead be required to take four courses from four different areas, including Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.  Although this change is effective immediately, Dr. Bacon explained that “[c]urrent students can follow either the current or new guidelines, whichever works best given what they have already taken.” 

Dr. Bacon described that “the consolidation of the two categories maintain the breadth that is characteristic of a liberal arts curriculum while making the choice of courses less confusing to students.” She continued to share that the academic advisors are working on an updated information sheet.

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Photo Source: Photo included in an email sent to the Beren Campus by Meirah Shedlo

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