Common CoreCartoon by Tebben Gill Lopez

By Kalee Brunelle, Shaila Marie Caballero, Lizzy Doherty, Nicole Gallucci, and Tori Larsson

Raise your hand if you dreaded registration this semester.

You sat in front of your computer screen, staring at the clock, and probably broke into a sweat while waiting anxiously to click the submit button after typing in your pin five minutes before your registration time actually began. Why is it that this process is so mentally taxing? It must suggest something about the core curriculum that reading the list of requirements alone is exhausting.

Never fear, administration, for it’s not the core itself that should be eliminated, but the way courses are counted toward requirements. With the 22-course core, a typical 10-course major, and a typical 5-course minor, there is an overwhelming lack of flexibility in students’ schedules. That leaves you with a whopping three courses outside of what is required, assuming you took classes that double-counted for your World and U.S. Diversity requirements. At the end of the day, we don’t have the time or space to take classes that we’re genuinely interested in, and instead have to worry about taking the classes that will cover the requirements.

If you come to Fairfield without a particular major in mind, you have virtually no time to explore the courses offered and determine what you are interested in. If you choose to do so, you’ll be suffering in the future with an overload of six classes per semester in order to graduate on time. There is also a lack of variety in the classes offered and what each class counts toward, drastically shrinking your options.

Fairfield prides itself on cultivating well rounded students through its core courses. The purpose of the core, so they say, is to apply and stay true to “cura personalis” and expose students to a broad variety of skills (critical thinking, problem solving, time management, insightful analysis, etc.). While we came to Fairfield aware of the extensive core requirements and the value of a Jesuit education, we also expected, and deserve, to be highly educated in our field of study. That is why the inflexibility between core-required courses and required courses for a major is such an obstacle for so many students.

The lack of courses offered also affects the University in other ways. Because we do not have the time or space to participate in unique classes, they are often threatened with cancellation. Classes like Poetry, James Joyce, Digital Journalism, Children as Media Consumers, Television Genres: Sitcoms, Faith After the Holocaust or Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management are courses that we are intrigued by, yet the strictness of the core curriculum does not allow us to experience them. Business majors don’t have room for Business Writing, an English-based class directly tied to their future career paths. If well rounded students are the University’s goal, it’s coming up short.

The solution to this issue is to adjust the core course options to include content that is interdisciplinary and connects to most majors, in addition to possibly combining requirements. Fairfield should follow in the footsteps of other Jesuit colleges that make its core curriculum more flexible and enjoyable for students. Loyola University Chicago requires its students to take two courses in a required area of knowledge, such as Historical Knowledge, Artistic Knowledge, Quantitative Knowledge, Scientific Literacy, Societal and Cultural Knowledge, Philosophical Knowledge, Theological Knowledge and Ethics. The one major difference between Loyola and Fairfield is that in each area of knowledge, they have a wide variety of classes to choose from.

Instead of requiring them to take two math classes, Loyola requires students to take two courses in the Quantitative Analysis field. In this area, they provide class options such as Logic, Visual Information Processing and Statistics. By offering these types of classes, it allows individuals who do not necessarily excel at Mathematics to take a class that won’t completely tarnish their GPA, while also allowing them to find a class that relates to their field of study.

While we understand and respect the significance of a Jesuit education, we propose a change. By no means are we suggesting that we should eliminate the core curriculum, but simply modify the requirements to allow for more flexibility and variety. It is clear that with the narrow and demanding core curriculum, students are not given enough opportunities for exploration.

By expanding the core course selection and allowing additional class options to count for core credits, students will have the opportunity to take more classes that relate to their particular field of studies as well as classes that they are truly passionate about. There are so many magnificent courses offered at Fairfield, and we know students wish they had the time in their schedules to take them.

Let’s face it. You’ve always dreamed of taking Piano/Keyboard. Don’t you think you should be able to?

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