From the COVID-19 pandemic to racial injustices to the presidential election, 2020 has been anything but predictable. These current events and issues have affected many students’ lives, making it even more important for these topics to be discussed in the classroom. In response to this, professors at Ithaca College have adjusted their curricula to address these topics.
This integration of current events into the curriculum is imperative because students need to be informed citizens. It is easy for college students to feel like they operate in a bubble, but the reality is that they need to engage with the world around them. Professors should be commended for changing with the times and recognizing that students need practical lessons that can be applied to real-world issues.
A study from the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that many college students find that general education requirements detract from a major rather than enhance it. However, the innovative curricula at the college demonstrate that professors are taking their classes one step beyond general requirements. This extra effort does not go unnoticed and has been met with positive student reactions.
Faculty members are doing their best to ensure that students get a holistic education, even during a virtual semester. If the administration follows through with the elimination of 130 full-time equivalent faculty positions, students will have fewer opportunities to engage with forward-thinking professors. Having professors who are actually taking measures to provide a good education to students needs to be a priority at this time. Cutting faculty will put more pressure on the professors who remain to pick up the slack, a situation that will only lead to more stress for those professors. If the college wants to maintain the level of education it is providing for students right now, it needs to reconsider its method of faculty cuts.
Ultimately, faculty members need to be commended for their work in altering their curricula. This demonstrates what makes the college special — the people. During such an uncertain time at the college, the college community needs to come together to celebrate and support faculty members for their hard work and attempts to keep students engaged.