A group of professors from the Roy H. Park School of Communications, led by Jack Powers, associate professor and chair of the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, have submitted a proposal to the Committee for College-Wide Requirements for amending the Integrative Core
Curriculum at Ithaca College. The proposal suggests that the Liberal Arts and Society theme, which is currently only an option for transfer students, be opened to all students at the college.
The Liberal Arts and Society theme simply dictates that students must take a class in natural sciences, social sciences, creative arts and humanities, but stated that classes do not necessarily have to have a specific ICC theme designation to them. Specifically, the proposal discusses how students often struggle to complete ICC requirements due to lack of available classes for their given theme, or how students only chose classes because they can complete a requirement, regardless of how related the class is with their theme.
A less convoluted theme makes sense for students. There have been instances of students not being able to study abroad as planned due to issues with getting into ICC classes, the proposal states. Some students have been forced to take classes during summer or winter sessions, at an additional cost, because classes were only during those sessions.
The professors who brought this proposal forward should be commended for trying to improve the student experience at the college. Problems with the ICC have been a longstanding student concern, and faculty and staff are taking steps to actually address these concerns. This proposal would help take a step to address the concerns the Middle States Commission on Higher Education review team recognized after representatives visited the college in February. The representatives said that the faculty and staff at the college need “to define an educational philosophy for general education that animates the mission of the institution … as well as the curricular plan through which those outcomes will be achieved for the entire institution.”
Opening up the Liberal Arts and Society theme to all students would alleviate some of the problems that the ICC is currently facing. It would create a broader, less restrictive general education program for students at the college while also creating an educational environment that is more catered to student needs.