Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 27, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: Take a Fresh Look at Ithaca College and ICC

IC 20/20 began its implementation in the 2012–13 academic year. Since then, several of  its components have failed to accomplish many of their original goals.

The diversity component has not been prioritized as evidenced by the School of Humanities and Sciences voting to decrease the number of diversity classes required to graduate. Establishing the diversity requirements was a step in the right direction, but backtracking in this manner is not going to benefit the college or its students.

Another component that has failed to deliver is the First-Year Residential Experience. There is much more to the college experience than academics, and academics do not have to be incorporated into every aspect of a student’s life. Bringing academic programming to the residence halls is too much, as proven by the lack of interest and poor attendance at these programs. Due to classes, extracurriculars, social events and other obligations, one cannot expect students to attend many additional programs or events. Resident assistants and associated faculty end up putting time and effort into throwing events that nobody attends.

The Integrative Core Curriculum was created to fix the college’s need for better general education requirements, but this attempt resulted in an overly complex system, and now the college must find a simpler solution. The ePortfolio is one shortcoming of the ICC. For many students who are looking to find a job after college, the ePortfolio will not help them, especially if the essays and works contained in the portfolio have nothing to do with their field of interest. The ePortfolio should be something that helps students by only having requirements that pertain to their area of study, rather than making them do extra work to create something they can never use or share.

Another area that needs improvement is the themes. Students end up missing out on classes of interest because they are restricted to their theme or because they pick a theme based on their freshman seminar that does not further reflect their interests. Some themes also lack a variety of options within the various sections. For example, the Power and Justice theme only has one option under the Natural Sciences category, as of Fall 2014. A new class is being added, the change effective summer of 2015, but students still need more options. This is restrictive and is not fair to students, who should at least have a range of options to choose from, regardless of their theme.

President Tom Rochon’s Fresh Look Initiative, a ground-up revisioning of the institution that also has a Netpass-protected portal for the college community to share ideas and ask questions, is a good chance for the administration to re-evaluate and seriously consider whether to continue with programs like the ICC or FYRE or to move away from them and start over with a better plan. Rochon has acknowledged that parts of IC 20/20 that were only recently implemented could very well be eliminated if the feedback calls for it. It is important to recognize the need to move on from a failed or failing project and find something better. Perhaps the Fresh Look Initiative will result in a better solution.