From the Editor: SLAS core change creates controversy

Potential changes to the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SLAS) core curriculum have sparked some intense feedback from Rider professors.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” argues much of the opposition to the proposed changes. However, the creators of the new core feel that while the current curriculum may not be broken, it is becoming increasingly outdated.
And, with a tornado of transformation bringing massive changes to every corner of society, spicing up the curriculum may make sense.
As students who have completed the current core requirements in SLAS, we can honestly say that we have gained valuable insight and knowledge from every course. We would even go as far as to say that completing the core has forced us to take classes that we otherwise would not have — classes that have dramatically changed our outlooks on life.
Because of our positive experiences in the SLAS core classes, we too, had a negative reaction to the proposition of change. But soon we remembered a very important lesson that we have learned throughout our time here at Rider: Always have an open mind.
Change is always a little frightening, as it requires discomfort and adjustment. However, without change, there cannot be progress — and Rider takes pride in being the home of both change and progress, with the building of new academic buildings, improvements to a number of academic courses and constantly trying to better our campus by going green.
After exposure to the details of the proposed curriculum, we found that we agreed with both the supporters and the naysayers. Some suggestions include the reduction of world history to one course, along with the addition of an oral communication course for all SLAS students.
Completing two mandatory courses in world history is not most people’s idea of a good time. But taking courses that we may not otherwise be exposed to can broaden our horizons and inspire us to declare second majors or minors.
History courses are valuable because students are exposed to the truths of the past that have for so long been hidden from us. One of the most monumental mistakes of mankind is brushing the past under the rug; Rider should encourage students not to forget, but instead, to embrace and learn from history.
At the same time, the addition of an oral communication requirement would provide students with priceless communication skills. Regardless of our career goals, each and every student needs these skills. From presenting a dissertation paper to expressing love for your best friend on his or her wedding day, speaking in front of others without turning red and stuttering will never be an obsolete skill.
While other courses may integrate public speaking, the specific skills learned in speech courses are irreplaceable. Rider already has amazing speech communication professors who make students feel comfortable enough to break out of their shells and gain confidence. Expanding these courses to all SLAS students is truly a turn in the right direction.
While the current SLAS core curriculum has successfully produced well-rounded Rider students for decades, it may be time to introduce some changes. The drafters of the new core have created a fresh and unique blueprint for change. However, the objections of some faculty hold valuable insight that should be carefully considered before the proposed core is approved.

The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the copy Editor, Sarah Bergen.

Printed in the 2/12/14 edition.

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