Letter To The Editor: Old SLAS core works, philosophy prof says
I have been teaching at Rider for 37 years and enjoyed every minute of it. My greatest happiness in life is showing young people how enjoyable and meaningful it is to live the life of the mind. No matter what your major is, it’s amazing how your life can be enhanced by learning about all of the liberal arts and sciences, which includes appreciation of literature, music, theater, dance and the visual arts. It also includes an understanding of the different languages and cultures of the world, and the perspectives of history that enable us to step out of our minuscule points in space and time.
It gives us the ability to lovingly and carefully observe the wonders of the natural world, to learn the delightful precision of mathematics and logic, to ponder the deep questions of the meaning of life and how we should live. Ideally, the college experience enables us to acquire the flexibility of mind to solve the problems of the present with an understanding of the wisdom of the past and the imagination to appreciate different points of view.
I am very proud of the Rider core curriculum, which requires all liberal arts and science students to take courses in all of the main branches of knowledge, including two courses in history, languages, natural and social sciences, and one course in literature, art and philosophy. Unfortunately, many universities have eliminated core requirements on questionable grounds such as “best practices,” which I’m afraid just means “cheapest practices.”
Rider is currently threatened with what I think is a wrong-headed proposal to reduce the history requirement from two courses to one. I think that we must resist this trend to weaken the core curriculum so that students will not be short-changed and the Rider degree will not lose its value. As long as we offer a strong curriculum in which students have the opportunity to learn about all of the major branches of knowledge, we are fulfilling the mission of Rider, whose apt motto in our current economic climate is “In Omnia Paratus,” prepared in all things.
The reputation of Rider University will stand or fall based on the quality of our graduates, and our future as an institution of higher learning depends entirely on you. It is an honor for me to be a teacher of the leaders of the next generation, and I hope that your broad education at Rider will enrich your lives as much as teaching you has enriched mine.
-Dr. Carol Nicholson
Professor of philosophy
Printed in the 2/5/14 edition.