Committee to examine GE program

A faculty committee will begin working to revise the current G.E. curriculum at the start of spring 2012 to create a curriculum with more modern applications to students.

Committee members will likely be named within the next couple weeks, said Gene Bickers, the vice provost for undergraduate programs.

“The key is to have a curriculum that is in tune with students’ current needs,” Bickers said. “What was appropriate in the 1980s or 1990s might not be appropriate now, and the goal of the committee will be to keep the curriculum in sync with current needs.”

Bickers said another goal of the G.E. revision would be to make the curriculum more specialized and applicable to the various majors offered at the university.

“One thing the committee will look at is to allow students to tie in specialized material from their specific major with overall questions about society,” Bickers said. “[Students with] majors including engineering or communication could use the material they learn in their G.E. classes to create connections with their major.”

Bickers also said USC students would have the opportunity to voice their opinions on what they want to see in future curriculum.

“There will be forums concerning the curriculum revision and there will be a chance for USG to make comments on the revision process,” Bickers said. “During the last G.E. revision there were open forums, and we’re also looking to possibly allow students to make comments online.”

The last revision committee was chosen in 1994, and Bickers said they took three years to finish revising the curriculum.

The current G.E. curriculum’s lack of course variety forces many students to take classes that actually interest them, according to Monica Stainer, a freshman majoring in accounting.

“The G.E. curriculum right now is a great way for people to expand their knowledge on general topics; however, there are certain flaws with the program,” Stainer said. “One thing I would change is to offer more courses or seats in each class so the G.E. requirements can be fulfilled in ways that interest students, rather than taking the courses that are leftover.”

David Crary, a senior majoring in economics and applied and computational mathematics, also said the G.E. program could be improved, specifically by revising the curriculum’s link to the Writing 140 course.

“Nearly everyone complains about Writing 140, so obviously the committee could revise the GE-VI course with Writing 140 to better please most students,” Crary said. “One of the main problems with a school as distinct as USC is that there is so much diversity and interests that it will be difficult to provide classes that will be relevant to every student.”