Category Archives: Core Curriculum

This category discusses the curricular structure, development, implementation, etc. of core curricula.

The (Liberal Arts) Education of Ta-Nehisi Coates

Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

At first glance, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestselling, National Book Award-winning book Between the World and Me (2015) may not seem like a particularly valuable addition to a liberal-arts-based course in a Core Curriculum program. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Samori, Coates’ memoir traces the harsh historical realities of racism in order to provide a framework for meaningful action for his son, who is on the verge of living as an adult black male in the twenty-first century United States. Throughout the book, one of Coates’ frequent objects of critique is formal education Continue reading The (Liberal Arts) Education of Ta-Nehisi Coates

An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part III

This is the final installment of a three-part essay on liberal arts education, professional studies, and vocations. The essay was originally delivered at the 81st Annual Conference of Lutheran College Faculties.

If, as has been argued so far, liberal arts and professional studies should work together so that students excel in all of their vocations of service to others, what should universities–particularly Lutheran ones–be working on now? In closing this essay, I highlight three educational opportunities. Continue reading An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part III

An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part II

This is the second installment of a three-part essay on liberal arts education, professional studies, and vocations. The essay was originally delivered at the 81st Annual Conference of Lutheran College Faculties.

With such long-standing tension between liberal and professional studies, is it worth trying to resolve the conflict? I’m sure that there are colleagues on both sides who would be happy with a divorce. Continue reading An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part II

An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part I

This is the first post of a three-part essay on liberal arts education, professional studies, and vocations. The essay was originally delivered at the 81st Annual Conference of Lutheran College Faculties.

The theme of liberal arts education, professional training, and the Lutheran doctrine of vocations provides plenty of room for a speaker to wander and ponder. In this address, I will focus my thoughts on some of the conflicts, responses, solutions, and opportunities before Lutheran universities as they engage students in liberal and professional education. Continue reading An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part I

Cultural Institutions, Theatre, and Humanistic Liberal Arts Education: Where Do We Go from Here?

Perennially, with justification, those who support limited choice in general, liberal education argue that menu systems (and their slightly more structured curricular cousins) lead to incoherence in the first years of the undergraduate curriculum.  On the other hand, most institutions are organized into disciplinary departments, and a menu system has been almost universally recognized as the best “market” mechanism to induce or introduce students to majors in various fields. But what happens when, particularly in the humanities, the very fields that are represented by departments are thought to be ineffective in employing their students, technologically backward in their approaches to the world, and, maybe most importantly, demographically cut off from new recruits.  What strategies then?  That’s what a recent Harvard report, and the Academic Council and Deans of America and Phi Beta Kappa in a recent conference, and Arum and Roksa’s Academically Adrift all seem to be asking. As it turns out, happily these questions are asked in terms of the fate of liberal arts education. Continue reading Cultural Institutions, Theatre, and Humanistic Liberal Arts Education: Where Do We Go from Here?

What Is a Core Curriculum?

Over the last half century, general education at colleges and universities in the United States has become an à la carte buffet where students choose courses from nearly endless options. In the worst cases, students are not even required to take courses in history, literature, mathematics, or science. The result is often a fractured education that fails to provide students with a coherent view of its purposes.

In response to this open curriculum, the idea of a core curriculum has experienced a resurgence. Continue reading What Is a Core Curriculum?