April 13, 2024

Letter to the editor: General ed classes are needed in college

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Daryn Mason’s impassioned argument against the forcing of the student body to take General Education courses.  I say interesting because he mentions in the first paragraph how college “was meant for us to diversify and take classes for our careers or find out who we are, right?”  I thought diversify meant to learn many different things versus just what our careers would demand.  

How can one know who we are if we didn’t try to learn something we didn’t previously know?  Sadly, I have heard many people comment on things they know nothing about beyond their career mark.  They can scarcely speak in coherent sentences, (here is where an English class can help, btw).  

Math can open previously closed doors and give an individual the chance to change a career path, perhaps to an even higher paying position.  I can also see how taking a Science class in this anti-science period of time can be daunting, but lest we forget, science is still all encompassing and around us all and yes walks hand in hand with faith.  

Our author would follow his dream to major in “radio broadcasting and business.”  Many of our current broadcasters, I speak of those locally but it is creeping in nationally, “speak English like a Spanish cow,” to quote a French maxim.  Looking at it, why would English be a detriment to radio broadcasting, especially if you write your own copy.  Unless, of course, grammar, syntax, spelling, how to organize your thoughts on paper, ad infinitum was something you wanted your copy to be void of.  

High school and Middle school English do not teach the same level of College and/or University English.   If they did we might have some brilliant ten-year-old novelists, advertising executives, and broadcasters who speak brilliantly taking our jobs.  Math and business, well you got me there, I really can’t see that connection, (tongue firmly wedged in cheek).   If you don’t know math, and even the more complex forms of it, being able to map trends and the like, your business just might fail.

In conclusion, I get that you may be bored.  As a professor of General Education courses, you have no idea how hard it is to teach these classes when noses are so firmly stuck in phones or on their computers.  “I am taking notes is the new justification.”  However, it doesn’t work when one is watching a film for Intro.  You know who you are.  The student doesn’t try and the faculty member, has little desire to try and enlighten students who don’t want to learn.  It is like the myth of Sisyphus.  Look it up. 

College/university isn’t always about being a cruise director and making sure education is “fun.”  It very often isn’t.  As faculty we are required to go to meetings, trust me fun is not how I would describe it.They will never be on a travel brochure. 

We try, you could actually try as well, but then games and the internet will always take precedence. Life isn’t always fun and don’t always get to dance and sing our way through it.  Sometimes, learning takes effort, even on the field we choose to follow.  It is great to have a direction and a goal in sight as to one’s career, but a General Education course can open up new worlds and directions that could be lost if Liberal Arts disappears in favor of a more focused, “only my major” type of education.

Corey Ewan, Ph.D., USUE Theater Department