Thursday, 24 June 2004

Building a core

Stephen Karlson ponders curriculum reform—in particular, an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. My knowledge of such matters is necessarily limited—I was not a guinea pig for the integrated first-year curriculum at Rose-Hulman (those of us with high-school calculus were too far along), and I was never a freshman again.

All I’ve gotten so far on Millsaps’ interdisciplinary core is the fluffy, press release material aimed at potential students and parents and anecdotal accounts from various participants (principally, my tour guide during my interview)—I assume it works, since they’ve been doing it for over a decade, but I have no empirical evidence either way. It certainly seems more rigorous than NIU’s approach to the problem, but then again there are advantages in such things to being a selective private school that can restrict its enrollment and worry less about the implications of transfers in or out.