THE CURRICULUM ISSUE More than 180 years after the College’s founding, Knox faculty and administrators take a fresh look at the elements of a liberal arts education BY PAM CHOZEN
or more than a century, the Yale Report set the standard for what a liberal arts curriculum should include. Students should study rhetoric, logic, composition, and history (preferably through the study of ancient Greece and Rome). They should gain a basic understanding of the physical sciences, mathematics, humanities, and art. Most importantly, they should use this knowledge to become better citizens, knowledgeable of both their own rights and their responsibilities toward others.
A liberal, is obviously distinct
In practice, while the goals of a liberal arts education remain the same—to teach students how to think critically, write and communicate clearly, and solve complex
from a professional, education. problems—Knox’s liberal arts curriculum continues to evolve to address the changing
A liberal education is fitted to needs of the students it serves.
occupy the mind, while its powers are opening and enlarging; a
At the start of the 2018–2019 academic year, Knox debuted its first curriculum updates since 2002. Here are four things that have changed.
professional education requires an understanding already cultivated by study, and prepared by exercise for methodical and persevering efforts. —“Reports on the Course of Instruction in Yale College,” 1828
KNOX MAGAZINE Summer 2019
1. “Experiential learning” is no longer a specific requirement, because it’s ideally a part of everything students do. There’s wide consensus among academics that one of the most effective ways to build analytical and problem-solving skills is to give students opportunities to put those skills to use in real settings. Prior to this year, the “experiential learning” requirement was intentionally broad and not necessarily even a formal academic experience—volunteer work or a campus or summer job also qualiﬁed. With the new curriculum, students are encouraged to have as many of these opportunities as possible. To meet the new “active inquiry” requirement, students are encouraged to take an
immersion term, choose from a growing list of courses that include an immersion component (see the pages that follow for a few new examples), or take on independent research. Internships, community service, and study abroad are still considered “active inquiry” as well. Further, to ensure that every student has the means to pursue active inquiry, each will receive a $2,000 Power of Experience Grant in their junior or senior year to help pay for travel and living expenses or equipment and supplies.