Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Harvard (finally) enacts new curricular reform

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences: News and Events:
The Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences approved a motion that sets the stage for the implementation of the first complete overhaul of general education for undergraduates in nearly 30 years. By voting to put in place a new program in General Education, the FAS is replacing the Core Program established in the late 1970s.

The goals of the new General Education curriculum are to prepare students for civic engagement; teach students to understand themselves as products of -- and participants in -- traditions of art, ideas, and values; prepare students to respond critically and constructively to change; and to develop students' understanding of the ethical dimensions of what they say and do.

The new program requires students to take a semester-long course in each of the following areas:

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding to help students develop skills in criticism, that is, aesthetic responsiveness and interpretive ability.

Culture and Belief to develop an understanding of and appreciation for traditions of culture and belief in human societies.

Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning to teach the conceptual and theoretical tools used in reasoning and problem solving, such as statistics, probability theory, mathematics, logic, and decision theory.

Ethical Reasoning to teach how to reason about moral and political beliefs and practices, and how to deliberate and assess claims about ethical issues.

Science of Living Systems to introduce concepts, facts, and theories relevant to living systems.

Science of the Physical Universe to introduce key concepts, facts, and theories about the physical universe that equip students to understand better our world and the universe.

Societies of the World to examine one or more societies outside the United States.

The United States and the World to examine American social, political, legal, cultural, and/or economic institutions, practices, and behavior, from contemporary, historical, and/or analytical perspectives.

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