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4-4 for what?

April 15, 2011

When I first found out that we were switching to the 4-4 system, after listening in on faculty meetings regarding curriculum change and researching curriculums, I was baffled.  To me, the 4-4 system seemed like the less favorable option.

The 4-4 system seems to have a lot of problems.  You see, I was under the impression that we were changing our curriculum because it would make us appear more competitive, since most schools of our division and size either use the quarters or 4-4-1 system.

I don’t see what is more competitive about doing less.  The assumption is that students will be able to devote more time to their studies, but on a campus where extra-curricular activities and “getting involved” seem to be stressed above academics, I think students will just pick up another sport or club.  Classes may be longer, but I guarantee you students attention spans are not.

Another issue I have is that this seems to effectively eliminate the double major.  With an ever more competitive job market ahead, and dwindling options, many students double major to increase their chances of finding a job.  This is already difficult enough under the current system, and will be virtually impossible under the 4-4 system.

The question also remains as to what will be done about students who are currently double majoring.  When the new system takes effect, will all those years devoted to taking the classes necessary for both their majors be wasted?

One of the reasons I came to a liberal arts college is because I didn’t want to be confined to my major.  I wanted to be able to study more than just English, but under the 4-4 system, I don’t see how you could do much exploring at all.  If you don’t know what you want to do by the time you’re a sophomore, then how can you even hope to finish?  Do you have to know what you want to do with your life from the moment you get into college? Who will have time to take classes outside of their major?

I realize much of this editorial is comprised of questions, but that is because there seems to be much left unanswered.  I don’t want to seem hypercritical of a system that has just been voted on, but I hope that when the committee is done fleshing out the details at the end of the summer, at least some of these questions will be answered.

Assistant News Editor

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