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Letter to the Editor

November 22, 2013

Response to “Mindless zombies feed off INTG courses” in Nov. 8 edition

After reading Chase Mowery’s article, “Mindless zombies feed off INTG courses,” in the Nov. 8 issue of The Courier, I was forced to respond. As Mowery said, we are a liberal arts college and the INTG courses are to support our education. From there, our opinions differ radically.

I believe that the INTG courses are some of the best courses I have taken, and I do not see the arguments that Mr. Mowery presents. The students ranged from wallflowers to active and engaging classmates. Not everyone feels comfortable discussing information that isn’t among their primary interests, but helping conversation and hearing from a variety of outlooks is better than hiding in the corner. According to Mowery, I, a chemistry major, should have been stunned stupid in my art and English INTG-themed courses due to my inability to comprehend how other disciplines work or engage the material. This, however, was far from the case. Each one provided excitement and insight I did not previously have.

Every INTG course pushed me outside of the comfort zone expected of me as a chemistry major. I was challenged to make an art piece in my art-themed global perspectives course. I succeeded admirably; in my group of four there was a chemistry major, a physics major, a kinesiology major and an English major. I’ve heard the professor still brags about our project, two years after we dedicated ourselves to it. In my English-themed reflections course, I was challenged to write a great deal of creative fiction and contemplative nonfiction, which influenced me to add another English course into my schedule.

We are blessed to have these radically different courses. No two students get the same experience because of the variety. While many professors keep the same class structure, the materials necessary for class frequently change. This is the beauty that arises from these courses. They are freely chosen by each student and freely developed by each professor. Some students look for the easiest or whatever best fits their schedules. Others look for something they can use. I look for ideas to expand my knowledge, and from there, my happiness.

My reflections course taught me the philosophy of the polymath. A polymath, often called a renaissance man today, is a person who has knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, allowing her to solve both complex and specific problems. A well-known historical example is Leonardo da Vinci. He traversed science, art, music, and his works are still being explored today. I would have never discovered the concept if it were not for my reflections course, nor would I have found a wonderful purpose in life. Isn’t that exactly what the reflections classes are trying to do?

As with everything in life, the cliché still rings true: you get out what you put in. The INTG courses are beacons where any student can actively get the full dollar amount of their education.
Submitted by Alex Peacock, senior, Chemistry major.

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