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Javier E

News: Decline of 'Western Civ'? - Inside Higher Ed - 25 views

  • Fifty years ago, 10 of the 50 "top" colleges mandated a Western Civ course, while students at 31 of them could choose a "Western Civilization" course from among a group of courses that would fulfill general education requirements. The situation is different today, according to the report. None of those "top 50" colleges and only one of the 75 public universities, the University of South Carolina, mandates one semester of "Western Civ." The association did not count Columbia University and Colgate University as offering the traditional "Western Civ" course, even though those institutions require two-semester courses on Western thought, because those courses include non-Western texts. Sixteen of the "Top 50" list Western Civ among several choices for a general education curriculum, as do 44 of the 75 large public institutions.
  • The "traditional Western Civ course," he said, was especially well suited for the student population of the 1960s. But he said today's student body is radically different and might not be as interested in such courses. He also attributed the change to an increasing specialization among professors, which affects how well they can teach broad survey courses and how much they enjoy doing so.
  • Whereas many colleges in the 1960s had standard core curriculums, more and more universities have moved to a model where students select from a broad range of courses in thematic areas.
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  • "The notion that the cultural traditions of our population reside in Western Civilization is belied by the demographic changes in the American population," Grossman said. He said it is knowledge of world history, a perspective that encompasses Western Civilization, that students are going to need in order to be successful in business, nonprofit, and government jobs.
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