In Defense of the CORE Curriculum

Haley Friefeld, Maroon-News Staff

Colgate’s CORE curriculum requirements are a well-advertised aspect of the university, yet I have found them to be quite overlooked around the hill. While seemingly burdensome to some Colgate students, the CORE requirements are some of Colgate’s course catalog’s golden treasures. In essence, these classes are what the quintessential liberal arts education should provide. These courses shape us as well-rounded members of our society here at Colgate and beyond.

The array of Scientific Perspectives courses bring us an understanding of the physical world and its processes. They teach us that it’s important to learn not only why the world does what it does, but how it does what it does, and the uncontrollable or controllable factors that warrant such things to happen. Many would ask: what if science and math are not your strong suits? Well, that’s the beauty of the CORE program at Colgate. The course selection caters to your skill sets, so that you’re never, “set up for failure.” There are courses like The Rhetoric of Science, in which there is a harmonious blend of learning about writing and scientific re- search, or the course Language Acquisition, in which students learn about both social and scientific implications of language acquirement around the world.

Then there is Communities and Identities, in which we are given a myriad of class options that concentrate on specific communities around the world. Most of us spend our entire childhood in one country, then come to the culturally isolated bubble of Hamilton, NY for college. We miss out on exposure to and knowledge of the thousands of other cultures thriving across the world, so it is important for us to defy the harsh lines under which we are sheltered. It is critical to be aware, as humans, that there are societies outside of our known realm, and they exist regardless of whether we acknowledge them or not. These courses allow us to immerse ourselves in cultures we have never known much about, and would likely never learn about otherwise.

We are also presented with two obscurely named classes, Legacies of the Ancient World and Challenges of Modernity. These classes are the most critical courses mandated by Colgate, seeing as they cover a wide range of topics and preeminent literature influencing academic thought. They teach us about some of the most influential philosophers and impactful figures and literature in our history, including Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Plato, the Bible, Friedrich Nietzsche and so many more. We learn productive reasoning to explain the occurrences of our modern day societies, and even hone in on our past societies to find the events and ideas that molded human logic into its current form. These classical texts have always been and will always be a crucial part of our general education as humans in this world.

Overall, Colgate has implemented a strong academic curriculum that presents its authentic ideals and values it wishes to express, and the CORE is definitely one of the most influential and intellectually provoking collection of classes that could be offered. Their motives are clear; the Colgate administration truly wants us to participate in a meaningful education, and become our own leaders in the world we face after our years here. The CORE curriculum is just one out of many ways in which Colgate achieves this, and it certainly does not get enough credit for what it’s worth.

Contact Haley Friefeld at [email protected].