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The core of any college curriculum


The center of every university experience worth its salt is a grounding in the fundamentals of the human condition. For full and lasting impact on students, it should also be rigorous and challenging. Studies in history, literature, mathematics, “readin’, writin’ and arithmetic” are more important now than at any time since the Second World War. The Core Curriculum, sometimes called General Education, was born in the German Polytechnics. The concept crossed the Atlantic to Manhattan, taking root at Columbia University in 1895, as the Gymnasium Program. It has changed dramatically, some claim diminished, as politically charged requirements to meet various contemporary social trends have overpowered the clarity of the original models.

As legitimate pressure from boards and elected leaders regarding the applicability of a university education grows, particularly as costs skyrocket, the workplace value of general studies are is questioned. The ability of a person to interpret the Constitution of the United States, the Bible, algebraic expressions, or Melville’s symbolism in Moby Dick seems nice, but unnecessary.

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