Torch Voices: General Ed

Dear Editor,

I’m dissatisfied by Fred Heck’s response to Megan Coady’s “Being Well-Rounded May Put a Hole in Your Pocket” from October 21.  I think he Ms. Coady’s most valid point: students are incurring unneeded and unwanted expenses from irrelevant classes.

I left GVSU two classes away from a BA in English to attend FSU.  GVSU is fond of phrases like “well-rounded” and “personal growth,” which are insulting as they serve to negate experiences a student may bring.  Furthermore, these terms are extremely vague.

How do we measure ‘roundedness’ upon entrance in order to avoid redundant and costly courses?   Business can benefit from a workforce that can think abstractly.  However, specific skills like the ability to explicate poetry or name ANY renaissance artist are rarely useful in private business.

Many students attend community college merely to complete Gen-Eds cheaply (which FSU transfers legitimately.)  Maybe courses of little practical application can be sold at 1/3 of the price.

Customers want solutions, not more problems than they started with.  We want to hear how this college adds value to our lives, and how we’ll add value to the market.  A good start: retire vague, analysis-hampering expressions, in favor of language more likely to foster quantifiable goals.

Although I’d like to encourage my peers to challenge the Status Quo, I fear they’ll be met with general apathy or cries of “academic freedom.”  In my experience, questioning a school consists of walls of bureaucracy with little advocacy from students or professors.  Many colleges rely on a student’s relative inability to protest a school, with their dollar or otherwise.  Unfortunately, with 5,000+ students waiting to attend, there remains little incentive for a school to care every time one student complains, or even withdrawals in protest.  FSU is better than that.

Andrew Finnerty, Senior, Business