Students need more freedom with CULF classes

Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff.

There is one word that will garner a round of groans and eye rolls from almost every student if mentioned: CULF.

Short for cultural foundations, CULF classes are “dedicated to helping students develop a balanced understanding of and appreciation for their own and other cultures.”

These classes have been a part of St. Edward’s University for many years so they are not going away. However, the CULF program should be re-evaluated and tweaked.

Adaptive to Major

CULF classes need to be more adaptive to students’ majors. If a student has a class in their major that is similar to a CULF class, they should be able to skip it. There is no need to re-take a similar course again. Letting students skip certain CULF classes would enable them to take other required courses or an elective.

By being more adaptive to majors, CULF would no longer be a burden on students, and would instead let them focus on what’s important: their major.

Exciting Classes

One common complaint about CULF classes is that they are fairly boring, and that they are just history classes under a different alias.

Some students love history, but some need some extra enticement.

Some universities offer culturally-relevant classes, like Rutgers University, which offers a class called “Politicizing Beyoncé” that will “explore American race, gender and sexual politics” through her career.

Exciting students so they actually want to take CULF classes would foster a better learning environment.

Eliminate Capstone

The final piece to CULF is Capstone, which is designed to bring together all of the skills a student has learned during their career at St. Edward’s.

In reality, all Capstone does is teach students how to write an essay a particular way — that’s it.

Capstone should become more like the honors program’s senior thesis project. Students in the honors program have the freedom to do whatever they believe is best for their project. All students should have this freedom.

For some students, a research project is the right fit, but for others it’s not. Every student is different; it’s time for Capstone to reflect that.

If a student is interested in journalism, they should write a long-form story that will put their skills to use. If a student is a graphic design major, they should be able to use their talents on a project, not a research paper.

Along with this freedom, students should be able to find a professor to grade them on their project. This would personalize each student’s project.

We know that CULF classes are not going away any time soon, but it’s time to give the courses a modern makeover that encourages academic freedom and creativity.