Each week, we explore both sides of a current issue through opposing Viewpoints. The alternate editorial for this week’s Face Off can be found here: “Cultural foundations ground students in real world issues.”
Cultural Foundations, better known to students as CULF classes, are widely considered by students to be a massive time-sink. St. Edward’s requires students to take 18 credit hours of CULF classes as a requirement to graduate, but it is time to rework CULF to make it better for students.
It is completely understandable that St. Edward’s would place so much emphasis on marginalization, equality and social problems because of the school’s commitment to Catholic social teaching and its identity as a liberal arts university. However, these commitments don’t seem proportional to the relatively large amount of CULF courses required. In fact, it’s downright unnecessary.
While St. Edward’s motto “take on your world” is inspirational, the CULF classes that the university believes to be necessary to do that are excessive. A few of the classes seem to be extremely similar and only a few differences warrant their separation as distinct classes.
For example, the American Experience and American Dilemmas classes have little difference. American Experience focuses on history and self, while American Dilemmas focuses on issues of social justice and civic engagement — those are the only differences between the two courses.
Due to the similarities that some of the CULF classes share, it would be reasonable to consolidate them.
Understanding historical and contemporary social problems; foreign cultures and literature; and world politics are undeniably important issues to the shaping of any responsible global citizen, but some CULF classes are stretching it.
Even though St. Edward’s is a liberal arts university, the number of required CULF classes limits the choices students can make when creating their class schedules.
If the university won’t lower the required CULF classes required, then it should consider raising the maximum credit hours a student may take in one semester. Currently, 18 credit hours per semester is the limit, and if any student wishes to exceed that limit they would be required to pay extra per credit hour exceeding the limit.
Increasing the limit to 21 would be a great solution to the problems caused by CULF classes. Doing this would let students include more classes that they need to graduate.
In theory, CULF classes are a great idea, but the execution needs to change. It’s time to reevaluate the CULF program so that it is actually beneficial.
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