Core Task Force Recommends Major Changes for Gen Ed

The report of the task force on core curriculum, released today, recommends the first major changes in General Education since the program's inception in 1945.

Those changes include the elimination of the Natural Science, Humanities and Social Science groupings and the abolition of the foreign language requirement.

The task force recommends the replacement of the three Gen Ed areas with a much more formalized structure, including required courses in the following seven fields: mathematical reasoning and its application, physical sciences, biological sciences, western culture, nonwestern civilizations and culture, political and moral philosophy and modern social analysis.

Under these provisions the present Committee on General Education would be abolished and in its place would be a Faculty committee on the core program which would oversee the proposed requirements.

A standing committee on non-departmental instruction would maintain the non-departmental courses that no longer fit into the proposed Gen Ed scheme.


James Q. Wilson, Shattuck Professor of Government and the chairman of the seven-person task force, said last week he sees the recommendations of this task force as a re-affirmation of the General Education principles as originally established.

He said the recommendations are clarifications of the goals of Gen Ed and "not just an effort to turn the clock back. We have never really abandoned the tradition of General Education," he said. "But the present General Education guidelines are ineffective and worn down."

Wilson said the recommendations will be forwarded to small groups of Faculty and the Committee on Undergraduate Education for suggestions.

The proposals will then be revised and sent to a Faculty meeting. After more discussion, specific recommendations will be made and legislation drawn up.

The task force recommends that the process be completed by the fall of 1977.

Under the task force's recommendations for distribution requirements, all students would have to pass a half course in mathematical reasoning, non-western civilizations and culture, political and moral philosophy and modern social analysis.

Students would also have to pass a half course in both physical and biological science, or a full course or two related courses in either field.

Students would have to pass either a full course or two related half courses in western literature and art or a half course in western thought and a half course in western lit and art.

Under the plan students would still need to pass Expository Writing to graduate.

The task force also recommends that students may place out of any requirements by getting a satisfactory grade in an examination in specific areas.