WASHINGTON, DC—Students at the City University of New York owe a big thanks to the school’s administration, which, this week, blocked implementation of a misguided overhaul of the CUNY general education curriculum. CUNY institutions, like Brooklyn College, have long set a national standard for offering a rigorous set of foundational core courses guaranteed to prepare students for success after graduation.
Recent plans approved by the CUNY Faculty Senate would have diluted that core and allowed students to graduate with vast gaps in their skills and knowledge. In a statement issued in April 2015, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and three distinguished Brooklyn College professors emeritae—Paula Fichtner, Margaret King, and Abigail Rosenthal—had urged the faculty to vote against the proposed modifications and to support real substantive requirements instead:
“Proposals before the Faculty Senate . . . would put its academic reputation in grave danger by substituting vague content-free standards for required study of critical courses. If adopted, the proposed revisions could mean students might well graduate without exposure to collegiate mathematics, science, literature, economics, and American history at a time when the challenges of a dynamic global job market have never been greater.”
ACTA President Anne Neal praised the CUNY administration: “The administration’s decision to back away from the misguided content-free standards approved by the Faculty Senate rightly puts the needs of students first. Going forward, CUNY leaders have the opportunity to insist on real academic requirements, especially at a time when the need for rigorous preparation has never been greater.”
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