Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
Dordt College, general education, educational change, values
General education is one of those things that everyone knows how to ﬁx but no one is able to do anything about. Woodrow Wilson’s comment about changing the college curriculum, made while he was president of Princeton University, is particularly apt of general education: reforming it “is as diﬃcult as moving a graveyard.” Committees can study the issue for ages and make numerous erudite reports, but when all is said and done, more is said than done. Many reforms meet the standard voiced by Groucho Marx: “there is less here than meets the eye.” It is far easier to resist change and maintain the status quo than to build a consensus about what to do. The cause of this inertia is plain to administrators: getting faculty to collaborate on anything substantial is like herding cats. Faculty are professionally trained to be competitive, autonomous thinkers. While they may be experts in their own narrow ﬁelds of specialization, they are often ignorant of broader issues, educational or otherwise, and do not know how to take decisive action or act in concert with others.
Jongsma, Calvin, "General Education: Why Do We Need It, and Where Did It Come From?" (1994). Faculty Work: Comprehensive List. 591.