STAFF EDITORIAL — General Education Requirements, better known as Gen. Eds., are a set of certain classes that students are required to complete by the time they graduate. These courses help ensure that students develop core liberal arts competencies and encounter a broad range of liberal arts inquiries- social, scientific, humanistic and artistic. These requirements expose students to a diversity of perspectives that enable them to interact more efficiently in an increasingly interdependent world. This sounds well intentioned, but functionally, there are some caveats.
Navigating Gen. Ed requirements can often confuse students, as courses often overlap with other pre-requisites, or cross off multiple requirements. For most of us, the process of selecting Gen Eds. can be a taxing and stressful one, especially when it comes to scheduling freshman and sophomore year. Shuffling through course offerings and coordinating which classes will check off certain G.E. program requirements takes a long time, and many students spend hours trying to solidify a schedule that meets their needs.
As upperclassmen too, the general education requirements can be an imposition. For a student hoping to double major, or earn certification in several major areas while traveling abroad, the fine print of certain requirements gets tricky. For example, a Studio Arts major might be surprised to find their numerous art and art history course only count for one of the two required Fine Arts GEs.
With the constraints of G.E.’s, we often miss out on classes we want to take in order to fill a requirement. It is hard to see how much you like a discipline when only one credit counts toward graduation.
Even attempting to remedy the situation by taking classes in the summer requires strategy. In the Registrar’s office, there’s a jam packed sticky note with all the departments that won’t accept transferred credits, and in the few cases this is an option, the class can’t be taken online. Forget trying to squeeze in a math credit with your internship or travel plans. Denison seems to really want to get you in the classroom.
Along with this, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of transparency on what credits you can get abroad. Most departments only take 100 or 200 level classes for majors, which are usually completed by junior year. Students don’t realize they can complete their language requirement while abroad, or other G.E.’s that we rush to finish and fit into our schedule. If this was better advertised, students would be able to better manage what classes to take and when they should take it.
Despite the extra stress that might accompany scheduling courses because of Gen. Eds., it is undeniable that they add a lot of value to Denison students. Because of these extra courses Denison students are far more well rounded than those from other universities. It expands the minds of individuals by exposing them to types of classes they would have otherwise never have taken. In some cases, these courses even lead individuals to a major or minor they would’ve previously never considered. The Gen. Eds. required to graduate are instilled with the intention to expand the minds of Denison students, and expose them to realms of knowledge they otherwise never would’ve considered exploring.