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C.O.W. curriculum requires change

The College of Wooster is actively considering the implementation of more classes revolving around diversity and inclusion. For this academic year, many students have voiced their concern over the Global and Cultural Perspectives requirement. The Diversity and Social Justice Task Force has proposed two new requirements in response to the student’s dissatisfaction: a diversity requirement and a social justice requirement. While this is definitely a step in the right direction, we should still critique what has been presented in order to come to a better curriculum in the future.

A major problem I foresee with these new requirements would be finding their place within S.T.E.M. academics. During the student open session, we were presented with examples of classes that could potentially fit within the new Wooster degree requirements. Of course these classes would necessarily have to be changed in some form or fashion, but at the same time, there was only one S.T.E.M. class that was compatible with the ideas proposed, the environmental studies department’s course on sustainability. If we are serious about creating the alumni that The College of Wooster envisions, we must ensure that it covers all disciplines. There must be a strong push for S.T.E.M. faculty to take charge and create courses involving diversity and social justice. There are many colleges and universities in the world; surely one of them offers a class that involves diversity and social justice that a Wooster S.T.E.M. faculty could base their course from.

This is another reason why it is very important that we continue to push the administration to hold our professors accountable in being at the center of all ongoing conversations within their academic field. This would necessarily mean that The College of Wooster offers classes for the professors to learn more about other cultures, religions and disciplines. This would help professors to feel more comfortable in teaching these subject matters. A S.T.E.M. major would not take a class about “diversity in S.T.E.M.,” but learn how diversity positively and negatively affects S.T.E.M.

Another problem I would like to address is the social justice requirement. There was talk of including an aspect of community service related to the class subject. I believe that an aspect of community service should necessarily go along with the social justice requirement. It is one thing to talk about social justice, it is a whole different story when social justice is put into action. If students are only expected to attend a class and learn about social justice, but not given an opportunity to learn how to implement it in their daily lives, the social justice requirement would ultimately fail.

Every member of The College of Wooster has the privilege of learning amazing new ideas. As a result, it is our duty to ensure we acknowledge this privilege and help others who are unable to do the same. Including community service with the social justice requirement would not only help the students realize that what we are learning in class has real world application. It also has the potential to greatly improve relations between The College of Wooster and the greater Wooster community.

Having a discussion about the curriculum requirements is not about imposing new requirements on students just for them to check off a box when they are done with a class. It is preparing us for our future responsibilities as Wooster alumni. Having diversity and social justice as requirements would increase the amount of good Wooster alumni create for their communities. However, in order for it to accomplish this goal, there must be proper training, communication across disciplines, faculty support and students to wholeheartedly join in this transition.

Robert Dinkins, Jr., a Viewpoints Editor for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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