To the Editor:
All too often, it seems as if students are ready to jump on the administration as soon as any attempt to change the current system is made. Though I agree that the new logo is much worse than the old one, the academic transformation currently underway is one change that I’m in favor of. Chances are, if you’re a TCNJ student, you’ve heard the sound bites. Instead of five classes, we’ll take four, and every class has to become more intensive. Those against the change argue that it cheats students by decreasing the number of courses they can take and hours spent with professors. To put it another way, “we don’t come here to teach ourselves.” However, to truly understand the nature and purpose of the transformation, it’s important to look carefully at the school’s vision. The goal of any college, hopefully, is to produce useful and effective members of society – to provide students with the intellectual tools they need to enact change in whatever line of work they choose to pursue. As Provost Briggs puts it in one of his documents, “these habits and abilities are cultivated by challenges, not lectures.” In other words, multiple choice tests and true/false questions do not adequately prepare students for life, for the simple fact that life’s problems are seldom a matter of black and white or true and false. Rather, they are complex, and involve intricate situational analyses. To call the additional time spent out of class under the new system “self-education” is at best an oversimplification. This extra work, while not performed directly in front of a professor, will be integrated into the greater scope of the class, and this extra time will allow professors to develop more complex tasks that truly mirror the types of problems faced by post-graduates.
A. C. Kaelin