Stanford’s traditional system of self-contained courses could soon be upended by recommendations by the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES), which advocates the introduction of “helix courses” to address “curricular incoherence” in undergraduate coursework.
Increasing the courses that incorporate identity and privilege into their syllabi is not a radical act – it is one that allows all Stanford students truly equal access to this university.
The closing of the Stanford mind occurs not when faculty members engage in social activism outside the classroom, but when a focus on courses as training grounds for social activism marginalizes or crowds out courses that have no such aim.
While the Faculty Senate declined after contentious debate to begin requiring introductory seminars (IntroSems) for freshmen, as recommended by the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) report, both University administrators and SUES members have welcomed this revision to the report’s recommendations.
The Faculty Senate closed the book on the Introduction to the Humanities (IHUM) program by voting on March 8 in favor of replacing the program with a one-quarter “Thinking Matters” course, scheduled to launch this coming fall. Although IHUM was a quintessential fixture of the Stanford experience for recent students, it was only the latest edition in Stanford’s history of freshman liberal arts programs, an undergraduate tradition that is nearly 90 years old.
Concluding a multi-year review of the methods and goals of a Stanford education, the Faculty Senate voted Thursday in favor of replacing the current Introduction to Humanities (IHUM) program. Freshmen will instead be required to take a one-quarter “Thinking Matters” course starting this upcoming academic year.
Requiring IntroSems will enhance the overall quality of undergraduate education at Stanford.