A new freshman requirement designed to replace the often-criticized Introduction to the Humanities (IHUM) program will feature a lower student-to-faculty ratio and a much more diverse course offering, according to University administrators involved in its creation. However, with the program’s debut only a week away, department chairs are still assessing how this change in academic policy will affect their operations.
As of this fall, the yearlong Introduction to the Humanities sequence will no longer be a requirement for freshmen. Instead, the Class of 2016 will choose from over 35 different quarter-long Thinking Matters courses.
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.
The ASSU Community Action Board (CAB) released a letter Feb. 20 in response to the recent Study of Undergraduate Education (SUES) report, which examines the goals of a Stanford undergraduate education and, in over 100-pages, makes 55 recommendations for improvement. The ASSU Undergraduate Senate passed a resolution to support CAB’s letter at its Tuesday night meeting.