Changes coming to Liberal Learning program

By Alyssa Sanford
Staff Writer

Upcoming changes to the College’s Liberal Learning program prompted Student Government to invite Christopher “Kit” Murphy, associate provost for Liberal Learning and Curriculum under Academic Affairs to the general body meeting on Wednesday, March 11.

Murphy, who is a “biologist by trade” specializing in animal research, is part of an effort to reevaluate the Liberal Learning program and its requirements, which have baffled students for years.

Taking effect in the fall semester of 2015, First Seminar Programs (FSP) will no longer have “domain designation.” While an FSP course traditionally fell under a specific domain — such as World Views and Ways of Knowing, Natural Science, etc. — now FSP courses will simply count as an FSP course, and students will be required to take eight liberal learning courses to satisfy the six domains.

For example, instead of taking three courses within each of the domains, incoming freshmen classes will now take three courses from five of the domains, and two courses from the remaining domain, Murphy explained to the general body.

IMurphy is interested in “engaging the campus in conversations” about ways to improve the Liberal Learning program, as it lacks widespread campus community support.

According to Murphy, about 90 percent of faculty members “are deeply committed” to liberal learning courses and think they are valuable, while only about 47 percent of students agree.

However, Murphy acknowledges that while opinions of the program’s efficacy lacks consensus, it is true that a “general understanding” of liberal learning requirements is needed across the board, for faculty and students alike.

Following this presentation, SG voted on the recognition of two clubs: Humanitarian Yoga and TCNJ Anthropological Society.

The clubs, both founded in the fall semester 2014, presented to the Governmental Affairs committee on Sunday, March 1, and were unanimously approved. Humanitarian Yoga and TCNJ Anthropological Society both sought SG recognition so that their respective organizations would be permitted to advertise for on-campus events and to reserve space for events and meetings.

Humanitarian Yoga has about 80 members and its president is a certified yoga instructor. Weekly meetings are more than yoga sessions, however — they are also devoted to planning events that will spread awareness about physical and mental health within both the campus and local community.

TCNJ Anthropological Society, comprised of 10 core members, formed prior to the announcement that an anthropology major at the College is in the early stages of planning, in response to general interest from the student body. The society boasts a strong relationship with faculty.

President Matthew Wells moved for a vote to recognize these clubs and both votes passed after debate.

Next, Vice President Michael Chiumento announced that the College is looking for art committees to augment the future STEM Building and remodeled Student Center. Both committees will convene next semester.

Kevin Kim, the alternate student trustee, said that SG elections will be held on Tuesday, April 28. All elected officials will need to run for re-election. Anyone interested in running can attend an information session between Monday, April 6, and Thursday, April 9, in Science Complex P-101 at 8 p.m.

Finally, senior class council president Brian Garsh had details about Senior Week, scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, through Thursday, May 21, following commencement.

On Tuesday, May 19, which is the last day of finals, seniors will go to Craft House in Cherry Hill for an evening out.

The next day, Wednesday, May 20, has a jam-packed schedule, including a senior breakfast with food donated from several local restaurants, such as Pennington Bagel; a keynote speaker who will be announced at a later date; an Alumni Association barbecue/picnic with a variety of outdoor activities; a champagne toast in the Science Complex; and a gala at a banquet hall.

After commencement on Thursday, May 20, seniors will convene at Rho on the Trenton Waterfront.

A series of changes accompany this abbreviated Senior Week experience. For the first time ever, seniors will stay in their current residence halls rather than returning to the Towers. For commuter students, there will be an optional transportation service to shuttle seniors between events.

Garsh also announced that Senior Week is now offered in three separate packages. Package A, which includes all three days’ events, costs $195; Package B, which is only Tuesday night’s and Wednesday’s events, costs $165; and Package C, which only covers Wednesday’s events, is $135.

“I can’t tell you how hard the senior class council has worked on this,” Garsh said. “We’ve been working on this around the clock since last April. I’m not even kidding.”

Registration for Senior Week goes live this week and will stay open until Friday, April 3. Capacity is limited to 600 seniors.

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