By: Niagara Wire Staff
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Niagara University prides itself on pursuing the Vincentian mission of service and the education of its students so they too will lend a hand in service. This well-rounded education is intended to be received through general education requirements. Two of the primary foci of Gen Eds are three semesters of both religion and philosophy courses, which seem to be the most grueling tasks for students to complete. A few members of our staff here at the Niagara Wire have given their analyses of NU’s Gen Ed requirements.
The general education requirements here at NU are too strict. Three philosophy and three religion courses are excessive. This is not to say religion and philosophy courses should not be in the general education curriculum at all, rather that the number required should be lowered. Even if this number is lowered to two each, it provides students with two more free elective slots. This is important because it gives students the opportunity to explore classes outside of their major. I think that students can be sufficiently exposed to religion and philosophy without having them take up six course slots.
– Sarah Rance
Going to a school that requires three religions and three philosophies is difficult, there is no doubt about it. However, people need to learn to play the hand they are dealt, we need to realize that we are lucky that we go to a school like Niagara in the first place, and a few extra classes is a small (but not really) price to pay. For example, I took an Islam course that changed my perspective on how things were in our political climate. Since completing my required three philosophies, I’ve decided to pursue it as a minor as well.
– Liam Cuddy
Does the general requirement of three religion and philosophy courses stretch a bit far? I feel as though two courses for each would be sufficient. Although this means only two less courses, that is still an opportunity to fill our minors and majors faster. Yes, Niagara University is a private, Catholic institution, that students “chose to attend.” However, I think it’s important to consider that not all students had a real choice in colleges, and for some Niagara was their only option due to provided financial opportunities. Decreasing the amount of religion and philosophy courses would benefit students in reaching their goals faster, and to stay more motivated with their academic majors.
– Brittany Rosso
General education requirements are the dentist appointments of your schedule: you don’t want to go to them, but you have to. The difference being that the dentist keeps you healthy while Gen Eds often induce unnecessary stress. The religion courses are especially egregious. Religion is a major part of human history and deserves to be taught largely as a history course. It also deserves an objective approach; having priests teach about something they’ve dedicated their lives to does not help students who don’t believe in Christianity. We pay a substantial amount for our classes, we should be able to take what we want, not spend so much time on a single worldview.
– Hugh Brown