EDITORIAL: LER change smart

The recent proposal raised and passed by the Faculty Senate to change the university’s Liberal Education Requirements is sure to raise some eyebrows, particularly among students, but it’s a smart adjustment to the current standards.

The changes to the current LERs include the following: requiring a course in mathematics or formal logic for all students, requiring a one-credit-hour lab class for all students, requiring that social science courses must come from at least two different subject areas, and adding another category in which students would be allowed more freedom in selecting courses that would fulfill the LERs. This new policy will take effect during the Fall 2006 semester. But fear not A-ƒ_” only freshmen and students who have the calendar year 2006 (and after) will be subjected to the new requirements. It will have no effect on current students.

The first and most important reason for the change is that it will create a curriculum that is more in line with that of other Ohio universities, thereby allowing for easier transfers between schools. With more and more students transferring to different universities these days, the move makes perfect sense. A recent study conducted by Indiana University’s National Survey of Student Engagement found that at least 50 percent of students have attended more than one college or university.  The transition from one school to another can be challenging, and Kent State is taking a step in the right direction by trying to make the process easier on the students.

Another reason is that the new requirements will place a greater emphasis on mathematics and science ƒ_”- subject areas which many critics suggest are dangerously underemphasized in the American education system. “The lab classes will help students experience the scientific method firsthand,” said Larry Andrews, Honors College Dean and co-chair of the University Requirements Curriculum Committee. “The math requirements will increase logical and numerical thinking, which are excellent mental tools for any profession.”

With all the challenges facing higher education these days, it’s refreshing to see faculty and administrators so willing to change the status quo to help students achieve their goals of earning a college education. The LER changes will go a long way in facilitating the achievement of this goal for many students, and this editorial board is glad they were approved. The state may have mandated the change, but kudos to the university for making it happen.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.