Wharton faculty members overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes in the school's undergraduate curriculum yesterday, including a foreign language requirement, which are designed to integrate business and humanities education. The vote followed an hour-long debate over implementing a language requirement and limiting the number of courses students can take in any one Wharton department. Faculty also voted to create a distributional requirements system similar to the School of Arts and Sciences General Requirement, and to require students to take four courses in a new sector which combines business and social issues. Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Chairperson Arnold Rosoff said yesterday that faculty members insisted that the curriculum changes include the foreign language requirement although that proposal was not included in the committee's original report. The faculty called on curriculum committee members to reconvene in the fall to determine the specifics of the requirement. The proposals will be implemented in the fall of 1991 and will not affect current students. According to Rosoff, the faculty voted to allow students to take up to eight courses in any one department, going against another committee recommendation that would have prohibited students from taking more than six courses. The associate legal studies professor said that by increasing the limit, faculty members were "waiving the banner of student freedom of choice." "The committee's decision to propose a six-course limit was an attempt to force diversity," Rosoff said. "We thought that students would be too narrow if they could take eight courses in one department." The faculty approved most other changes proposed by the committee, which began work in the fall of 1988. The new curriculum will require students to take four classes in a newly created course area focusing on "The Environment of Business." The courses in the new area combine business topics and current societal issues and will be added to Wharton's current business and general studies requirements. The proposal for creating the new business environment area divides the category into three sectors -- the societal environment, the global environment and the organizational environment. Wharton students would take two out of three courses offered in the societal environment sector, one course in the global environment sector and one course in the organizational environmental sector. They also approved the proposal for the distributional system, which will require students to take two courses in a Society sector, two courses in a History and Tradition area, two courses in an Arts and Letters sector, and one course each in the Physical World, the Living World, and the Formal Reasoning and Logic sectors. Further curricular changes will include reducing the number of required business courses from nine to six. Rosoff said that despite calls from some faculty members to increase the number of courses needed for graduation, the requirement will remain at 36. Rosoff said that the changes will broaden undergraduate education and will not allow students to concentrate solely on business courses. "The curriculum was designed in an attempt to recognize that the Wharton undergraduate program is a pre-professional program," Rosoff said. "What we're aiming for is to give students a good, solid, general education with an emphasis on business -- not a business education. Within the constraints of available resources, the proposal does that." Associate Management Professor Charles Perry last night lauded the committee's attempt to broaden and internationalize the curriculum, but added that he has mixed feelings about the foreign language requirement. "The requirement will give an advantage to students who have had some exposure to foreign language in high schools, [but] the requirement may limit some potentially bright applicants," Perry said.Comments powered by Disqus
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