Officials scrapped much of the existing system for tougher requirements. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Beeman announced yesterday a large-scale overhaul of his school's General Requirement, which will now require College students to take more seminar-sized and Wharton classes and also includes a physical education component. Gone, according to Beeman, will be the old system of core courses divided into seven sectors that allowed less adventurous students to skate through with simple history, math and science classes. In its place, the new system will require College students, starting with the Class of 2002, to take a series of science-related seminars during their Penn careers. "The idea of 'rocks for jocks' is a thing of the past," Beeman said, adding that the confusing and "utterly worthless" Science Studies sector was as the top of his personal chopping block. "We have to be in the business of creating a more intellectual environment here at Penn. It's what we're here to do." In order to expose students to a wide range of material, the plan requires students to take four semester-long seminars during their first two years at Penn. Current freshmen will have to satisfy the new requirement during their sophomore and junior years. Subjects for the seminars, to be taught solely by teaching assistants, will include Molecular Genetics, from the Biology Department; Epistemology, from the Philosophy Department; Elementary Thermodynamics, from the Physics Department; and Basic Hermeneutics, from the soon-to-be-created Center for the Study of Hermeneutics. "While this curriculum does limit students' enrollment options, we believe that it provides a better educational experience and will encourage students to think," said Kent Peterman, the College's assistant dean for academic affairs. "This is a leaner and meaner General Requirement." University Provost Robert Barchi -- who spent his summers in college working for construction firms, not consulting firms -- also lobbied successfully for a new Physical Education requirement for the College. "There's a war going on," Barchi said. "Our students have to be fit in their minds and their bodies." Course options for this new requirement will include golf, polo, badminton and -- thanks to InterFraternity Council Executive Vice President Andrew Exum, a College junior, Daily Pennsylvanian columnist and all-around nice guy -- mountain climbing. In the final key to the new system of requirements, the College will require its students to take one course in the Wharton School each year they are enrolled at Penn. Students will be able to choose from Wharton's core courses in the Accounting, Finance, Management and Marketing departments. "Actually, that was Chief Justice John Marshmallow's idea," said Beeman, referring to the large, lovable St. Bernard whose picture graces the walls of his office. "He thought, and I agree, that this will make College students more marketable to potential employers. Between you and me, a degree in Comp Lit will only get you a job at Starbucks." "This can't be a school where students can pull As without even attending class," Beeman added. "This isn't Princeton." Outgoing Wharton Dean Thomas Gerrity refused to comment, other than to call this reporter a "snake." Students said they were upset by the lack of consultation preceding yesterday's announcement. They are planning a rally later this week to protest the changes.Comments powered by Disqus
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