Campus / News / January 25, 2012

Feelings mixed about foundations

In order for Knox students to graduate, they must fulfill the foundations requirements, which include one course each in the arts, history and social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences and humanities courses. Students must pass a foundations course in each of these fields; courses that meet the foundations requirement can be found in the Knox College Catalogue.

Even though every student must take a class in each field, they go about fulfilling this requirement in different ways.

Freshman Conor Krause plans to major in studio art with a possible double major in English literature. When it comes to fulfilling the foundations requirements, she does not “feel it’s that bad,” but she would rather take the classes in the field that she is interested in.

Now in her second term of her first year, she has already taken her requirement for humanities and arts because of her academic interests.

Another freshman, Emy Alvarez, plans to follow the pre-med route and possibly major in biochemistry. She already has a thought of how she will meet the foundations requirement.

Alvarez plans to divide her work. She said she will take “one fundamental and two of my interests so that I cannot forget what I want.”

Since there are only four foundation requirements, Alvarez plans to take the courses in each respective field at the end of each year because it will be less stressful for her.

As a student who is interested in science, she is not looking forward to meeting the history and social sciences requirement because it does not catch her attention. Her strategy of picking a history class that meets the foundation requirement is to ask her friends and see which they recommend.

There are also students who did not consciously think about the required foundation courses, but who have already taken them all or are almost done with them.

Junior Joshua Gunter, an art history and economics double major, completed most of his foundation requirements during his freshman year at Knox. He says that he did not think about it, but that he picked a bunch of classes that he just wanted to take.

In fact, he says that his counselor joked that he “was in danger of moving too quickly.”

He believes, though, that most Knox students dread meeting the math and science requirement.

This requirement is the one which Krause is not looking forward to. In fact, she plans to take a math or science course at her community college over the summer to save money.

She says that she would rather “focus on my major here” because “I want the good classes here and those that I don’t care about somewhere else.”

Senior Audrey Todd, an international relations major and gender and women’s studies minor, has already completed her foundations requirements. She completed the history and social sciences requirement easily because of her major, but put off the arts requirement because she did not feel she was very good at art.

Todd agrees that most Knox students are weary of the math and science requirement. She said she “was really glad that I did well enough on my math ACT to not have to take math here.”

Although there are some fields that students avoid, many agree that the foundations requirements are a good part of the school’s curriculum.

Todd said, “I don’t necessarily think someone shouldn’t graduate if they don’t pass,” but she does think that it is a “good idea to take different classes.” For Todd, it “contributes to one of the strengths of being a liberal arts student.”

Lyana Sun Han


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