Past Event: Do We Need the Core?

Do We Need the Core?

Professors Beatrice Fineschi, Carolyn Johnson, Victor Lima, Larry McEnerney, John Mearsheimer, and James Redfield will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the Core Curriculum from various perspectives. To what extent does the Core have value? What would an ideal core look like? How has the sort of general education the Core offers impacted their own lives and thought (or has it really)? Is it beneficial for a scientist to have read Plato or for a classicist to know biology? These are a few of the questions we hope to address in a free-flowing moderated discussion.

The Core Curriculum is, in many ways, the cornerstone of the College. The principles of liberal arts education that guide it are fundamental to the undergraduate experience here, but, perhaps because they have such a revered place in our "life of the mind," they are almost never seriously discussed. We aim to bridge this gap, and to try to answer the question: Do we need the Core?

Beatrice Fineschi is a Lecturer in Biology and also teaches Core Biology to students not majoring in this field.

Carolyn Johnson is the Administrative Director of Graduate Programs in the Darwinian Sciences Cluster (i.e. Ecology & Evolution, and Evolutionary and Integrative Biology).

Victor Lima is a Senior Lecturer in Economics and the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics. He has taught at UChicago since 2001.

Larry McEnerney is the Director of the Writing Program and teaches Core Humanities and Social Sciences courses.

John Mearsheimer is a Professor in Political Science and has taught at UChicago since 1982.

James Redfield is a Professor in Classics and also one of the founders of the New Collegiate Division.