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SBP Candidates Explain Goals for UNC Curriculum

Laurie McNeil, a physics professor and chairwoman of the curriculum review steering committee, said several subcommittees are making recommendations to the steering committee.

"We're advancing quite rapidly," McNeil said of the review process, which began in fall 2000.

The steering committee will compile a final list of recommendations this semester, which will be voted on by the Faculty Council in the fall. If any changes to the curriculum are approved, they will probably affect the incoming freshman class of 2004, McNeil said.

While next year's student body president will not have a vote on the issue, McNeil said the Faculty Council would welcome student leaders' input.

But the kind of input the faculty receives on the curriculum could vary greatly depending on which student body president candidate is elected.

Write-in candidate Correy Campbell said he would strive to make sure each student has a good understanding of each class and what the professor expects of them.

Although Campbell said he thinks too few classes are offered to fill the perspective requirements, perspectives are still a valuable part of the curriculum.

"A liberal education opens up your mind to the entire world," he said. "You can sample from each plate and better decide where you want to go and what you want to do."

Write-in candidate Nathan Katzin said he thinks a student body president can only be effective on a limited number of issues, so he would focus on progressive energy reform rather than curriculum review. "I would get the runner-up and everyone else who has been campaigning to deal with issues like that," Katzin said.

Candidate Will McKinney said that if he is elected, he will encourage the committee to modernize the curriculum.

"They need to root out those courses that haven't been taught since our parents were here," he said, claiming that there are courses listed in the directory of classes that have not been taught in years.

McKinney said there should be many classes that fulfill each perspective. "I want to be sure there's a large degree of freedom for students," he said.

Candidate Bennett Mason said the curriculum review process was not a big topic on campus this year because issues like the tuition increase overshadowed it.

Mason said he would try to increase student interest in the review process. "I would basically hit the beat and get out there and see what students want," he said.

Mason said he didn't enjoy having to fulfill his own perspectives, but he still believes they should be retained. "I think they give incoming students a good feel for what's out there," he said.

Candidate Brad Overcash also said he thinks it is important to ensure that students take different types of classes.

"That's one of the best things about this university," he said. "You can come here, and you can take perspectives outside of what you believe you want to major in at the time, and you can get a good general education."

Overcash said he would like to see issues like grade inflation incorporated into discussions about the curriculum, and he will encourage professors to discuss the grading policy on the first day of class.

Write-in candidate Charlie Trakas said he feels the curriculum should be open to debate. "I feel cheated because I don't feel I learn as much as I could by only taking six to seven courses in my major," Trakas said. "But they help me become more well-rounded."

Candidate Fred Hashagen said he believes students should earn credit for taking graduate entrance exams, such as the GRE or the LSAT, and for participating in work-study programs.

"I want to make sure that there's an hour of credit to prepare students for graduate entrance exams and work-study programs," Hashagen said. "It's not fair that students who have to work to come to this university lose time to study and have an automatic handicap."

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Hashagen also said he wants to eliminate any perspectives in a student's major and to reinstate the Carolina Course Review on the Internet.

Candidate Jen Daum said there has been a recommendation by a curriculum review subcommittee to have any student who is enrolled at the University for more than 10 semesters only be allowed to graduate with one major. She said she would strongly oppose this requirement.

Daum also said she will take polls, create a Web page and hold a forum to solicit student opinion on the review process. She said she supports the tradition of a liberal arts education with required classes from many different subject areas. "I think it's important to make sure that we continue to get a breadth of courses."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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