The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

Editorial: Repetitive class curriculum needs to change

DTH Photo Illustration. A recent study at UNC has shown that anxiety in first -year students has increased in the past year with the pandemic and distance-learning.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. Professors at UNC should revise their curriculum, the Editorial Board argues.

Being a professor is hard. It takes time, hard work and a significant amount of patience. However, there is an argument for the idea that required curriculum — or curriculum as most of us know it — puts professors in a tough spot.

Let’s be honest, a lot of the curriculum at UNC needs a large revamp. We are no longer in the 1980s or even in the early 2000s — so why does it feel like our schooling is from the Stone Age?

In introductory courses, most of the material feels incredibly repetitive. For example, public policy majors learn about cost-benefit analysis in nearly every class, and in the human development and family studies major, students constantly learn about attachment theory. 

Of course, these are important theories and concepts for us to master, but it is a little redundant and a waste of time to relearn them every semester. Reviewing and changing the curriculum could easily solve this issue.

In addition, it seems that the coursework itself needs serious adjustment. Studying outdated materials is not helpful, and while history is important, we cannot be expected to implement theories and ideas from over 20 years ago. This is especially true when most of these materials have been written by old, rich white men. 

By focusing only on knowledge gleaned from the same demographic of people, a whole host of perspectives are being left out. For a university that prides itself in fostering diversity, there appears to be little diversity among our major curriculum. 

While yes, we are all required to have taken diversity courses for our general education requirements, those are not the classes that need updating. The classes that need to be updated the most are the ones that we are taking for our majors and the ones that will likely have applications in our future careers. 

It's frustrating and ridiculous to be paying thousands of dollars and putting in hours of our time on subjects that we already learned about in high school — and then learn again and again over our four years at UNC.

People attend college because of their desire to learn — whether it be to gain employment following graduation or just because they are curious. How are we supposed to learn and gain a cutting-edge education when it feels like a lot of us remain in limbo due to the repetitive curriculum?

While some professors are definitely passionate about what they are teaching, and their lesson plans reflect that, there are also a lot of bad eggs. The majority of our classes fall under the issues described above, and the majority is what we will remember most at the end of our time at UNC. 

Faculty and professors need to come together for a massive overhaul. While individual professors could work to rewrite their syllabuses, that will not be enough. Professors need to work with one another to ensure that we are not just repeating the same classes (and concepts) over again. 

With a bit of collaboration and teamwork, there is no reason that UNC’s curriculum and class offerings couldn't reflect one of its most important values: diversity. 


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