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Proposed changes to Mills College General Education Requirements

Mills Hall. (Photo by Lisa Berguist)
Mills Hall. (Photo by Lisa Berguist)

In a town hall meeting on March 11, the Curriculum Transformation Task Force, composed of a representative from each department, gathered in the Graduate School of Business to discuss possible changes to General Education requirements at Mills. Students were invited to the event to share their input on evaluating and transforming the current General Education requirements.

The meeting began with an introduction from task force co-chair Ajuan Mance, who explained how the task force was revisiting, with an eye towards redesigning, the Mills General Education curriculum.

“As we are coming up with a new vision of that [General education curriculum],” Mance said. “One of the things we thought was important to do early on in our process is to get a sense of how those people who are living it–from the students’ side–experience this curriculum.”

A series of questions concerning the Mills curriculum followed.

Senior Shanna Hullaby, along with  members of the Black Women’s Collective, proposed a new ethnic studies requirement that addresses systems of oppression in American culture and cultures throughout the world. This requirement which contained a list of student learning outcomes, was passed out at the meeting.

“Being in a place that’s supposed to be focused on social justice and inclusivity, I think in a lot of areas we are lacking,” Hullaby said.

Senior Katherine Allen, who is double-majoring in Mathematics and English Literature, suggested that a second language be implemented into every major.

“I think language should be something that is incorporated into every major, not just the social sciences,” Allen said. “As a mathematician I’m planning on going to graduate school and a lot of graduate programs require you to have reading fluency in at least one other language by the end of your second year.”

First-year Pele Warnock feels that not requiring a second language in college relays a much bigger problem.

“I find it to be a huge issue that we rely on English; the reason other people learn English so much is because we’re refusing to learn their language,” Warnock said. 

Concluding the meeting, task force member David Bernstein of the music department, had many positive remarks.

“I was impressed by the students,” Bernstein said. “I wish there were more students that came, but I thought it was remarkable that students are thinking along the same lines that we are.”

Ajuan Mance also felt that the meeting went very well.

“The students have a lot of wisdom to share and it worked exactly the way that we hoped,” said Mance. “We learned a lot about how people experience the curriculum that we could not possibly know from our end.”