For some time now, a college degree has been treated as an aspirational stepping-stone—to the great job, the generous salary, the nice house. Pick a major, knock back the required courses, score a job in that field. Somewhere along the way, the idea of the globally minded, ready-for-anything, curiosity-driven student receded into the shadows. But isn’t the path that branches preferable to the narrow one?
We’ve wrestled with our own history in this area. Over the decades, the independence of each of the 17 schools and colleges that make up BU spawned 17 different curricula, 17 loosely connected silos. In various parts of campus, we were producing talented engineers, chemists, artists, theologians, journalists, yes, but couldn’t they—and shouldn’t they—come together to be more than that?
Uprooting entrenched systems is no small task, but we’re pleased to announce that last year, after 18 months of study and dozens of community meetings, driven primarily by our faculty, we introduced a vision for a new University-wide general education program aimed at our entire undergraduate community. The proposed BU Hub was approved by the University Council, and the significant work of implementing the new program is under way and is slated to go into effect with freshmen entering in fall 2018. From the moment they step on campus, in addition to their majors and minors, we’ll be calling on our students to grapple with increased complexity, diversity, change, and the eternal issues facing human culture.
“The decision by the University Council to adopt this proposal is a tremendous step forward for BU,” says University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison. “It signals a bold, transformative move to further strengthen an already excellent undergraduate education program.”
Through both coursework and co-curricular programs, including substantive interaction with the arts, BU students across all undergraduate schools and colleges will gain even more savvy working with a variety of their peers who bring different experiences and skills to the table. By the time they toss their mortarboards at graduation, they’ll be ready to make an impact not just in narrow spaces, but out in the wide world.