New Gen Ed reqs almost spot-on

This IU alumna’s heart jumped for joy when it read about the proposed general education requirements for 2011 (“General Ed requirements to change beginning in summer 2011,” July 8).

As freshmen in 1952, it was good to take a deep breath and get a handle on the college scene and expectations before we jumped into the fray of our majors, which we were told we didn’t have to choose until our sophomore year.

The ivory tower was still pure: catering to a minority that believed in a liberal education and learning for learning’s sake.

The university of today is much more pragmatic, certainly, but a liberal education seems as important in today’s complicated, inter-global one, a necessary common ground for understanding ourselves and others.

The one thing that might be missing, of course, is the course every freshman took in the early 1950s: public speaking, a course taught by Lee Norvelle, then-chairman of the theater and speech department.

Granted, his department and its teaching assistants profited from the requirement, but so did the future of rhetoric and discourse in the United States.

The babel we witness on television 24/7 could be improved if only some of the talking heads stopped and thought more about their presentation and performance and purpose.

I recently ran across an article that encouraged appropriate “use of the voice” for young students — calmer, softer tones and a willingness to listen. The young ones would be way ahead of many of their elders if they managed that.

Anna K. Wiley
IU class of 1956

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