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Inquiring Minds: The 4×4 plan should primarily benefit students

Despite all the discussion that has occurred about whether to switch to a 4×4 curriculum plan, there are still some serious questions that need to be answered before the decision is made.

Proponents of the plan claim that the switch will allow students to focus more on each class by having fewer courses each semester and more work in each class. At the same time, professors will have more time to research and write as their teaching loads are lessened.

But how much deeper will students actually dig? Students are slackers. As much as we may wish we would study, giving us less time in class will just give us more time to waste.

It appears to us that students would not learn any more than they do under the current 3×5 system. The truth is, only a very small percentage of Eastern students will actually do more work if the choice is left up to them.

Class time is inherently more valuable than out-of-class time, anyway. It’s a time for new material to be presented and a time for questions to be asked. It’s where knowledge is passed from teacher to student. It can’t simply be replaced by another paper or project. If it could, we wouldn’t need class at all.

All this means that the school should not be moving to keep professors out of the classroom.

Our faculty are not here primarily to do research. They are here to teach. A small liberal arts college, as Eastern still is, is a place where students come to learn. It is about the students, and about their education, not about faculty members’ need to be published.

It is wonderful when professors are able to do significant research or write on important topics. But while they are professors, that work should not come first. It should certainly not come at the expense of the students they are paid to instruct.

The four-credit system should be adopted only when we can be sure that students will be the ones benefiting from it.

Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.

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