Stanford releases recommendations to revise undergraduate education

January 26, 2012

Yesterday Stanford University unveiled a set of 55 recommendations to put a priority on teaching undergraduate students a set of skills on top of requiring them to take courses in specific fields. The proposed changes, described as emphasizing "ways of thinking, ways of doing," are in keeping with a growing emphasis among PSE institutions on core skills rather than on specific disciplinary content. The Stanford committee that drafted the report identified 7 skills areas as important for students: aesthetic and interpretive inquiry; scientific analysis; formal and quantitative reasoning (2 courses in each); as well as one course in engaging difference, one in moral and ethical reasoning, and one in creative expression. The recommendations also support the idea that first-year students be exposed to a range of learning environments, including lectures, discussion sessions, and intimate seminars. The recommendations would require freshmen to take seminar courses with senior faculty members, which is currently optional. Stanford News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)