The university will throw out the Diversified Education Curriculum (D.E.C.) we have all grown accustomed to starting next fall and replace it with the new “Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC).”
The changes will only affect students who are enrolling in Fall 2014, so current Stony Brook students’ academics will not be influenced by the new system. They are, instead, grandfathered into the old system.
Incoming Stony Brook students will most definitely have a different experience here than current students. There are endless complaints that the current D.E.C. system forces students to take classes they have no interest in and that waste their time.
I have felt like that as well, and I have only taken a handful of D.E.Cs so far. It is hard to take a class seriously when I know the only reason I have to sit through it is because it is a general education requirement. It is not uncommon to see a pre-med student sitting in the back of a poetry class bored out of their minds because they have zero interest in the topic and needed to fulfill a D.E.C. This makes it hard for students to take their D.E.C. classes seriously because they just want to take the easiest one possible and they do not care if they learn anything from it or not.
SBC is similar to the D.E.C. system, but has some principal differences. There are 10 fundamental areas of learning in the SBC system, including writing, American history and technology, among others, all aimed at demonstrating versatility. They still accept AP credits and college level credits from high schools However, 30 general education credits must be earned while in college.
The SBC system is supposed to be more closely related to the student’s major requirements. The goal is that students have to take fewer courses in order to graduate.
I think the new system is going to be much more effective at engaging students and actually preparing them. I wish I was being affected by the new curriculum because then I would get to take more courses closer to my major in order to satisfy my general education requirements. I think it would motivate me to put more effort into these core classes. I know I am not alone when I say as of now I just want to get credit for them and be done. If they had to do with my major, I would be more interested in them and be willing to put work into it if it was going to benefit me in the long run.
The D.E.C. system can be helpful for those who are undeclared or undecided. It gives them the opportunity to explore various subjects while still making their way toward graduation so they don’t have to feel like they are wasting their time. The SBC system will do much of the same, but make it more engaging for students who already have their major picked out.
The SBC system aims to teach students how to write effectively within their discipline. I think this is one of the most useful tools any student can earn. Each field requires writing, but there are different forms. Science writing is more straightforward and direct, while English majors learn how to write in a completely different format. Writing skills will be used in all careers so having skills tailored to your specific career path will benefit all students.
I would have liked to see this system in place for myself because I know I would have been able to take my general education classes more seriously and maybe actually be interested. As long as SBC courses are directed toward the individual’s major, then I think this system will make students more engaged and ready to learn.