Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Very keen 

Cold Spring Shops reports that his school is reviewing Principles of Microeconomics for their general education program and find it missing just one thing.
The committee thought that, givent he nature of the subject matter, much more could be done with multiculturalism. If this is being done, could you document that, and if not, could you explain why?

Multiculturalism is one of the things the committee has been looking at most closely. It is my understanding that the various curriculum committees on campus have been very keen to incorporate multiculturalism as broadly as feasible across the university curriculum, and especially in the general education program.
Stephen suggests looking at their general education guidelines. Our general education courses must meet five criteria:
  1. The course must provide an opportunity for the student to develop competence in basic academic skills. Little doubt that principles of economics does this, incorporating everything from math to history to psychology.
  2. The course must provide the student with a background in severeal disciplines while demonstrating the inherent interrelatedness of traditional disciplines.Check.
  3. The course must develop and extend the student's capacity for inquiry and critical judgment.Check 2.
  4. The course must promote the student's involvement in the examination of human values.It's harder to convince people of this, particularly when your course focuses on markets and exchange. But it's really human values that are being exchanged, and property rights are human rights. Those prone to describe market transactions in terms of alienation are hard to convince.
  5. The course must afford the student a realistic appreciation of the lives of people from cultures and situations other than those of the student.Now luckily we don't have to meet five of five here at SCSU, because this one would give us real trouble, and this seems to be what poor Stephen has to deal with. But I again come back to the fact so wonderfully expressed by Walter Williams several years ago that in a market society love of your neighbor isn't important. You only need to serve them, and have institutions that give you the sovereignty to expect compensation that you value in return.