Quest program should keep emphasis on humanities

Story by The Baker Orange Editorial Board

Quest classes sometimes lack consistency.

One of the things we students particularly love about Baker is its desire to make the student experience as fast and efficient as possible, all while still providing the skills and experiences we will need as adults in the professional world. While we value Baker’s willingness to change in an attempt to better student experience, what happens when that change is not necessarily for the better?

Faculty Senate is considering a proposal to alter the Quest program requirements. Students would no longer take QS212, and the linked course requirements would be relaxed to prevent restrictive schedule conflicts and unnecessary stress. A new Quest course, SN205: Environmental Justice, would be introduced with its focus on the relationship between human behavior and ecosystems.

Though we recognize the need for change in Quest, there are several problems with the current plan. By eliminating QS212, not only are students losing a humanities-based course, but we’re now missing out on an opportunity to develop self-discovery skills only achievable by studying the humanities, arts and our nature as humans.

Humanities courses are designed to present the world with its vast challenges and problems and push us to make our own opinions about what has happened and is happening around us. By taking the humanities, Baker students are exploring human nature while developing critical thinking and communication skills valued by the Quest program.

As well as being a valuable way of sharpening our tools of inflection, having the QS212 focus on the humanities only betters the Quest program as a whole. In QS212, the main force behind the course is that students further ideas and expression. Since humanities courses delve into the ideas and forms of expression of societies and cultures across the globe, what better focus can there be?

Not only would we lose valuable life skills, but the loss of writing and oral speaking practice could be detrimental to future academic success. Some of our primary writing, reading and presentation skills are developed during the QS212 and its link, and losing that practice bodes ill for future papers and presentations.

In addition to the neccessary exploration and communication benefits, QS212 has played a large part in making study abroad possible for many students on campus.

Harlaxton is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Study Abroad program. The way things are now, QS212 and its link are easily transfered as the required British Studies course Harlaxton students must take. Without the course tranfer, students deciding whether or not to study abroad may fear that there simply isn’t enough time to take BU classes and still study abroad.

Quest experiences differ from student to student as professors and courses vary in subject and workload. It’s obvious there are a few problems with Quest as some students continue to struggle to arrange their schedules in order to meet requirements. Though administrators and faculty are doing the right thing by suggesting change, losing the valuable skills in QS212 causes more problems than it solves.