Core Curriculum (Columbia College)

Core Curriculum (Columbia College)

Core Curriculum (Columbia College)

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The Core Curriculum was originally developed as the main curriculum used by Columbia University's Columbia College. It began in 1919 with "Contemporary Civilization," about the origins of western civilization. It became the framework for many similar educational models throughout the United States. Later in its history, especially in the 1990s, it became a heavily contested form of learning, seen by some as an appropriate foundation of a liberal arts education, and by others as a tool of promoting a Eurocentric or Anglocentric society by solely focusing on the works of dead white men. Recent controversy over the "Core" has been related to whether visiting artists to Columbia should have their works added to the syllabus, as was the case with a play by Václav Havel in Fall 2006. A major addition to the core was made in the 2000s, when a science literacy course was added.


Original Intentions

US universities, including Harvard, had seen a trend towards more elective programs during the late 19th century. Columbia's president Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard supported this trend, but his stance lost ground at the College over the following decades. Previously, a liberal arts education...
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