In a few days (or weeks — hang in there first years!), each of us will select classes for next spring. You might be searching for classes for your major or perhaps a University requirement. You may even be looking for classes that are simply engaging, regardless of whether or not the course fulfills a University requirement. Whatever you are trying to find, these classes will shape your academic experience for an entire semester.
At a university like Notre Dame that emphasizes broad scholarship, we study widely and deeply. Our coursework is not limited to a single major or a single college, and we are lucky to have an environment that supports a variety of academic pursuits. The academic environment doesn’t exist simply because we have classes — it is created through an intentional process to shape our learning experience.
Many groups, including several with significant student input, are charged with fostering this environment. Currently, changes to two major components of our academic environment are being discussed: the Core Curriculum and the Academic Code of Honor.
The Core Curriculum Review is meant to explore the intersection of the liberal arts and research, to reconsider and refresh the perspectives we should be exposed to, and to identify and equip students with the necessary skill sets to be successful, regardless of their field of study. The Code of Honor focuses on how we hold one another to high standards of conduct. Common to both of them, however, is that students play a vital role in the implementation of the changes.
As student leaders, faculty and staff continue to evaluate these important changes in Notre Dame’s academia, we certainly welcome and encourage you to give feedback. But, regardless of these changes, we hope you’ll continue to converse with your peers and mentors. Finally, we invite you to take the second half of this semester to invest in your current relationships and to create new relationships. The academic environment is an exercise in dialogue, and you are an indispensable contributor to that conversation.