Students Think Fewer Classes Should Be Required, According to Phillipian Survey

The Phillips Academy administration is considering an overhaul of the diploma requirements needed for graduation. “Many students don’t have time to take many elective courses and delve into a certain area of interest,” commented Dean of Studies Margarita Curtis. In accordance with Phillips Academy’s new strategic plan, faculty are taking a closer look at the academic life of students at Andover. After the faculty meeting this Monday, a lengthy faculty survey was put out by the Dean of Studies office that takes a look at every part of Phillip Academy’s academic program. On Tuesday, the Phillipian sent out its own survey to all current seniors about diploma requirements. One hundred three members of the senior class responded to the survey. The general consensus among responding seniors was that fewer classes should be required at Andover. Sixty-five percent of respondents agreed that Andover requires too many courses. When students were asked to grade the current course requirements at Andover on a scale of one to six, the response average was a 3.99. While students were generally satisfied with the requirements of individual departments, this did not hold true for Music and Theatre Departments. Sixty-four percent of respondents felt that there should be no required courses for Theatre and Dance, and 45 percent of respondents felt that there should be no requirements for Music. In contrast, 90 percent of students felt that the current requirements for the English Department were satisfactory. Eighteen percent of respondents thought that the History and Social Sciences Department should increase its number of required courses, a higher percentage than for any other department. Twenty-seven percent of students felt that the best required class they have taken at Andover was United States History (History 300/310), while 17 percent of respondents felt that the worst required class they have taken at Andover was History 200. In the upcoming months, a six-person taskforce, comprising Instructor in Chemistry Kevin Cardozo, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy Thomas Hodgson, Instructor in Music Peter Warsaw, Chair of the Math Department Suzanne Buckwalter, Dean of Studies Margarita Curtis, and Head of Community Service Chad Green, will take a serious look at the best way to scale back on diploma requirements and increase flexibility in the academic program. “We have to do away with this bottleneck we are in right now,” said Dr. Curtis. “We have to explore possibilities, improve flexibility, and consolidate the program.”