In Depth

PACE Class Curriculum Reevaluated

Lowers attended one term of PACE classes instead of two terms of Life Issues this year to increase felexibility in the Junior and Lower year schedules. The curriculum itself was also re-examined. Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students and PACE program coordinator, said that they “only kept what was really worth preserving from the old curriculum.” The topics were condensed to fit into the time schedule. “We are trying this year to use other open spaces in the existing schedule structure to enhance what is done in the PACE Seminar classes,” he added. Hoyt said, “We want the class to be a less anxiety-filled and less academically demanding atmosphere which can fulfill the knowledge part of the knowledge and goodness equation.” Hoyt said that students need a practical requirement that was flexible, enriching, and engaging. The idea of PACE, formerly Life Issues, originated in 1994, when faculty, including Associate Head of School Rebecca Sykes, decided that Lowers needed time to relax and discuss issues pertinent to Andover life. Although there is a curriculum, PACE classes are meant to be flexible. “If there’s something more important on your mind, we can talk about that in class,” said Hoyt. At the end of class, students complete ‘One-Minute Surveys,’ asking what the most important thing they learned was and for any questions they have, so that instructors can get some feedback on their teaching. The surveys have been fairly effective. After watching the DVD “Race: The Power of Illusion,” one student wrote, “I actually never really knew that race wasn’t biological.” Hoyt said, “[In the past], there are always some people who…like [the class] as an opportunity to get to know one another, and others don’t want to put in the effort.” He said that they are unsure of whether revising the program worked, but it will be evident at the end of the term when the students complete a full evaluation.