Staff editorial: should UW-Eau Claire require a current events class?

Last week, Sports Editor Nick Erickson wrote an op/ed called “Current issue: students don’t follow global news” in which he voiced his support for a current events class being required for graduation.

While this would expose many students to something they maybe don’t always have time for, there might be some complications making it required.

First of all, one must ask whether or not students would continue to follow current events after their class was over. It’s common for students to try to get as far away as possible from a subject once they take their final exam.

Which raises another question, would it even be possible to test students on current events? The class could be set up to be discussion and essay based. If students were taught to be actively engaged with current events and to read the news critically, it could make a class like this effective.

While some find a required number of credits in an area that doesn’t interest them to be a waste, others like that it forces them to broaden their horizons and perhaps even discover a previously unknown passion.

UW-Eau Claire students are only required to take specific courses in their major and minor. The rest of their required credits come from electives in various departments.

For example, even though students must take nine credits of science  for a bachelor of arts degree, there are several electives ranging from chemistry and biology to anthropology and geology.

A current events course could easily fit into one of the existing general education requirements. It could even be required in the way the wellness credit is required: offer several different options to fulfill it.

Every student would react to a current events course differently. Some students would likely find it interesting and be inspired to continue to follow the news. Others would take the class if it were required, but eventually go back to being uninformed when the class ended.

The bottom line is our generation can’t afford to be out of the loop. If implementing a required current events course is what it takes to get students to pay attention, that’s what the university should do.


Yes: 4 | No: 2 | Abstentions: 1