Let’s Get to the Core of It

Theodora Helgason ’22
Staff Writer

The Core Curriculum is a defining feature of a Scripps student’s academic career and is a shared experience between all the students at the college.

“Our students say the program is one of their most valuable experiences, calling it ‘eye-opening’ and ‘mind-expanding,’” according to the Scripps College website. The website describes the Core program as “the hallmark of a Scripps education.”

But what do Scripps students really think of the Core Curriculum? The Scripps Voice reached out to 22 Scripps students for their anonymous feedback on the program.

When asked about their favorite semester of Core, the majority (63.6 percent) of students chose Core 2, with Core 3 following with 31.8 percent of votes. Only one student (4.5 percent) chose Core 1.

When asked why they enjoyed their favorite Core class, 11 students responded that it was because of the professor. Five students responded that they enjoyed the content of the class the most.

One of the goals of the Core Curriculum, and Core 1 in particular, is to prepare Scripps students for the style and level of college courses. However, when asked how much Core prepared them for their other college courses on a Likert scale from one to five, one being “it didn’t prepare me at all” and five being “it prepared me a lot,” eight students responded that it prepared them a two out of five. Six students chose “it didn’t prepare me at all.” No student felt that Core prepared them a lot.

Overall, Scripps students are not satisfied with their Core classes. When asked on a scale from one to five how satisfied they were with their Core experience, one being “not satisfied” and five being “very satisfied,” the majority of students chose a two out of five. Four students chose “not satisfied” and just one student chose “very satisfied.”

Scripps students have suggestions on how to improve the Core program. Most students suggested shortening the three-semester program to one or two semesters.

Six students suggested that the Core program would be improved if their professors were both more interested in teaching the class and qualified to assess student progress. “Get professors who are at least a little interested in the subject,” said one student. Another student recommended that if the professors were of disciplines like English, Writing, and Philosophy that they would “be able to grade the papers more equally and fairly across the board.” A third student called for “fewer professors on power trips.”

Four students suggested making Core 1 more similar to Writing 50, a writing-intensive course that is no longer taught at Scripps as of 2019 but was formerly taught during first years’ first semesters at Scripps.

One student wrote: “Writing 50 was a solid program and it should be brought back.”

“Core 1 tries to shove as many social issues as it can into one class and only has time for a very shallow discussion of each,” one student responded. Five students felt that Core 1 was too broad and should be focused to improve student discussions and learning.

Another shared sentiment was that Core’s purpose is to teach white students about racism.

“The class functions as a racism 101 course for white women,” one student wrote. Another student suggested, “make it less like a crash course that teaches rich white women about race for the first [time] in their life.”

Overall, the survey showed dissatisfaction with the Core program and particularly with Core 1; when asked to rate their Core experience on a Likert scale of one to five, 63.6 percent of students voted that their experience was a one or two. Scripps students want the Core program to be shortened and feel that the courses themselves could be improved with more focused content and more engaged professors.