SFS creating panel to review Map of the Modern World changes

When the School of Foreign Service decided to change the Map of the Modern World curriculum and replace professor Keith Hrebenak with former SFS-Qatar Dean James Reardon-Anderson, SFSers weren’t too happy about it.  The SFS Academic Council heard the protests and decided to investigate the changes.

According to SFSAC member and principle investigator Josh Mogil (SFS ’11), the group did a thorough study of the new and old versions of the class and reviewed “hundreds” of comments from alumni, students and professors.  The report they issued concluded that, “In a school as demanding as the SFS, students must be introduced to a multidisciplinary worldview about all of the forces shaping the world around us. Anything less will not effectively support students in their studies.”

Chief among the SFSAC’s recommendations was to restore the original curriculum:

Our first proposal is to reinstate the former Map Program with its curriculum intact until such time that a new program can be further developed and carefully reviewed. After carefully analyzing the proposed curriculum for the suggested Spring 2010 course, we feel it is too limited in scope (the role of physical geography) and does not adequately serve as a replacement for the original Map Program.

We also feel that the passing rate (65 students compared to the previous 3 students) from the exemption exam demonstrates that this class will be easily passed by many in the SFS and will not contribute to new learning.

When the SFS School Council met last week to review the SFSAC’s report, they did not agree to the curriculum reversal. They did, however, accept the SFSAC’s recommendation to create a panel to review the new version of the class and “possibly integrate some of the elements who’s removal was previously suggested,” according to Mogil.  The SFSAC will also advise Reardon-Anderson on the selection of a group of students to “review and oversee” the class this spring.

Mogil writes in an e-mail:

We are glad that we were able to effectively represent the masses of students protesting the initial curriculum change, and the process of that change. We hope that in the future, the SFS administration will be open to discussions and reviews before it makes an important alteration in the education of its students.

Check out the SFSAC’s full report after the jump!

SFS Academic Council Report on Map of the Modern World changes

Photo from Flickr user Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL, used under a Creative Commons license.

2 Comments on “SFS creating panel to review Map of the Modern World changes

  1. Act now, ask for student input later.

    Hell, for Georgetown, asking for student input at all is a huge step forward.

  2. 65 students tested out of map this year?!? that’s more than the number who took the exemption exam sober my freshman year. restore the exemption exam to the exercise in futility it should be!

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