Vital Signs

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

At the heart of the most recent political correctness controversy at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where I am a graduate student, is the proposed "Great Books Certificate Program." The program, first presented to the Course and Curriculum Committee last November, is the brainchild of a group of 23 professors headed by Dr. David Mulroy of the Department of Classics and Hebrew Studies. The goal of the program is "to provide guidance to students seeking a rigorous liberal arts education. It provides an incentive for such students to select courses that traditionally compose the nucleus of a liberal arts education and are still considered especially valuable by a large number of faculty members, i.e., courses in foreign language, mathematics, the history of Western civilization, and in the great books, i.e., original works widely regarded to be of fundamental importance within various disciplines." Other certificate programs exist for students completing a voluntary regimen of courses dealing with various racial and ethnic minorities.

While "Great Books" programs like this one were once common in the liberal arts, many faculty members at UWM see no merit in them. This view manifested itself in the three-to-two vote against recommending the program to the Associate Dean's Office for approval. Predictably, a key point of contention, in the words of Professor Campbell Tatham of the English Department,...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here