The Intellectual Heritage program, a writing intensive requirement for all Temple undergraduates, has been a part of the Temple curriculum for many years, but in 2008 the program is changing from Intellectual Heritage to the Mosaic.
The Mosaic will include only eight texts, be more culturally diverse, and will not be in chronological order, according to Gary D. Pratt, associate director of the Intellectual Heritage program.
The change from Intellectual Heritage to the Mosaic will occur as early as Summer 2008, but is scheduled for Fall 2008. This is the first time the Intellectual Heritage program will change, Pratt said.
“It hasn’t been tinkered with too much. There have only been minor shifts in the reading,” he said.
The Intellectual Heritage program is focused on Western texts like Socrates, the Bible, and Charles Darwin with occasional non-western texts like the Bhagavad-Gita and Koran. The course covers two semesters, and both are writing intensive. Teachers also choose most of the texts.
The Mosaic will be more standardized with more requirements and will not be writing intensive. The Intellectual Heritage program stood on its own, but the Mosaic will be apart of the new General Education curriculum, which was started last spring.
The new course will also cover two semesters, but the texts will be more culturally diverse, Pratt said. It will consist of eight texts, four required texts and four chosen by the instructor from a short list, and a few texts will hopefully be “unfamiliar” to students, Pratt said.
The new course has not been written in stone and is only in its development stage. Some of the old texts considered for the Mosaic are The Koran, John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Plato’s Republic, Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and Sappho’s poetry. And some new texts in consideration are James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, Bartolome de las Casas’ Destruction of the Indies, Edward Jenner’s Vaccination against Smallpox, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
The Mosaic is meant for students to learn a little differently than Intellectual Heritage, according to the Mosaic project teaching report, a document describing the program. At the end of the course students will have read unfamiliar texts instead of just the Western classics, and make connections across disciplines, history, and cultures, as stated in the report. The report also stated that students also should be able to discuss literature.
The report alludes the Mosaic to learning music. They want a student to be able to “sight read” literatures, understand it, and appreciate it.
There has been some controversy surrounding the Intellectual Heritage program. According to several students, a professor can make or break a class.
“My IH teacher has clouded my opinion of IH,” said Lauren Sunnie McPherson, a sophomore in the Fox School of Business.
Professors teach differently, one might make students write five essays, while another might just ask students to keep a journal. So a student can pass the course with one teacher, but fail with another.
The other issue is the many texts involved in the program. One course can cover 10 different texts in a semester.
“We realize there had to be changes. Students get confused with many texts” said Dr. Pratt.
Some students also find it irrelevant to their major.
“It sucks,” said Kevin Hekan, a freshman biology major, “and it’s non-relevant to what I want to do.”
But there are some students who find the course useful.
“It’s informative; there are different interesting pieces of literature and religious texts. The objective is to broaden people’s perspectives. I enjoy reading all the different texts and it helps me,” said Emily Daniels, a kinesiology and Spanish sophomore.
Some students are simply pleased with the university’s attempt to change the curriculum.
“It’s a good idea,” McPheson said. “I really like the idea of it being culturally diverse.”
Kamilah Guiden can be reached at Kamilah.firstname.lastname@example.org.