Occidental’s mission is founded on a holistic educational experience that prepares its students for an increasingly complex world. With the rise of the Internet age—and the rise of digital jobs—the world is definitely becoming increasingly complex. But Occidental’s core curriculum is lagging behind.
Occidental’s Core Program—the backbone of the school’s liberal arts education—requires students to take classes across subjects in the fine arts, language study, math, science and the humanities. The Core Program is designed to ensure that students learn the most relevant lessons from essential subjects, yet the Core Program does not currently include a computer science requirement. For Occidental students, who will graduate into a modern, technology-driven workforce, a contemporary liberal arts education needs to include this.
Digital platforms have grown exponentially in recent years, and currently, there are over 130,000 open tech jobs in the United States. But millennials, a population that includes every current student at Occidental, are facing double-digit unemployment rates.
At large, students are not being taught how to program, code and engineer software during their years in college. For the Fall 2015 semester, Occidental only offers six computer science classes, while in comparison the school’s English department is offering thirteen classes.
A liberal arts education is valuable because it fosters critical thinking and effective communication skills across a variety of disciplines, and a degree from Occidental is impressive because it is all encompassing. But a creative young person who also knows how to code will have a leg up in the current job market, and getting a job is, after all, one increasingly important point of college.
In the digital times we live in, Occidental’s liberal arts Core program needs to include technological training, with computer programming already on the fast track to becoming a fundamental skill among the millennial generation.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of the Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental Community