GAR? More like ARG(H)

The College is rethinking its curriculum after students voiced frustrations.

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A statue of John Muhlenberg with a skull and crossbones eyepatch Photo Courtesy of the Scott Adams Family Website

Students have long been frustrated with the number of General Academic Requirements (GARs) they are responsible for completing during their time at Muhlenberg. Needing to complete 18 GARs in addition to majors and minors requires an incredible amount of mental and scheduling gymnastics that makes students more concerned with completing all their graduation requirements than learning. In light of these issues, Keri Colabroy, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and co-director of the biochemistry program, facilitated a conversation representing a task force to re-envision the Muhlenberg curriculum.  

In a meeting with members of the Student Government Association (SGA), Colabroy stated, “The College has done some research and it shows that the curriculum is intimidating and not attractive to prospective students… we have heard about your struggles with the GARs.” The new task force is currently coming up with a number of different options to replace the current GARs and is working closely with faculty to decide which option will ultimately be the best. Their goal is to streamline the GARs and increase flexibility. While the final decision as to how and when the curriculum will be updated is still uncertain, the College is very excited about the work they are doing and believe that it will help future students thrive and prepare them for a successful future. 

Students also weighed in with their thoughts on the current GAR model and how they would like to see it replaced in the future. Caleb Wakefield ‘25 stated “I think the amount of GARs is pretty overwhelming. I know that it is a liberal arts school so we need some science, some math [and] some performing, but it’s especially difficult to get those classes in addition to getting the classes for your major. A good change would be either less GAR requirements or putting GARs in the major. For example, I am a history major and a history of science would be helpful.” 

SGA Recording Secretary and President-elect Jake Forstein ‘24 had a similar view, saying “I think right now the number of GARs is overwhelming considering it is over half of the credits we need to graduate. I also think other things that aren’t GARs like PPD that don’t give you any credits [don’t help]. Overall I would like to see changes to that, whether that be more flexibility in terms of what counts towards a GAR or a new system entirely.”

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Matthew '24 is a philosophy and political thought major on the pre-law track.

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