A year ago, an updated version of the Intellectual Life Report, released by the Committee on Intellectual Life, stated the shortcomings of the academic atmosphere at Georgetown University. On Friday, March 28, the Executive Faculty passed a set of resolutions that called for grading distribution guidelines and a recommended 30-hour study week for all students taking five three-credit classes.

The report deplored the loss of interest in academia among Georgetown students and pinpointed the heart of the problem as the student who skates through college with B’s by doing the bare minimum of work. According to the report, the committee fears that the faculty “are not sufficiently challenging.” This kind of thinking explains the committee’s recommendations, which aim to make Georgetown students work more and harder.

The fact is, however, that Georgetown students already work hard. A walk past Lauinger at any time of day, and especially during finals week, is a simple testament to that fact. Georgetown students’ “aversion” to schoolwork can instead be explained by a myriad of factors, one of which is that perhaps Hoyas have too much work. Georgetown students also tend to be very busy: Many hold time-consuming but nonetheless valuable internships or jobs outside of class. If a Georgetown student is reluctant to complete an 80-page reading of mostly filler material after three lectures and a shift at The Corp, is that really that hard to understand?

Though the commission has accurately defined a serious problem that affects the Georgetown community, the recent recommendations are not conducive to solving any factor of this multifaceted dilemma and instead would only create new problems or exacerbate old ones. The recommendations’ fixation on quantitative measures, while an admirable attempt to systematically bring academic livelihood back to Georgetown, ultimately do not reach the core issues that cause Georgetown students to approach their studies with intellectual zeal.

One solution, similar to the reforms proposed by former George Washington University President Stephen Trachtenberg, would be to create a system in which students take courses that are more intensive but fewer in number. Under the current system, students who choose to take intensive courses such as Arabic are penalized for doing so, because although those courses count for twice as much credit and require significantly more work, they only count toward one of a student’s mandatory 38 course minimum for graduation. In order to meet this quota, many students in intensive courses are forced to fill their schedules with unwanted courses, often at the expense of their other work.

The changes sparked by the report could be a strong, positive force in the continual betterment of our university. It is important that faculty and administrators are concerned with the academic growth of students. However, a more intense fight for the coveted 4.0 would only drive the Georgetown community further away from what any top university should truly desire: a student body that has a genuine passion for learning.

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