Core—A Love/Hate Relationship

Addressing the “Hate” Towards the Core Program and Giving it Some “Love”

Redeemer prides itself on being a liberal arts and science university with a unique core program, that “integrates a student’s faith and learning”. Students are required to take ten interdisciplinary courses so that they are “studying deeply in their major and studying broadly across disciplines” (Redeemer’s website).

For many individuals, the idea of participating in classes outside of their area of interest is daunting. Some students have expressed confusion when asked about the core program, saying: “I don’t really get the point of it, I just don’t know if I’ll ever use anything that I am learning in these classes.” Others have expressed boredom and frustration, adding, “I don’t like doing readings or listening to lectures that aren’t related to my major, and sometimes the only reason I go to class is so I can graduate”. 

While it might be hard to face, the core program is undeniably here to stay! How then, can we learn to love the next years of our degree? A fourth year student at Redeemer offers this advice, “Don’t listen to all those people who tell you core is bad. It totally depends on the person and the course. You can learn a lot from certain core courses, I know I did and I really enjoyed it. Some courses will not be up your alley and that’s totally okay. Just try and approach them with an open mind.” 

As a fourth year student, I stand by my classmate’s advice. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I’ve been making more and more connections between my major and the big themes and ideas taught in core. By engaging in classes that do not fall directly under my major, I’m learning how interrelated subjects are beneficial in becoming a “well-rounded” person. 

One of the requirements of the core curriculum is to complete a capstone project—a group assignment in which you work with CityLab Hamilton to address a practical issue alongside students from other disciplines. This project ties together everything you have learned from the past four years by requiring you to draw on the knowledge and skills you have been developing throughout your undergrad! In order to get the most out of this project, I believe that you have to be attentive and engaged in your other core courses. 

As students, it’s important to recognize that this program is designed to challenge the ways we think and learn. Let’s have an open mind and a willingness to engage as we learn to love the core to its very core!