Hayden’s Hopes: Ideas for 2012 and Beyond

Published Feb 2, 2012 in the Davidsonian

I’m going to continue this week by keeping up a high pace of ideas in hopes that one or more of them will catch on with time left in the semester to make them happen. Please contact me if you have an idea you think would be appropriate for this column!

We have a lot of really talented visual artists at this school, but sometimes the VAC feels just a bit far away. The innovative exhibition of Annie Temmink’s senior project last year (remember the stretched pantyhose in the Union?) got me thinking. Why don’t we have moderated rotational spaces for student art? There’s no doubt that the college is dedicated to art—we have great facilities and great collections—but on the main campus, almost none of the art is by students. Putting student art in central spaces like the Library, Union, and Chambers would help publicize their hard work and earn them the recognition they deserve. Plus, it would just be pleasant to have more art around.

In addition, I’d like to suggest that Davidson could benefit from some common art space—somewhere anyone could paint. I’d propose the back side of Commons, on the ground level. There’s a nice round wall. It could also function as advertising space.

All departments obviously have a core curriculum that all majors are required to complete. I’d like to see qualifying examinations that encompass all this knowledge as part of graduation requirements. In order to qualify for your major, you should have to demonstrate proficiency in the fundamental principles of your discipline. It’s that simple. This is more difficult to envision for some majors than others—if you’re a biology major specializing in microbiology, you probably haven’t taken much coursework on ecology, for example. But I think we could agree there are fundamental principles all graduates with a biology degree should have to know. I’ve just been surprised too often to find that English majors don’t know their literary theories or anthropology majors can’t define positivism, and so on.

I’ve been to talks on campus that were very poorly attended. Sometimes this is the result, very simply, of a poorly planned or publicized lecture. But very often there aren’t very many people there because they are elsewhere, at another talk. The vast number of talks on campus every day probably dilutes their importance to the student body. If a limit were put on the number of speakers per night, talks would probably be more well attended.

 

Hayden Higgins ’12 is an anthropology major from Danville, CA. Contact him at hahiggins@davidson.edu

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