We’re tinkering with the curriculum again because…why not…or it’s time…or we’re bored. For whichever reason, the so-called Core Curriculum is being made more…flexible…or integrated…or learningish. If we have a Core Curriculum, I suppose this implies we also have an Appendage Curriculum, perhaps even an Extremity Curriculum. Though I’m not exactly sure what all of this means, I have a few suggestions for muddying the waters making our Core Curriculum…more better.
Filosophy of Phootball – Why is it impossible to go for three? All sports rules are silly, aren’t they? But why are they all the more thrilling the sillier they become? If immoveable objects win championships, is there even a need for an irresistible force? Knute Rockne developed the Notre Dame shift after watching stage dancers, and this course posits the question of whether designing plays and formations of increasing absurdity could actually create a competitive advantage. (There is a mandatory field trip to a burlesque show).
Theological Architecture – This isn’t your mother’s nunnery any more. Jacob had his ladder and people have been singing about a stairway to heaven at dorm dances for years. With a careful study of dwelling places and houses in Scripture, we can determine exactly what kind of crib God wants (and it’s not a trough in a stable). From Solomon’s Palace to the Upper Room we consider divine amenities and blessed proportions. This course couples sacred geometry with the actual nuts and bolts necessary to build it. We know He’s scheduled a Second Coming; let’s make sure this time we’ve got a place ready for Him…a really nice place.
Northern Indiana and Climate Change: Why Doesn’t It – This course examines the sometimes desperate question of how to change the climate on the Indiana tundra. Chinese scientists have already discovered a way to seed clouds which then wash the smog away. Joining professors from Psychology and Aerospace Engineering, students suffering from seasonal affective disorder launch just about anything into the atmosphere to make the permacloud evaporate, thereby creating local warming.
Sustainable Development – Not what you might think. This is actually a mathematics and business course, as well as an internship with the Development Office. Similar to horticulture, students learn how to cultivate and keep benefactors, as well as their proper care and feeding. Partnering with the Department of Art and Design, students will develop pants pockets that are easier to get your hands into. Partnering with Environmental Sciences, students will learn how to make it rain. Adjunct instructors will be provided by the Morris Inn, University Catering, and the Murnane Family Ticket Office (a perfect example of what we’re trying to do here).
Right Writing — This isn’t complex. The course teaches the difference between your and you’re; its and it’s; who and whom; and among there, their, and they’re. An English professor will explain to students what the passive voice is, so that it may be assiduously avoided in written composition. A Philosophy professor could explain the conditional contrary-to-fact nature of the subjunctive mood, if students were able to grasp the concept. And a Dutch schoolmarm will drill into students how bad it is to always split infinitives. If you think this isn’t a necessary course, just read the graffiti in the Library.
I myself will be available to teach a course called Holy Cross Privilege. You have vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, and you might have to live in a dorm, but you get a roof over your head, three squares a day, free football tickets, and asking for the aid of the Mother of God is a local call. Don’t scowl, there’s no cowl! And you’re not a Jesuit.
Padre’s book Father Sorin Says: The Founder Comments on Today’s Notre Dame is available from the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and Amazon. The Core Curriculum Review Committee is considering making it required reading for all students, alumni, and fans.
Son, in 199 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard, incontrovertible facts: There is a God, and I'm pretty tight with Him.
Now I’m going to tell you a whole lot of things I’ve kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew me. I was along before your time, but you all know what a tradition I am at Notre Dame. And one of the most important things I ever said was, “Friends, sometime when my University is up against it and the breaks are beating the students, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win at everything for Padre. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be then, friends,” I said, “but I’ll be looking right over your shoulder.”