OPINION: UCORE classes a way to get diverse job skills

They can be a lot of busy work, but UCORE classes have some merit



The issue with UCORE classes isn’t the subject matter, it is how students are presented the information. In reality UCORE can provide a lot of skills that will be applicable to future jobs


Something that is said time and time again from on campus is, “Why the hell do I have to take this class?” Or, “This is a waste of my time.”   Yup, you guessed it, UCORE classes. Everyone takes them, and almost everyone hates them. So why do we take these dreaded classes other than the fact that they are required? What do we get out of it? Some argue that UCORE classes should not be required. They are a waste of time, money and energy; however, others say that they are essential.

“The thinking behind it, to put it bluntly, is that we aren’t a technical school, a 4-year baccalaureate degree is meant to develop graduates who not only have skills that are useful in a particular profession, but that also prepare students for a highly ever-changing economy,” said Clif Stratton, director of UCORE.

After spending four years in high school taking classes on subjects that students don’t really care about, why in college, a place where they pay to be, would students want to take courses on topics that don’t have anything to do with their passion. Despite this negative outlook towards UCORE there can be a lot of benefits to taking these classes.

“It’s about creating intellectual habits and the adaptability in how we think about how the world operates and flexibility in what kind of jobs one might get,” Stratton said.

It is common knowledge that a lot of students won’t be working jobs that are directly related to their major. In fact, according to the U.S Census Bureau only 27 percent of college grads have jobs that are related to their major.  It’s fair to say that if we did not have UCORE classes and took classes purely for our majors, getting a job with these very limited skills would be almost impossible. 

“Not only do majors need to prepare students for broad and flexible careers options but as an institution and this is where UCORE comes in, we are doing that for everyone regardless whether their major is doing it,” Stratton said.

While UCORE classes can feel like a bore, there are times you can take a class and hit the jackpot. You suddenly find yourself completely intrigued by a new topic you normally would have never given a second thought towards.

“Even though a lot of UCORE classes might be very basic over views of a subject, I think it can give someone a little more perspective about different areas of study that are out there,” said Hannah Coop, WSU junior biology major.

But it can be easy to lose interest and forget why we take the classes we take. While teachers may make a slideshow on the first day of class about “why is class is important” that message is effortlessly forgotten as the semester drones on.

He said he has been working on a curriculum refresh that focuses more on acquiring skill sets and communicating them rather than exam performance.

“I think some student’s uncertainty about why they take those courses comes from a communication and awareness gap,” Stratton said. “Not every faculty member communicates that clearly, a continued emphasis on the importance is fewer and you get lost, what is our goal here?”

Is UCORE a waste of time? No, but it is what you put in to it. UCORE is meant to give students a set of skills to use in the real world, to be a more well-rounded student. But there is a need to change how we view them and an update on the conversation on why we take these classes.