Hamline Plan letter system inconsistent

Hamline’s values and biases are showing up in the Hamline Plan, at the cost of the student’s education plans.

Emily Brown, Columnist

One of the first things to which I was introduced on my first tour of Hamline was the Hamline Plan. Instead of having a set of general classes every student has to take, people can customize their own education to take classes that fall under a particular major and take a few extra classes that will provide them with a well-rounded education. The website says the Hamline Plan is designed to teach students skills employers will expect us to have. I thought it sounded great. I didn’t have to take any required classes and I could just take classes I want. Right?

Wrong! As I learned during my first semester here at Hamline, the Hamline Plan either intentionally or unintentionally made a small handful of classes as close to required as you can get. One of these classes is Introduction to Global Studies. The Hamline Plan has gotten two new letters; the first of these is the C letter, which stands for Collaboration. The Plan describes this as “developing and strengthening collaborative skills by engaging with team-based processes.” Despite group projects being very common at Hamline, only a handful of classes in a couple of departments have the C, so if you are not a major in one of these departments, you have to go out of the way to take another Hamline class.

But the second letter, G or Global Citizenship, is “grounded in the critical and multidisciplinary analyses of and engagement with complex, independent global systems and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.” In my opinion, these two letters could’ve been combined and not required for every major at Hamline. Introduction to Global Studies has both the G and C letters and the O letter; another letter that has classes in only a handful of majors. And even if it’s in your major, you need two O’s. And because of this, it is a class that a lot of students decide to take despite the fact that they don’t want to and it won’t help them. I was fully planning on taking this class so I can get these three letters over with. But, another woe about the Hamline Plan is that the letters of the classes are always changing. Introduction to Global Studies is listed as the D and the O letters for the fall 2019 class. This makes this even harder for students to get the C and G letters. In addition, the G and D are practically interchangeable. The D letter exists “to help learn to demonstrate an understanding of systemic inequalities, power difference and interdependencies.”

Because of the D letter, the G letter and the C letter, it seems like Hamline’s education mission is skewed towards teaching their students about people who are different from them and how they can be involved in advocacy. This somewhat makes sense since Hamline is known as a school that likes to help people. Although this is admirable, Hamline is forcing their ideals down their students’ throats and making it harder to complete the Hamline Plan for majors such as science and math so they may graduate. And if Hamline Plan letters are always changing, it is hard to make a solid four-year plan that will benefit you in the best way possible.

The Hamline Plan was created to give Hamline Students a well-rounded education. But maybe it isn’t as well-rounded as it should be.