Two weeks out, and my feelings about the bioethics course are still pretty much the same. It felt, largely, like a giant waste of time. It was such an area of potential, so many grand opportunities of could be, and I feel like it was wasted on a group of people who either didn’t want to be there or didn’t have the maturity for it (primarily the undergradate LIM students), or who wanted to be there but either had inaccurate expectations or no knowledge about, well, philosophy and bioethics.
While I don’t think that you should need a degree in, say, philosophy, to be in the program, I do think you need some philosophy background before taking a two week intensive course in bioethics, especially when that course is being taught by not only experts but the fathers of the field. We spent way, way too much time going over Philosophy 101 (not to mention History 101, and too many other 101s), and not enough actually delving into the material at hand. Additionally, having the additional LIM students meant having much, much too large a group, which negated the seminar aspect of the course and turned it into any other lecture class.
It’s not what I signed up for, it’s not what I was told about. And frankly, I don’t appreciate the underhandedness that went into it – we were told it was a seminar of graduate students, no more than 15-odd people, until the first day. “Oh, btw, we have undergraduates that are going to double the class size, too!” It was sneaky, and I think it was done because they knew people wouldn’t want to come into the program, otherwise.
This program needs revamping; I can only hope that actually ends up happening, and sooner rather than later.