By Yousof Hamza
While studying at Youngstown State University, students can expect a diverse range of educational materials. Diversity forms a critical part of the curriculum, especially in the Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education.
The chair of the humanities department, Alan Tomhave, said using material from various periods and cultures is important. The history program does a lot of work throughout the Mahoning Valley.
“History actually goes out into the community and looks at buildings to look at the history of architecture,” he said.
The steel industry is important to the material in the history program, he said. The industry shaped the geography of the region and influenced its philosophy and ethics.
Tomhave said Beeghly College engages in team teaching to integrate other fields of study into the programs, but it still needs to do more to integrate the programs.
The philosophy department has taken measures to increase representation in its material. Tomhave said the field of philosophy is historically dominated by men, and female students should know there are important female philosophers.
“We made a commitment in philosophy many years ago to try and start working in more women philosophers into our reading lists,” Tomhave said.
Director of anthropology Matt O’Mansky said his program is limited in what it can cover as it only has four professors.
Each professor has a geographic specialty on which they primarily focus. O’Mansky specializes in Mayan culture and primarily teaches on Central and South American culture. While they can’t cover everything, classes touch upon core concepts that apply globally.
Anthropology benefits from other disciplines. O’Mansky said professors collaborate with other departments to increase breadth and offer cross-listed courses.
“For example, in biological anthropology, Dr. Lease works with the biology department … dealing generally with the human body,” O’Mansky said.
Joseph Palardy, coordinator of general studies, said YSU offers diversity in the general education requirements.
“Providing a diverse set of educational experiences that imparts broad knowledge, is a fundamental goal of YSU’s general education program,” he said. “The diversity of YSU’s course offerings sets it apart from smaller schools and provides students with [the] opportunity to study unique and interesting areas.”
With the increase in human knowledge comes the demand from students to know more, Palardy said.
“However, educational breadth comes at the cost of specialization, and it is often difficult to determine the correct balance,” he said.
Palardy said the use of material from various disciplines makes students more flexible.
“Each different discipline brings its own unique knowledge, skills and ways of thinking that will affect a student’s education,” he said. “It is not always easy to specify what that affect will be, considering all the different permutations of courses could take.”