We at the Record would like to applaud Associate Professors Edan Dekel and Christopher Nugent for creating the “Book Unbound” initiative. We feel that the program is an inventive and educational way to celebrate the opening of the new Stetson-Sawyer Library this September. The professors effectively coordinated with departments across the three divisions, securing an impressive breadth of classes. As believers in liberal arts education, we recognize the advantages of the interdisciplinary nature of this initiative, especially at a time when students have reported feeling pressure to narrow the scope of the subjects they study. Challenging ourselves to think about what we learn through a new lens is beneficial to our learning, and promotes a way of thinking we would not otherwise exercise.
We also commend the incorporation of lectures and exhibits into the initiative. Tying the classes that fall under the “Book Unbound” initiative to such events would provide students with another method of engaging with the material, furthering the initiative’s goal of exploring how information is conveyed. We have found that exhibits and lectures are underutilized, and we hope that this initiative will incentivize more students to attend them. We encourage professors teaching the “Book Unbound” courses to follow the example of the Gaudino Initiative and require their students to attend some of these events; attending a lecture once a month is not an unrealistic time commitment and would not be very different from mandatory film screenings that are common among classes at the College.
Overall, we feel that the initiative is a good idea, but so far it has not been implemented entirely successfully. Although we appreciate the creativity of the program, we suggest the creators of the program clarify how it will relate to the new library. We also think that the College should have thought of a solid implementation plan prior to the launch of the preregistration period. This would ensure a clearer platform with which to advertise. Though we recognize that having the maximum number of students enroll in these classes is not the overall goal of the program, we believe that more students would have participated in “Book Unbound” had they been aware of its premise before they started planning their schedules for next semester. The Record looks forward to the academic opportunities that the “Book Unbound” will provide to the College.