How can we make our CIE questions more “universal”?

Photograph Courtesy of Ursinus Communications

   This story is part of a satire issue for the week of April Fools. 

Solana Warner

The CIE questions define the Ursinus experience. No other campus in the U.S. has such a soul-searching, intersectional approach to teaching students how to not suck at life. From English professors applying Huck Finn to “How can we understand the world?” (the answer being: “by ignoring Tom Sawyer”) to chemistry professors twirling beakers over Bunsen burners asking themselves “What should matter to me?” The CIE core curriculum permeates every aspect of academic life. It makes Ursinus unique and desirable. In fact, it’s the only thing that actively differentiates us from other tiny, liberal arts colleges in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Thus I propose that Ursinus expand the CIE questions into social and personal spheres as well.

Campus Safety wholeheartedly embraced this change as early as Nov. 2017 with their email “Crossing Main Street: The Core Connection.” In this message, they not only mansplain things like “How to push a button” and “How to just generally cross a street,” they also relate it to broad questions like “How should we live together?” These practical applications of the CIE core would not be possible if we still had hard, overly specific questions like “What does it mean to be human?”

President Brock Blomberg also embraced the implementation of CIE questions in non-academic settings. In a town hall meeting, he hinted that this change would help Ursinus stand out against regrettably similar schools like Muhlenberg. Senior Robin Gow reportedly saw Blomberg in his office after the event, rubbing his hands together singing: “Branding, branding, gotta rebrand our image!”

While we cannot expect a major change overnight, small steps have already been made to implement the CIE expansion. As of yesterday evening, Wismer has begun to enforce a “Complete it to Eat it” policy, in which students must answer one of the CIE questions before they are allowed to swipe into Upper and eat.

This move has sparked controversy among many students, especially seniors, who agree that “the CIE questions change so frequently, it’s impossible to tell what they are anymore.”

Senior Rosendo Lopez states: “Now, I enjoy a good philosophy class or two, but I fail to see how this actually helps promote intellectualism. I mean, the line’s all the way to Kaleidoscope, and they’re asking us ‘What will I do?’ I’ll make my own dinner is what I’ll do!”

Faculty and staff can also expect some policy changes that will encourage them to engage more with the CIE questions. Starting Monday, department heads will be expected to incorporate all four questions into every department meeting.

When interviewed about this change, the Chair of the English Department, Dr. Rebecca Jaroff, reported, “I’m running around here like a chicken with my head cut off, and administration wants to add more to my plate?” She went on to point out that this change “never would have flown at 6ABC News” where she used to work.

Personally, I believe that all the negativity surrounding this implementation will vanish over time, just like how people got over the removal of the Pfahler fountain. I know the Ursinus community is strong, and we will rise to embrace these questions in spite of petty controversies. CIE makes Ursinus distinct, so what will you do to celebrate it?

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