This week I’ve mostly been trying to make something coherent out of my research from the past several weeks. On the site, this is most visible in the timeline, which I’m continuing to revise to provide sufficient context for the rest of the content. Deciding what to include in the timeline has not been an easy process, as there are countless events that be helpful and provide further insight to Geneseo as an institution. I’ve been trying to select events that are interesting and varied but still create a framework for our more detailed discussion of curriculum. Another difficult aspect of creating the timeline is the sources I’ve been relying most heavily on: Mahood’s SUNY Geneseo: From Normal School to Public Ivy, 1871-2007 and Fisher’s …the stone strength of the past… Both of these histories of the school are incredibly informative and factual, but they are also written by long-time professors at Geneseo with inescapable biases in favor of the institution. While working on the timeline, I’ve had to continually remind myself that the events highlighted in the histories are likely those that were the best for the school. Of course, there are worse problems to be had, and I’m very grateful for Fisher and Mahood’s work. I’ve also added some explanation and analysis to the “General Education and Humanities” page to accompany the booklet containing the developments in general education. I’m planning to pay special attention to the revision of the Common Core in the late ’70s that included the addition of the Humanities sequence, and I haven’t decided if that discussion will be on the same page or treated separately.
As for the site itself, John and I have spent a lot of time this week working on the general organization of content and finding the best theme. The organization will likely stand as it is on the landing page of the site currently, with more content–images that reveal quotes from our interviews that lead to related pages. I think we’ve narrowed it down to two themes, both of which are very customizable and generally clean and minimalist.
During this past week, we had two really insightful and informative interviews with Humanities professors. Our interviews this week will come from different perspectives. We have two definite interviews set, and are attempting to schedule a time with an administrator. One of the interviews is with a student, and I’m expecting that we can use many of the same questions we asked the professors we’ve interviewed with some reframing. The other interview we have this week with Professor Brooke McCorkle of the Music Department is of particular interest to me. Geneseo has not been particularly to kind to the fine arts in recent years (as can likely be said at most public schools), and the most recent blow came just this weekend when President Denise Battles announced (through email) that the college will no longer be funding Finger Lakes Opera (FLO). FLO is a relatively new organization that has provided the college and the surrounding community with access to an art form that is often inaccessible and considered elitist. To me, this type of access and exposure to the arts is one of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education. This latest cut is particularly discouraging considering the election, the results of which do not bode well for education as whole, and when education suffers, the fine arts usually suffer first. If these are the decisions being made before the effects of a Trump presidency are felt, I greatly fear for the fine arts at Geneseo in the next few years. I am very interested in hearing Professor McCorkle’s thoughts on these events and the state of the fine arts at Geneseo, in addition to our regular questions about general education.