New College of Florida introduces new 'Odyssey' course, will eliminate 'pseudoscience' Gender Studies program
Citing the need to recommit to its founding mission of providing a liberal education, New College is offering a course on Homer's 'Odyssey' to teach about traditional concepts like 'logos.'
New College has also moved toward terminating the Gender Studies program in an effort to advance a classical education free from modern-day leftist dogma.
Under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis and Interim President Richard Corcoran, the New College of Florida is implementing a more traditional liberal arts approach to higher education through several notable curriculum and institutional reforms.
Among these new measures is the recent addition of a brand new class based upon Homer’s classic work, the Odyssey, to the course offering in late August. Intended for first-year students, the course will encourage enrollees to answer questions like, “What is the value of challenge, sacrifice, and personal growth?”
According to Inside Higher Ed, New College offered students a complimentary dinner and free copy of the book in order to incentivize course enrollment. The Odyssey class, in addition to a new data visualization course that will be offered in the spring, provides such benefits because the college is strongly considering adding them to the core curriculum in the near future.
“The goal of these classes is to introduce students to the Logos/Techne curriculum, build a sense of community, and provide students with a transformative educational experience that centers on a deep appreciation for the past and innovative skills that will provide success in the future,” Vice President of Communications and Marketing Ryan Terry told Inside Higher Ed.
In keeping with promoting a classical education, New College will also soon remove its Gender Studies program following a 7-3 vote by the board of trustees on Aug. 10.
“There’s one program in particular that in my view is not compatible with our mission, which is to revive a classical liberal arts education,” board member Christopher Rufo said during the trustees meeting. “This was the mission of the founders of New College. They said, direct quote, ‘Classical liberal arts education is our mission today.’ And I think the gender studies program is wildly contradictory to that mission.”
Established in 1995, the Gender Studies program “encompasses other related fields including Women’s and Feminist Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Queer and Trans Studies; and Masculinity Studies.”
Rufo took to X later on Aug. 10 to celebrate the board’s announcement that it would begin the process of eliminating Gender Studies from the curriculum. In a piece for City Journal that same day, Rufo wrote, “Yes, public university professors, such as those at New College, have a First Amendment right to promote gender pseudoscience—but they are not entitled to an unlimited state subsidy for that speech.”
BREAKING: The New College of Florida board of trustees has directed the administration to abolish its Gender Studies program. We are the first public university in America to begin rolling back the encroachment of queer theory and gender pseudoscience into academic life.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) August 10, 2023
Similarly, New College informed student orientation leaders in August that they were not permitted to wear political messaging like Black Lives Matter and LGBT-themed pins while working on behalf of the college.
“NCF has a record-breaking number of students. These are 17- and 18-year-olds who are away from home for the first time. We pay student ambassadors to make them feel like they’re at home. Ambassadors can’t wear buttons of any kind (NRA, BLM, etc.),” President Corcoran explained on X.
“All of our students, including ambassadors, are free on their own time to wear any kind of button they want,” he continued. “We just ask of any student that all discourse be civil.”
As New College undergoes a major transformation in higher education, Governor DeSantis continues to implement bold conservative reforms in the state’s political arena.
Campus Reform has covered numerous instances of DeSantis’ educational reforms, including in May when he signed legislation that will protect taxpayer money from funding left-wing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) causes on Florida college campuses.
Campus Reform has contacted New College and Governor DeSantis for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.