Educational Policy Representative: Daniel Cho ’13

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Hi, my name is Daniel Cho, and I am interested (yes, even without pay!) in becoming your next Educational Policy Representative. In order to maintain Swarthmore as an academic institution that listens and adheres to the student’s needs, I would like to continue the schools’ tradition of academic excellence through the relevant and significant changes I intend to make as an educational policy representative. So, as the current educational policy representative’s term ends, I think it’s important for the next person to have the appropriate experience and ideas to fill her seat. I believe I can satisfy both these conditions.

I know I am fit to be your next educational policy representative because of my experience in leadership positions both in my high-school and my community. Having been involved in student council multiple years, most recently as Senior Class President, I am very familiar with both representing and listening to the student body. Although extending senior privileges, planning trips, and organizing unorthodox fundraisers aren’t particularly the issues that I will have to deal with as an educational policy representative, I believe my successful experiences in negotiating and communicating with faculty members to represent the concerns of the study body can be translated to Swarthmore faculty members I will be speaking. In addition, I feel that my experiences as Captain of the speech, debate, and student congress team, Boys State, and other involvement in state leadership seminars will help me be an effective and vocal representative for the student body. In short, I am confident that my leadership skills, ideas, and interest to improve the educational policies will compensate for my lack of specific leadership roles on campus pertaining to education this year.

In addition, these experiences, I strongly believe, will help facilitate the considerations I have in mind as educational policy representative. Here are some ideas I have thought about, but I am open to others:

Class Rec Book Website:

First off, I want to revive the class rec book website. Currently, though we do have rec sources to look to, there are a couple of problems with them. First, the old class rec book is becoming outdated by the year especially with new faculty/classes being introduced annually. I think it’s critical that students have a website that compiles many reviews for class selection as it may give a more balanced view of classes than by bitter friends who didn’t receive the marks they wanted. In addition, the problem with the new website “Disguide” is that although it is accessible for everyone, there’s no incentive for new entries and class reviews to be posted in order to become a legitimate reference tool. As a result, this website is not widely circulated, and thus, loses its value as a good reference tool. Therefore, contrary to the way “Disguide” is set up, I want to incentivize individuals to contribute to the website by making the rec book only accessible to students who comment and review courses. This method was tremendously successful for the old class rec book. Also, I would also look into the technical difficulties the old class rec book faced to assure that the new site will be used over a long period of time (since the rec is only useful with a compilation of reviews).

Clarification of Study Abroad Credits:

I believe there needs to be a clearer delineation of how many credits can be studied outside of Swarthmore to constitute what a Swarthmore major or a minor is. Currently, there is a lack of specificity on how many credits taken abroad can be counted towards the major. While, for example, environmental studies allows you to complete a minor during your study abroad without ever having taken a course from Swarthmore, many other departments do not specify if there is a certain limit to the amount of abroad credits that can be counted toward your major/minor or not. Knowing individuals who have reconsidered their major/minors based upon the idea that they could not have a substantial number of credits outside of Swarthmore, I think departments need to explicitly state their requirements about study abroad credits. As the educational policy representative, I want to contact each department and talk to the chairs in order to clear up this ambiguity and hopefully see some consistency.

P.E. Credits in regards to Rhythm and Motion:

While I am sure there has been a lot of discussion between the student body and the administration about this point in contention, I would still like to pursue making Rhythm and Motion an accredited P.E. class. Seeing that various other dance organizations like tango, capoeira, and swing dance receive accreditation for P.E. credit even though time commitments for R&M ranges similarly to the previously listed clubs, I think it’s fairly clear that the purpose behind a P.E. class is properly represented in R&M. I believe we can make more progress on this especially when it’s clearly on the educational policy representative’s agenda.

Selling/Acquiring textbooks for class:

In order to facilitate a better networking of selling and acquiring textbooks, I would like to revive the old textbook website dedicated to advertising used books for sale. Even though we sometimes see such advertisements on the Reserved Students Digest, I know we can more effectively circulate and publicize used textbooks when there’s an organized site that everyone can browse to sell/acquire textbooks.

So in conclusion, to tell you a little about myself, although I dibbled-dabbled in multiple activities like Dare2Soar, Swarthmore Phonathon, and VITA, I am primarily involved in the Peaselee Debate Society and Han. I enjoy arguing back and forth with others in Peaselee, meeting new people, and witnessing unfair bets like push-up contests that result in freshmen victory over former debate presidents…

Having been overwhelmingly impressed by the education and the amount of support structure Swarthmore offers, I would like to continue to maintain and improve Swarthmore’s education through the ideas and genuine interest I have in becoming an active and vocal educational policy representative.

Thanks for taking the time to read over this, and I hope I have gained your confidence in me. And of course, if you have any questions regarding my proposals or anything, feel free to contact me at

The Phoenix

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