Brown’s undergraduate curriculum has evolved progressively since the University was founded in 1764.
But the curricular framework in place today — first called the New Curriculum and now called the Open Curriculum — has its roots in the cultural, social and political changes of the 1960s. Coming to campus in record numbers and from increasingly diverse backgrounds, students at Brown brought new perspectives to campus, as well as the shared experiences of activism around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.
In that context, Brown students coalesced around the idea of taking a more active role in shaping their own education. They wanted an experience that would enrich them as individuals, prepare them academically and equip them with the knowledge and skills to change the world for the better.
Courtesy of researchers at the Brown University Library, here’s an abbreviated history of how Brown’s Open Curriculum was created.