Because of the low popularity and incredibly time consuming nature of the now defunct IHUM classes, Stanford developed the Thinking Matters program. “ThinkMat” was designed to be a more succinct introduction to the humanities that would allow students to take more classes in different fields and broaden their horizons.

But far be it from the administration to stop innovating after only these modest first steps. After reducing three quarters of IHUM and two of PWR, to one quarter of ThinkMat and two of PWR, this year’s newest program is IREAD, a natural extension of the skills students were meant to develop in both IHUM and PWR.

IREAD showcases both a students ability to process and understand the written word, and to express that understanding vocally. It consists of simple exam for the incoming freshmen: in front of a panel of three faculty, the student must select a book and read from it….out loud. IREAD will demonstrate with much more efficiency what IHUM and ThinkMat have shown to be true: incoming freshmen know not only how to read, but also how to make words come out of their mouths.

Said freshman and prospective mechanical engineering major Tommy Ridgeway, “It was nerve wracking, and I might have skipped a few words that looked too hard.” But I don’t think they noticed. Man this is way harder than those silly classes all the other students had to take in past years.”

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