Academic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

May 2, 2004 [never sent--only Area E proposal was put forward final proposal]

To: Department Chairs, MSOs, Undergraduate Advisors, Faculty Executive Committees, Deans and Provost

Fm: Denise Segura, Chair, Undergraduate Council
Harold Marcuse, Chair, Committee on Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policy (CUAPP)

Re: Upcoming General Education Legislation

Dear Colleagues,

We are proposing legislation to update the Area descriptions of our General Education program. These updates are not intended to change the areas at all, only to clarify them to make it easier for departments to propose courses in particular areas, and to aid CUAAP in the process of sorting out where existing classes should go. If you are interested or a department chair, please read on. We request feedback from concerned departments before the May 27th Legislature meeting, which is the final meeting for this academic year.

As you may know, over the past four years various proposals to improve UCSB's General Education program have been circulated across campus. However, as our recent experience has confirmed, GE programs are notoriously difficult to change. The Undergraduate Council, whose standing committee CUAPP is charged with overseeing the GE program, has been moving incrementally, fixing those things that are most broken, in ways that will enable us to keep moving towards our vision of a rigorous GE program suited to our campus's standards and needs. Last year we began this process by establishing formal criteria for courses that are listed in our GE program. That should encourage more attention to consistency and commitment to the "general education aspects" of courses listed in our GE program.

Another step in this process is a periodic review of GE-approved courses to ensure that they still fulfill the objectives and criteria of the program. As we begin this process, we find it necessary to update the language used to classify courses into the GE General Subject Areas D-G (Social Sciences, Civilization and Thought, Arts, and Literature). The current definitions list only "objectives," which CUAPP finds are either too vague or no longer in keeping with the courses faculty in those areas are proposing for inclusion.

Thus at the May 27th Faculty Legislature meeting we will propose updated definitions for these areas. A draft of the legislation is available on the GE work group website:
These definitions were circulated in June 2001, May 2002, and again in October 2003 with a request for comments. Those comments and responses are available on the GE website.

We request that you--as individuals and as departments--review these updated definitions and the reasoning behind them prior to the Legislature meeting, and contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We would like to work with you to develop any amendments *before* the meeting. Department chairs, please poll your faculty to see whether it is necessary to convene a departmental discussion. We would appreciate hearing the answers to the following questions:

  1. The titles of especially Area E, but also F and G, are changing. A few departments expressed concern about area E's title. Please refer to the discussion on the website and let us know if you still have concerns or suggestions.
  2. Do you think the updated definitions provide more clarity about the types of courses included in those areas;
  3. If so, do you have any suggestions for further improvement?
  4. If not, can you provide definitions that you think would provide greater clarity?

Additionally, we are proposing that the 2-course "Western Civilization" requirement become a 1-course requirement symmetrical to the current non-Western culture requirement, and that both be renamed. However, NO changes in the overall number of courses, nor in the number of courses currently required in individual areas, are being proposed. Again, the GE website provides detailed documentation and explanation of this issue.

We look forward to hearing from you.