AAcademic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup
Minutes of the Meeting of February 28, 2003
[distributed to members on 3/31/03 for comment]

Members Present: J. Heinen (GSA Rep.), M. Higa (AS Rep.), D. Kohl (Undergraduate Council; Chair, Student Affairs Committee), C. Lawson (AS President), C. Lawson (AS President), H. Marcuse (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Undergraduate Council; Chair, Committee on Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policy), C. Michel (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Vice Chair, Undergraduate Council), D. Montello (L&S Executive Committee), J. Proctor (Undergraduate Council), Al Wyner (Dean, Undergraduate Studies), X. Zhao (Undergraduate Council)

Others Present: – D. Blake (Analyst, Undergraduate Council), M. Dahleh (Assistant Dean of Student Services, College of Engineering), P. McNulty (Associate Registrar), D. Segura (Chair, Undergraduate Council))

In spite of the GE Workgroup’s plan to use the same organizational format for all meetings with divisional deans and department chairs, time and scheduling constraints require that the Workgroup attend the regularly scheduled Humanities and Fine Arts divisional meeting instead. This meeting will take place on March 3 from 12:00 to 1:00. Dan Montello agreed to take minutes, since Debra is unable to attend.

Minutes for the meetings of 1/31, 2/7, and 2/14 were approved by the Workgroup.

A brief history of the events leading to the implementation of the ethnicity requirement was provided. The various options debated by the GE Task Force were reviewed. The Workgroup must now decide 1) if the current ethnicity requirement should be left as is, 2) if it should be approached more broadly and/or innovatively, or 3) whether a new area encompassing it should be created.

It was considered that new developments within this field could be usefully folded into the realm of GE. One member commented that his interpretation of "student wishes" is to keep what we have now. Discussion followed concerning the add-on versus core area option. It was reiterated that add-ons tend to have the effect of funneling students toward certain courses for the purpose of fulfilling more than one requirement with a single class. A member reminded the group that among the goals of the GE Workgroup and the GE Task Force were simplification and clarification, and possibly reduction. Creating a new area seems contrary to these goals.

It was pointed out that of the 177 courses that meet the ethnicity requirement, all but 20 are in areas D, E, F, and G. The remaining 20 are in a separate section in the back of the book, since they do not fulfill a core area. Forty of the 177 also meet the non-Western culture requirement [HM comment: how can this be? ETH is always in the US, thus by definition NOT NWC], but are not part of D, E, F, and G, and therefore do not allow "double-dipping." There are also over 100 courses that satisfy writing, which are not part of C, D, E, F, and G. This all implies that students are currently doing a lot of double-dipping.

There was discussion of the intellectual justifications or practicalities for using sub-categories as a way of defining areas of study. The MLPS representatives expressed a strong aversion to returning to the previously discontinued use of sections within requirement areas. Previous GE reform tried to eliminate the use of sections, as they were found to delay time to degree due to the specificity of some of the requirements. TheA question was raised as to how creating an area that doesn’t immediately contain a lot of courses will impact students’ ability to fulfill this requirement in a timely manner.

Al Wyner, L&S Dean of Undergraduate Studies, pointed out that when the ethnic studies requirement was first implemented, the GE Program was essentially what it is now, but with more sub-categories. Add-ons were created because GE was already full enough and complicated enough that this seemed the best approach to expanding the parameters of the program. When the ethnicity requirement was approved, the writing and non-Western culture requirements provided an already in place model for "adding-on." It was also done in the context of a political compromise.

Jim Proctor distributed a paper entitled "Fruit Salad and Smoothies: A Working Definition of Interdisciplinarity" as a reference to the various usages and interpretations of this frequently used and sometimes misused term. It was clarified that the "interdisciplinary reputation" attributed to UCSB relates considerably more to faculty joint appointments and graduate research than to courses in the undergraduate curriculum.

One of the student representatives commented that the ethnicity requirement will be compromised if put into an interdisciplinary area. It was once again stated that undergraduates want the current ethnicity requirement to stay intact. While certain identities that are important components of ethnicity are currently not as well recognized as they could be, students don’t want a broadening that waters down the current emphasis of the requirement. It was also asserted that the degree of complexity or extensiveness of the GE Program eventually proposed to the Faculty Legislature is bound to affect its level of support.

The discussion wove its way back to the issue of add-on versus core area. From a management standpoint, add-ons provide incentives to redevelop certain material into already existing courses, while new core areas require new courses. We need data to see how students in the various divisions choose courses. Before creating a new add-on we know more about its implications for enrollment patterns. One member stated that ethnicity-oriented courses are likely to be improved when applied as add-ons, but might be marginalized by being "ghettoized" into their own core area. It was asserted that "add-on" is an unfortunate term that is better replaced by "supplemental," which is the official term. One could also use the word "integrated" to describe their purpose.

It was suggested that Area E be reorganized to solve some of the problems discussed above, possibly breaking it into 3 disciplines, such as Western thought and culture, non-Western thought and culture, and comparative thought and culture. In response to this suggestion, Western/non-Western was argued to be a false dichotomy, and "Western" an inappropriate and confusing misnomer.

Using ethnicity across all core areas was said to do the best job of recognizing this issue for those who teach it. Area E-1 being specifically Western and having only a few courses in it is seen by many as a problem. Europeans and those descended from Europeans could easily be studied within more broadly defined areas with titles such as area studies or historical studies. Terminology issues need to be worked out. While strategizing to solve multiple debates at once, we must keep in mind that whatever is created must be feasible to complete within the normative timeframe.

Mr. Marcuse will discuss with FHA chairs the issue of the sub-area in E-1 having few courses that are large survey courses.

The writing requirement will be discussed at next Friday’s meeting.

Attest: Harold Marcuse

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on May 4, 2003
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