there has been consultation on the reform of
GE Area E-1 (Western Civilization)
June 2004 memo by Denise Segura and Harold Marcuse
This is a slightly edited version
of a June 5, 2004 memo draft that Denise Segura, chair of the Undergraduate
Council, wrote to the chair of of the UCSB committee on Rules, Jurisdiction
I am writing in response to your request for information regarding how the Undergraduate Council's motion to change Area E of the General Education program satisfied systemwide bylaw 51 requiring "that changes in curriculum be submitted to faculties for consideration." You ask "whether, and how, the L&S Executive Committee was consulted regarding the proposed bylaw. That is, was the proposed bylaw given [to] the Executive Committee? When? Did the committee meet to discuss it? Any relevant information on the consultation process would be useful to us."
First of all, the proposed change has been disseminated in several forms to the faculty and FEC with very specific requests for comment, (which were indeed received, considered and incorporated into the final proposed legislation). The GE website provides a convenient access to on-line versions of the original documents (some of which are hyperlinked to original pdfs on the Senate website: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ge/WCivResponses022.htm).
The broadest form of dissemination has been through reports. With respect to the Area E motion, the first time this was raised was in the first GE Task Force report in April 2001. This report actually recommended that Western Civilization be removed from Area E. However, a minority report disagreed and advocated a one-course requirement (5/14/01). The majority of the GE Task Force drafted a response (6/11/01 response), which was endorsed by the Academic Senate Committee on General Education (6/6/01 assessment, see last paragraph). However, members of the Philosophy and French & Italian departments voiced support for the minority report at an Oct. 16, 2001 Senate Open Forum on the proposed GE reform. They argued that if the campus was going to retain the current "non-Western culture" requirement, then there should also be a symmetrical "Western" requirement. In light of this suggestion, the GE Task Force again solicited feedback, to which a few more departments and individuals submitted responses in February 2002.
I believe that this "minority report," the Senate Open Forum, and the subsequent redrafting of the GE Program in general and Area E in particular, constitutes "formal consideration." The responses from Religious Studies, Drama, Art History, and History, which explicitly address the Western Civ issue, indicate those departments' responses directed explicitly to this proposed change. This points to the fact that formal comment was solicited from all departments and ultimately offered by concerned departments.
The May 2002 Second Task Force Report was brought before the Faculty Legislature for a vote in May 2002, when that body again considered the proposed Area E change. However, for a number of reasons unrelated to the proposed change in Area E-1, the formal vote was delayed until December 2002, when it was finally withdrawn and the current GE Workgroup created. I formed this Workgroup in consultation with FEC Chair M. Stephen Weatherford, Senate Chair Walter Yuen, and Dean Al Wyner. The purpose of this group was to work out the details of how the changes being proposed to the General Education program, including Area E, should be implemented. The charge memo is available on the web site: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ge/WkGrpChargeMemo031final.htm). Professor Dan Montello (Geography) was the FEC representative. He remained very active and involved even after his tenure on the FEC ended at the start of the 03/04 academic year. The 2003-04 Chair of the FEC, Bruce Bimber, reaffirmed Dan Montello's official participation in the GE Workgroup as FEC representative. The FEC representative participated in, and reviewed all of the documents and proposals. In addition to the L&S FEC, the College of Engineering had a representative, as did the undergraduate and graduate students. All divisions of L&S had faculty members on the Workgroup as well.
The 2003-04 GE Work Group's recommendations regarding all of our GE program was disseminated for formal consideration to the entire faculty on October 31, 2003 with the Area E change discussed in Point 6 of the October 30, 2003 discussion document. (The web site Western Civilization document traces in detail the interim consultations with HFA, where this issue was explicitly discussed and recorded in minutes and meeting notes, which were published on the web site). Here is the address line of the 10/30/03 document:
"To: Provosts, divisional deans, department chairs, faculty executive committees, Graduate Student Association, Associated Students"
The 10/31/03 e-mail cover memo to L&S FEC Chair Bruce Bimber stated:
"We are seeking feedback from the entire campus, at this point especially from the L&S departments, since they would be most affected by the proposed changes. In addition to discussing this at a department meeting, it may be helpful to seek input from your curriculum committee, faculty, staff and student peer advisors. Please feel free to share this document with anyone you wish. In particular, we ask that the convenors of the divisional chairs meetings distribute this document to all department chairs."
As noted above, the proposed change under discussion at the present time is Point 6 of that document:
6. Western Civilization. The GE work group discussed the GE task force's recommendation that the core "Western civilization" area E-1 be transformed into a special requirement. The GE work group recommends that this requirement should be made symmetrical to the present "non-Western culture" special subject requirement. Because of the problematic nature of the term "Western," we recommend renaming this requirement "European traditions."
In various combinations the Chair of CUAPP, Harold Marcuse, Undergraduate Council Vice Chair Randy Bergstrom and I discussed this document at the chairs meetings of all three L&S divisions. In addition we received many formal (and informal) responses from departments. The Western civilization background document on the website links to the 5 departmental responses that responded to this issue explicitly.
In terms of formal consultation with the L&S FEC, Chair Marcuse and I met with Chair Bimber on 2/13/04 to discuss this issue. Implementation recommendations were discussed by the Council on 2/19/04, but the end-of-quarter came up quickly, so additional specifics didn't go to Chair Bimber right away. My e-mail records indicate that when we were ready to take the next step, Chair Bimber was out of town for an extended period until the end of April. This is not a criticism since we were also unavailable during times that Chair Bimber was available. We met with him the following Monday, May 3, so that we could get the exact legislation to the FEC as soon as possible. As agreed at that time, on Monday, May 10, Harold Marcuse sent the exact legislation to Phyllis Gibson to distribute to the FEC for their 5/12/04 meeting. This legislation proposed updates to all GE Areas C-G, with more extensive structural change to Area E.
On May 13 FEC Chair Bimber met with a subcommittee of the Undergraduate Council including Vice Chair Randy Bergstrom, CUAPP Chair Harold Marcuse, incoming CUAPP Chair Omer Blaes and myself, along with Senate Chair Walter Yuen, to discuss the feedback from the FEC. Chair Bimber informed us that the FEC wished us to withdraw the legislation citing inadequate consultation with the faculty. We pointed out the extensive consultation on GE in general, and Area E in particular that had occurred since 2001 with the specific change to Area E-1 having been disseminated for review since October 2003. Ultimately, we decided to pull back the proposed changes to the other GE Areas (C, D, F, and G) to allow us to focus on Area E, which was of utmost urgency from an implementation standpoint. We removed the proposed updates to the Area descriptions to the GE areas C, D, F, and G, and re-sent the motion to the FEC indicating that we had followed their advice but were moving forward with the Area E proposal.
Chair Marcuse and I met with the FEC to explain our position on May 19, 2004. This position was not supported, but as I said then and repeated later to the Faculty Legislature, "The changes being proposed to Area E have been widely discussed for the past 3 years. It is time to call the motion."