Academic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup
Minutes of the Meeting of April 11, 2003

Members Present: J. Heinen (GSA Rep.), D. Kohl (Chair, Committee on Undergraduate Student Affairs), C. Lawson (AS President), H. Marcuse (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Policy), C. Michel (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Vice Chair, Undergraduate Council), A. Wyner (Dean, Undergraduate Studies, L&S)

Others Present: D. Blake (Analyst, Undergraduate Council), M. Dahleh (Assistant Dean, Student Services), S. McLeod (GE Consultant; Undergraduate Council, Writing Program Director)

The GE Workgroup discussed responses regarding the proposed new core area, currently known as Area X. There was a request for clarification as to why we need a new core area. One reason cited is to create a place for GE appropriate courses that donít fit into any of the areas we have now. Concern was expressed about whether there will be enough courses in Area X to allow students to complete the requirement in a timely manner.

The perception has developed that Area X is for innovative courses. This poses the question of what to do with these courses when they are no longer "new." There are still numerous questions with regard to both terminology and implementation.

Thus far, Area X is intended for courses that are considered interdisciplinary, as well as other courses weíd like to highlight and draw students toward. This new area would provide incentive for departments to design new courses and refocus existing ones.

The workgroup discussed various responses that have been received regarding the current ethnicity requirement and its potential expansion to a two-course requirement. There is a concern that something should be done to prevent the exclusion of courses that are becoming more prominent in the disciplines, but that donít fit our current ethnicity definition. It was suggested that, since our current definition names specific ethnic groups and excludes others, the scope could be expanded by calling it American diversity. Given the history of the establishment of our current ethnicity requirement, any changes to it must be based on an absolutely defensible rationale.

There was discussion of the Chancellorís recommendation, prompted by input from students, that an additional requirement be added to the GE program that would encompass ethnic, gender and queer studies. Consultation is needed to determine how many faculty would be willing to support such a requirement, as well as how many would be able to teach the courses that would be needed to make the requirement feasible.

There was discussion of the current GE list and how it will look once itís cleaned up by applying formal criteria. Consideration was given to its lack of balance in terms of departmental participation in the GE Program. This is partially caused by our current definitions and the fact that courses in some subject areas are structured more broadly, and are thus more appropriate for GE. Some departments need to use GE to draw students to their courses, while others are so impacted with majors that they donít have faculty available to teach GE courses. It was suggested that the number of courses a department can have approved for GE at a given time could be limited. There are only a few departments that have particularly long lists, Art History being the most extreme case.

There was further discussion as to what kind of courses are most obvious candidates for Area X, and how interdisciplinary a course should be in order to really fit. The Environmental Studies Program was noted as a likely contributor of courses. Global Studies 1 and 2 were also mentioned. One member argued that interdisciplinarity, as an area, doesnít belong in GE, and should simply be encouraged as an aspect of GE courses. It was noted that many of the courses on the special subject area supplementary lists are cross-disciplinary. Some disciplines are interdisciplinary by nature, such and Law and Society and Womenís Studies. The key question is whether the course is being taught in such a way that it bridges divisional lines.

In considering the broadened descriptions of core areas proposed by the GE Task Force, it was noted that the word "Technology" had been dropped from the title of Area C, making it simply Math and Science. It was agreed that this change should not be included in the proposal for the new GE program, and Area C should remain as Math, Science and Technology.

It was announced that CUAPP has endorsed the formal criteria proposed by the workgroup, and will bring a recommendation to the Undergraduate Council. The Council will then take it to the Faculty Legislature. There was discussion of how other workgroup recommendations will be packaged for presentation to the Faculty Legislature. It was suggested that specific items such as the new core area be proposed separately, so as not to end up with no revisions as a result of including the more controversial items within a single proposal. Some felt it would be too fragmented to present more than one proposal, as the various components are interdependent.

There was also discussion of which faculty the vote applies to. There was confusion regarding why other colleges should vote on a GE Programs that is specific to the College of Letters and Science. This brought up the question of how GE programs are approved in other colleges. The Faculty Legislature votes on all GE programs, but the process of preparing the legislation takes place internally within the colleges.

The final topic of discussion was the use of AP credit to fulfill GE requirements. Recently collected rough data show that for the current freshman class about 1500 additional course enrollment spaces would need to be made available if GE credit was not given for work that earned an AP score of 3, and about 2500 additional [beyond the 1500, or merely in addition to what we have now?ódoes anyone know] enrollment slots would be needed if students werenít allowed to use any AP credit to fulfill GE requirements.

Attest: Harold Marcuse


prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 22, 2003
back to top, UCSB GE Workgroup homepage, prev. meeting, next meeting