Academic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup
Minutes of the Meeting of April 18, 2003

Members Present: M. Higa (AS Rep.), D. Kohl (Chair, Committee on Undergraduate Student Affairs), H. Marcuse (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Policy), C. Michel (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Vice Chair, Undergraduate Council), D. Montello (L&S Executive Committee), J. Proctor (Undergraduate Council)

Others Present: D. Blake (Analyst, Undergraduate Council), M. Dahleh (Assistant Dean, Student Services), W. Yuen (Academic Senate Chair), Isabelle Millan (AS Rep.)

The workgroup continued to discuss the possible addition of a new core area. This idea is most likely too complex to be developed into a proposal before the end of spring quarter, as significant consultation will be necessary. Since publication deadlines for changing currently published information prevents the implementation GE changes until at least Fall 2004, there is not an urgent need to legislate a new program by the end of this academic year. It would, however, be beneficial to finalize deliberations before the current GE workgroup and Undergraduate Council are disassembled. It was suggested that the workgroup meet for an extended period, possibly in the form of a retreat or all afternoon meeting, in order to reach some form of agreement on as many issues as possible.

The group continued last weekís discussion of incorporating a focus on interdisciplinarity into the GE Program. It was argued that it would be better to incorporate interdisciplinary studies as a supplemental requirement than as a core area, since it isnít a good fit with the current combination of subject areas. This was followed by discussion of how to integrate it into the program as a special requirement.

The possibility of adding an ethnicity/gender/queer studies requirement was also addressed. Putting these three topics in one category was suggested to be incongruent, as they represent very different types of study. The rationale for grouping them together was to make an area that allows students to choose from among these subjects. A.S. President Chrystine Lawson will give a presentation on this topic at the next meeting. Concern was expressed that a majority of the faculty might not agree that this type of study belongs in the GE program.

There appears to be a number of issues that are strongly supported by various subsets of the workgroup (and of the campus). It was suggested that a series of straw votes be taken to determine how much agreement there is. Bringing these topics to divisional meetings was also suggested. The group agreed that consultation is needed on a divisional as well as departmental basis. Although whatís on the table is largely an L&S matter, all faculty executive committees should be consulted. L&S department chairs should be briefed and asked to discuss the proposed new core area and special requirement possibilities with their faculty, following up with feedback to the workgroup. However, the workgroup needs to reach a greater consensus on what being proposed before this can take place.

The student representatives were encouraged to talk to faculty members and recruit other students to do the same. This is a much more powerful approach to lobbying than just talking to the workgroup or among themselves, particularly because we are essentially planning a GE program for students who arenít here yet. It was noted that AS might not be the best place from which to solicit unbiased opinions. The student representatives also commented that many students may not care very much about these issues.

There is still a lot of confusion and disagreement within the workgroup around the issue of a second ethnicity requirement that would include gender and queer studies. The group discussed what the focus of each would be, if we had two ethnicity requirements. Among the options considered were making one geographically comparative and adding additional groups to the definition of one of the requirements. There are courses that may be appropriate for GE that are now being rejected due to not fitting the current definition. The ethnic studies faculty, who were previously consulted, were said to prefer that one requirement be confined by the current definition and the other by the definition that was proposed by the GE Task Force. [work group: is this correct?]

There was discussion of ways to redefine the current Areas E-1 and E-2. It was suggested that a new title such as Culture and Thought could be used to expand this area beyond the Western/non-Western dichotomy, thereby opening it up to include, for example, courses that compare across two or more regions. We may wish to invite some faculty who teach in this area to discuss the possibilities with the workgroup.

Attest: Harold Marcuse


prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 22, 2003
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