Academic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup
Minutes of the Meeting of April 4, 2003

Members Present: J. Heinen (GSA Rep.), H. Marcuse (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Policy), C. Michel (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Vice Chair, Undergraduate Council), D. Montello (L&S Executive Committee), 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), J. Proctor (Undergraduate Council)

Announcements

It was announced that Co-Chair Claudine Michel will take on more of a leadership role than she was available for last quarter. She reiterated that the Undergraduate Councilís goal is to submit a proposal to the Faculty Legislature by end of Spring quarter.

Approval of minutes

The minutes of the 2/21 and 2/28 meetings were approved with one correction suggested by Dan Montello in the minutes of 2/21.

Memo to departments

The workgroup reevaluated the memo prepared by Denise Segura in response to a the suggestion generated during the social science divisional meeting that we request input from departments regarding which key courses in their respective disciplines exemplify GE. It was determined that this is not necessary at this time.

Discussion of the possibility of developing a new subject area

The main topic for discussion was the possible establishment of a new core area, which the workgroup is referring to as Area X for the moment. While the creation of a new area is a huge undertaking with many underlying complexities, members of the workgroup see the challenge as an opportunity to significantly enhance the pedagogical and philosophical mission of the GE Program. Numerous possibilities have been brainstormed, but no concrete definition has emerged thus far.

Jim Proctor of the Undergraduate Council has proposed that a focus on interdisciplinarity be incorporated into the GE Program. While he initially suggested that this might be done through an additional supplemental requirement, the workgroup is now considering whether interdisciplinary courses might be included in Area X.

There has been much discussion of the problems posed by the current Area E-1. Many find it inappropriate to sustain an area that has few courses taught within a small number of departments, while no other area is so narrowly focused. Several workgroup members are also very dissatisfied by the dichotomy that is created by placing such a strong focus on Western civilization. There is also concern about requiring students to complete at least two courses in Western civilization, which is a stronger concentration than that required in any other sub-field. It has been suggested the new area under consideration could include the courses that currently make up Area E-1. While it would be a challenging task to create a new core area, some feel it may be possible to solve some existing problems through this process.

It was noted that a desire on the part of undergraduates for more focus on certain marginalized groups was inadequately addressed by the GE Task Force. The former GE Committee experienced that some courses satisfy the intent of GE, but donít fit into any of our current categories. Many of these courses might fit the description for the new area. However, caution should be taken to avoid creating a "mish-mash." It was reiterated that the Senate needs to have a distinct, internally consistent description for each area, allowing for more obvious division of courses than is possible using the current descriptions.

A lot of courses that are now in Area D would be likely candidates for the proposed Area X. It was acknowledged that there is a lot of confusion regarding what is humanities vs. what is social science on our campus. Given that interdisciplinarity is touted as one of the hallmarks of UCSB, there is not a significant level of interdisciplinary focus within our undergraduate programs.

It was suggested that departments be queried as to whether they have courses that would be a good fit for the new area or whether they would like to design or redesign courses for it. This would be premature in that we donít have an appropriate description yet. Concern was expressed that the new area may be difficult to articulate and sell.

There was discussion of "cleaning up" the current GE list and timing issues involved.

There was also brief discussion of the topic of using AP credit to complete GE requirements. We need to get data from Institutional Research Director Steven Velasco regarding how many students use AP credit in this manner.

Attest: Harold Marcuse


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