Academic Senate
Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup
Minutes of the Meeting of May 2, 2003 (approved)

Members Present: J. Heinen (GSA Rep.), M. Higa (AS 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), J. Proctor (Undergraduate Council), A. Wyner (Dean, Undergraduate Studies, L&S), Xiaojian Zhao (Undergraduate Council)

Others Present: D. Blake (Analyst, Undergraduate Council), S. Velasco (Director, Institutional Research, Budget and Planning), two students who have not previously attended and did not provide their names)

Discussion began with an evaluation of the data collected by Chrystine Lawson and Claudine Michel regarding frequency of offering and enrollments for courses that would be a good fit for the proposed second ethnicity/gender/queer studies requirement. A phase-in process was suggested as a way of dealing with the potentially low number of courses that would be available immediately. Problems were encountered in collecting this data due to lack of an adequate definition. As with the definition for interdisciplinary studies, the availability of courses correlates with the broadness of the definition. Jim Proctor described his approach to data collection with regard to interdisciplinary courses. Christine and Claudine were advised to break down the potentially appropriate courses into categories based on how well they fit the optimal definition. It was clear that a more refined study will be necessary in both cases, once the criteria is well defined.

Steve Velasco informed the group as to the kinds of data that can be provided by the Office of Institutional Research. Additional data on courses was requested by the workgroup and will be available in two weeks.

Workgroup members agreed that a database should be created containing up to date syllabi for all GE approved courses. There are some resource issues involved with this project, but it is important to have evidence that the content of a GE course continues to fulfill the criteria for the core area or special requirement for which it was initially approved. This database would also be helpful to students in selecting courses.

Considerable concern was raised at a recent meeting of the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policy regarding the proposed three-times-in-five-years criterion. Representatives from the Registrars Office were concerned that it would be difficult to administer a situation in which a course is eligible for GE credit one year and not the next, and then eligible again the following year, as might be the case once this criterion is implemented. Al Wyner stated that the problems associated with courses coming on and off the list could be successfully managed, with the very important condition that a clear and cohesive system was in place, with a staff member available to oversee it.

The workgroup had previously agreed to recommend the discontinuance of allowing GE credit for AP coursework earning a score of 3. It has been determined that this change may not be feasible due to the large number of enrollment slots that would be needed to fulfill the resulting demand. It was decided that the Undergraduate Council should take up this issue and possibly recommend a change in policy to the Faculty Legislature. The Council should consult with staff and faculty from UCLA and UC Berkeley to determine the impact that not allowing AP credit has had on those campuses and what implementation process was used. Al Wyner agreed to bring up this topic at an L&S deans meeting.

There was discussion of reducing the requirement for Area D to two courses instead of three. This would most likely lower the number of enrollments in social science courses. Social science departments will also be impacted by removal of courses from the GE list, once the proposed new criteria is implemented. Since this may be more impact than the division can comfortably handle, it was agreed to leave the requirement at three courses for now.

A.S. President Chrystine Lawson provided a history regarding student demand for an additional GE requirement in the area of ethnicity, gender, and queer studies. There has been continual confusion as to the rationale for grouping a second ethnicity requirement with gender and queer studies. It was explained that there is significant support among students for a second ethnicity requirement, and there is also strong support for a requirement in gender and queer studies. Since it would be impossible to offer enough courses in gender and queer studies to make this type of requirement feasible, a way to establish this requirement is to group it with a second ethnicity requirement.

Questions were asked as to the percentage of students who support this requirement. This information is not known. Student representatives were encouraged to poll students to find out the level of support. It was reported that 50-60 students participated in a series of teach-ins to heighten awareness with regard to this area of study and the need for it on this campus.

It was suggested that this requirement would best be implemented by making it a supplemental requirement just like the current ethnicity requirement and allowing students two options for fulfilling both requirements. They could either select two courses from among the current ethnicity requirement offerings, or select one from that group and the other from the newly established ethnicity/gender/queer studies offerings.

One workgroup member stated that UCSB is not ready for this new requirement, and that it is very likely that faculty will vote it down. It was recommended that students carry out a poll and try to get at least 3000 votes on this issue, preferably 5000. It was said that demand makes no difference if faculty donít offer enough courses to make the requirement feasible. It would still be a good idea to conduct the poll to get a clearer idea of what the demand actually is. The next step would be to convince faculty to respond to that demand. There was discussion of a proposed phase-in option, which was found to be problematic due to its potential to cause a multiplicity of courses that fulfill 2 areas with one course.

There was brief discussion of one history professorís suggestion that the terms Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric be used as alternatives to the current Western and non-Western labels.

It was agreed that the workgroup will meet from 12:30 to 5:00 on May 10 in an effort to assess where the group stands with regard to the key issues currently on the table. We will be discuss these issues until 3:00, and then straw votes will be cast on all pending issues.

Attest: Claudine Michel and Harold Marcuse

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 22, 2003
back to top, UCSB GE Workgroup homepage, prev. meeting, next meeting (with straw vote results)